March 7, 2017 
Abby Miller

“Okay guys, looks like we are not going to be able to go to Mass today,” Laurie said as we pulled up to an old abandoned building. I could feel my heart sink and a lump grow in my throat. None of us were familiar with Birmingham, Alabama, so we were relying on the GPS to get us safely to The Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church for Sunday liturgy. When we arrived at our so-called destination, it was very clear that this was not the place we were looking for. Laurie had decided that it was best for us to go back to our hotel. It was good enough that we tried, right? While this idea seemed okay to everyone else, I was on the verge of tears. Sunday Mass is something that I look forward to every week. It is a chance to come together as a community to grow in faith and receive the Eucharist (not to mention that I haven’t missed a Sunday in years). I couldn’t imagine not going to Mass; the idea was foreign to me and I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

Just when I was about to call my mom crying, we found out that we were on the wrong street. We arrived at the church moments later and were welcomed with open hands and loving hearts by the parishioners. The Mass itself was great, the priest delivered a thoughtful homily, and the music was definitely a Southern experience. However, the thing that touched my heart the most was the hospitality of the people there. Nearly every person in attendance introduced themselves to us and thanked us for the work that we would be doing on the rest of our trip. I soon came to realize that the kind smiles and sweet words of these people would be a recurring theme throughout the trip.

Although we have only been working for two days, we have interacted with many different people. This includes the people that we are working with, as well as those who have welcomed us into their homes and churches. Coming on this trip, I thought of it as casually giving up my spring break to help some people out. However, now I am realizing how much they truly need our help. Although I may not directly see the people that I am helping, I can only imagine how thankful they are. Everyone is so nice and appreciative of all of the work that we are doing. While this alone warms my heart, it also motivates me to continue doing more in the future, not only on the rest of this Habitat trip, but in my life in general. A heart of service is a beautiful thing and to put others before yourself is so rewarding, for both yourself and the people who you are helping.

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