When a person is willing to be a kindness missionary, they develop some skills that make a difference in their life as a whole. Lessons learned improve participants in a peace-building activity in their way of life, whether in behavior, in their mindset and how they deal with their own emotions. They also open the mind contributing to a new state of life.
The kindness missions allow you to know realities far distant from those who participate, to the point of being surprised on each visit, on each day lived. We visit families in conditions of misery and self-flagellation in Brazil and in countries such as Venezuela, Paraguay, Mozambique and Angola.
The objective is to know their sad reality in order to be able to develop support, social assistance and humanitarian aid strategies – through food, clothing and referral for medical treatment and issuance of documents.
One of the skills learned on a mission is compassion. This is one of the attributes taught when a missionary is faced with simple people demonstrating their weaknesses through their emotions. Being sensitive to another's pain is part of a missionary routine, as it is necessary to feel it (the pain) in order to take steps to minimize or cure it.
Not everyone can be compassionate to others. We must all ardently desire to live compassion for the change to take place. It is only through action that things will take another turn against misery.
Sensitivity is also developed as we often need to “feel” what people and families have to say. Whether through a sad or happy face, about the longing for an abundant life they already had or the desire to live in abundance one day, that is, the lack of faith and hope. They don't always openly denounce their needs. They can mask them because they don't want to expose themselves, because they are shy, or simply because they don't want to create expectations in their visit and get frustrated if the missionary never comes back.
Another learning experience during missions is the spirit of peacemaking. We must make peace rather than encourage quarrels. In fact, the missionary should not meddle by issuing opinions or taking sides in favor of one family member and against the other. Our work requires that we leave a positive trail of love and joy wherever we go.
In addition, we develope the ability to “listen”, as we became open to your outbursts and complaints. We must listen more and speak less. If we say anything, let our words be to edify, build, instruct and pacify. We have no idea what proportions such advice can take. We are welcome in the homes of families and we must honor and respect the homes and their configuration.
The skills developed during a missionary expedition are not limited to these. Of course, many others can be lived because each family, each person, each village, each experience, etc., gives the missionary a unique experience. People are unique, and in this case, it's not just the natives who have their emotions. Missionaries also have their personal history and pain to be transformed.
What do we do with all this? What should a missionary do with the emotions experienced and scenarios seen? What to do with another's pain? One thing is certain: we end up reframing our own problems when we face situations that are more painful than ours.
We start to see our difficulties in a different way when we meet people and entire families in situations of social, economic and emotional vulnerability. And, despite the fact that many families live in an extremely scarce condition of resources, they transmit a happiness in their eyes and a love of life.
They teach us that they don't need too much to be happy and the crisis they live does not determine who they are but rather dictates the way they are, because the hope for change is present all the time.