My name is Julia Wonsettler, and I am currently on the L’Arche Mexico trip in Querétaro! From the moment we stepped into the L’Arche home this afternoon, we were greeted with warm welcomes and smiles from each of the core members; we were also greeted with unforeseen challenges. Because Spanish is not a language myself or many of my other group members are familiar with, we found it difficult to verbally communicate with the members of the home, who have very little English-speaking experience. This apparent language barrier proved to be a significant challenge we would have to learn to overcome in the days ahead. While these moments of misunderstanding were frustrating, I ultimately realized that connection with the members can  arise from more than just verbal communication. Even the warm, welcoming smiles or our attempts to speak broken Spanish became meaningful during each interaction we had throughout the day. When our group went to mass, a missionary—Ivan— spoke in front of the members of the Church. He told us that this was our home, and we are welcomed with a warm hug. The acceptance that radiated off of both Ivan and the rest of the Church was so meaningful to us. While we may not speak their language well, we can still contribute to their community through basic human connections and by embracing service of presence. Today marked a day of acceptance— accepting that we do not have the answers to everything, and accepting that these challenges do exist. However, the act of embracing the community of El Arca and Queretaro will go a long way in making this a meaningful, memorable experience for all of us, and will allow us to make connections with the members of the community!

“Bienvenidos al Hogar Gannon”
Watching the sunset before mass