What is holding us back from a full relationship with Jesus Christ? The prevalent them for me this year in missions has been my relationship with Jesus. This carries over into every relationship that I have inside and outside of missions. I have been reading Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly, and he speaks about deepening our relationship with Jesus. He says our fear and brokenness can be obstacles to a full relationship with Him. Beating ourselves up, unwillingness to forgive ourselves and others, and self protection from past experiences and past hurts can all be obstacles keeping us from having a deeper and more loving relationship with Jesus. Our culture and all its distractions can keep us from seeing the beauty of the life God invites us to live. All these things can prevent us from living out the teachings of Jesus. To follow the teachings of Jesus is Love, and to love God is to follow his commandments. 1 John 5:3 NABRE “the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” Jesus is God, and He wants us to go to Him and to be closer to him through living out a holy life. It is good to go to confession weekly or ask God for forgiveness often, to adore Him in adoration or in front of the tabernacle at least an hour every week, to say rosaries weekly or daily, to ready the bible daily, to have daily personal prayer time, to go to extra masses or services and to grow in our spirituality through a spiritual director. Simply, we can grow closer to Jesus by spending time with Him. One of our priest here in Peru, Padre Leopoldo, gave me advice to spend time in the presence of Jesus every chance I get. I can use my morning prayer time to have time with Jesus when I have access to the blessed sacrament. Why not make time to go to Him? He is always there for us and loves us immensely; more than we will ever know in this lifetime. Just as we get to know our community,
our friends and our family better by spending time with them, we can spend more time with Jesus to get to know Him better. This allows to know Him fully. Jesus gave us the Eucharist as a gift to have him right here on Earth with us. Matthew 26:26 says, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” We can benefit from making full use of Him being so close to us. The Council of Trent in 1551 defined that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, body and blood, soul and divinity. Of course, this divine presence deserves our worship. It is true that someone who believes in it should be inclined to come before the tabernacle often.
We are told to guard our hearts in Proverbs 23:19, “Hear, my son, and be wise, and guide your heart in the right way.” Our hearts can be said to be our sub consciousnesses. I want to use an analogy I learned in classes put on by Klemmer and Associates. Imagine a snow man.
The top circle (the smallest) of the snowman being our conscious level and the things we think about willingly day to day. The second circle (body of the snowman) is our heart or subconscious. The base and support for the snowman is God with a semicircle (3rd and largest) with the opening pointing down. God is open and infinite with the semicircle opening downwards. All that we think and feel can pass through Him through this opening when we open ourselves up to Him as our base, the trunk and stability of our lives. As a tree needs the trunk as its base and support, we need Jesus as our support. He is always there for us. It is not Him that leaves us in times of worry and distress, but it is us that choose to stop searching in those times forgetting how much He loves us and how much he wants to help us and be there for us. He wants to see us happy; he wants to fulfill our desires that match up with his will. Matthew Kelly mentions that wisdom is the point in life when we find that matching our desire with God’s desire is truly what brings joy.
As the disciples did not recognize Jesus in the gospel of John chapter 21, we have trouble recognizing Jesus with the brokenness we carry with us. Jesus wants us to give all our brokenness, fears, doubts, weaknesses and worries to Him. He longs for us to visit him in adoration, in church in front of the tabernacle and through out our day. We can speak to him about any situation or just tell him how we are feeling during our day. He wants to be there for us as our best friend. As my girlfriend, Yuri, said to me, “Jesus knows our hearts and loves us how we are, fragile and weak.” By humbling ourselves and submitting to His will, we are made strong. St. Paul says in Philippians 4; 12-13, “I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me.”
When we deepen our relationship with Jesus we will have strength for everything. We will have strength to do those daily tasks that stress us, to fulfill God’s purpose for us, to help neighbors and families with their problems, to live in community joyfully and to love each other fully. Let us remember through all trials and sufferings that we can have the Joy of Christ in every circumstance.
God bless you all! I pray that this blog finds you well. Missions are going well here in Tres Unidos, Peru. I am blessed by God to be able to serve the people here. This year my focus has been on teaching English class for 10 and 11 year olds,
working teenage retreats,
encouraging and helping start youth groups, helping out with medical ministries with physical therapy, leading a medical mission,
praying with the people often and helping out with celebration services and masses.
Our plans for the rest of this year are to reach pueblos in our district consistently with the local youth group teaching them to be faithful disciples through reaching out to the outer pueblos that are in desperate need for encouragement and support with their celebration services and holding youth group meetings. I love the hearts of the youth here. They are pure hearts motivated to help others and to serve God. They have been so supportive of missionaries here, patient with us learning the language and generous with their time. I remember being here last year for the first time and meeting the youth. I received hugs from them who had not even known me, and I felt the openness and love they had for us. My heart is with these people of Tres Unidos in this season of my life, and my prayer and wish is that I see them grow in their faith, grow closer to Jesus and to become who God wants them to become, missionaries and more Christ like from their baptism, love and faith.
We want to help these youth through providing transportation to the pueblos that are 20-30 minutes away. For now they are walking will take about 45 min to an hour. For this reason and the ease of transportation from Tres Unidos to Picota, I am asking for support to buy a vehicle. A truck with a rack in the back to place more people and four wheel drive for the muddy roads will be best.
Because the roads are so rough here, it is advised not to buy older trucks here. That puts the price at $15,000 to 20,000 for a decent used truck. The trucks are $30,000 brand new. We are looking for a Toyota or Nissan in order to get a good quality truck. We are asking for 10 people to donate $2,000 or 20 to donate $1,000. All other donations to this cause are greatly appreciated, too. Please pray about contributing to this cause.
If you have any specific prayer requests, I will be happy to add them to my daily or community prayers. You can email them to me at email@example.com. Please help support missions in Peru with your prayers. Prayers are so powerful and are greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for those who have supported missions with your prayers, financially or with your time by serving here with us for short or long period of time. If God has blessed you financially or you want to offer a sacrifice for our mission here, please pray about giving to the Peru mission. Donations can be made online at russgunter.fmcmissions.com (monthly reoccurring donations are the best for us) or directly to Family Missions Company by mailing a check to 12624 Everglade Rd., Abbeville, LA 70510 with my name in the memo section. I love you all!
In Christ’s Love,
Russ Gunter, DPT, MTC
Full Time Missionary
Family Missions Company