Articles Written by FAB Participants

God Calls Us to the Encounter


Steve Hicken, the founder of Friends Across Borders, (Maryknoll Lay Missioner, class of 81, Venezuela, Mexico and US), wrote on August 7, 2002:

“Sometime around 1996, my life and faith reflections turned more and more towards the sort of spiritual encounter God has with us North Americans as we meet the ‘poor’ in their own areas of poverty. By North Americans, I refer to college educated North Americans, middle class and above. By the ‘poor,’ I mean materially poor people. I write about what happens to North Americans who encounter the poor in a context of faith.”

“These reflections arise from the experiences and prayers of the committed people who have journeyed together as part of Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ Friends Across Borders. They trace a single whole experience of wonder, joy, and an incredible capacity to build justice and life. People feel called to go on Friends Across Borders immersion trips. They describe the call in simple terms. They speak of this call in the same way that I have experienced it. The call resembles a prime number. You cannot break it down into components or parts: It is just a call, deep but not loud, and persistent; you can’t shut it off. You can drown it with distractions, but as soon as you’re fatigued by those distractions, fun though they may be, the call returns to you from inside, emanating from your core. God calls you to encounter God’s poor, to take your body there. You don’t know why or for what purpose; but after a while, you realize you don’t need to. It’s enough to answer the call.”

Below you will find a series of articles written by our Friends Across Borders participants, sharing the extraordinary experiences they lived and how they have responded to the call and continued their involvement in mission.

    November 26, 2017 am30 11:07 am, by Cecilia
    by Emma Phojanakong The sights and sounds of Cambodia are so memorable. It will be a part of my life forever. It is no doubt a spiritual journey, sharing the history, the life, the culture of the Khmer people. The sounds of the Tuk Tuk, a motorized tricycle, as it navigates the narrow streets of Phom Penh is a wonder. The myriad sounds at night coming from my window, at ...
    read more
  • Mission, the sweet fragrance of loving service and mutual respect.
    September 29, 2017 pm30 2:20 pm, by Cecilia
    “Why in the world would you want to go to a place like El Salvador?” This was a question I had heard more than once from others when I told them where I was traveling. And even if the question wasn’t actually asked, you could see the question in their eyes, or hear it in the pause on the phone. And, truth be known, I also had been asking myself ...
    read more
  • We Accompanied Them through the Night
    August 31, 2016 pm31 1:20 pm, by Cecilia
    by Bridget O’Donnell Muller, Lew Beach, NY, who participated in the Maryknoll Lay Missioner’s Friends Across Borders (FAB) program in El Salvador. In June of 2016, I participated in a Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ Friends Across Borders trip to El Salvador. On the first night of our arrival, the ten of us – women and men from all across the United States who were journeying for different reasons – sat in ...
    read more
    September 24, 2015 am30 10:19 am, by Cecilia
    by Susan Feeney, Skillman, NJ, who participated in the Maryknoll Lay Missioner’s Friends Across Borders (FAB) program in Tanzania. My journey to participate in the Friends Across Borders trip to Tanzania began in Jerusalem in July 2014. I had begun to process what I might do when I “retire” from the practice of law. In the Church of the Resurrection at the Tomb of Christ, I received a message from ...
    read more
  • Come and See… in Bolivia
    September 02, 2015 pm30 3:37 pm, by Cecilia
    by Santa Orlando- Maryknoll Affiliate – Albany, NY who recently participated in the Maryknoll Lay Missioner’s Friends Across Borders (FAB) program in Bolivia. I am a Maryknoll Affiliate. I have met many Affiliates from the states and some from other countries. I know the history of the Maryknoll Fathers, Brothers and Sisters. I have spent time with Maryknoll Sisters serving in Guatemala as well as in Ossining, NY. I frequent ...
    read more
  • Joy of the Gospel… in Cambodia
    December 19, 2014 pm31 6:40 pm, by Cecilia
    Around the world in 18 days! Denise, and Rich Lessard – Albany Chapter; Affiliate Board Member recently participated in the Maryknoll Lay Missioner’s Friends Across Borders (FAB) program in Cambodia. …the Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. ...
    read more
  • Pope Francis addresses “globalization of indifference”
    November 05, 2013 am30 8:45 am, by Cecilia
    The following reflection by Fr. Dave Schwinghamer, MM was published in the November-December 2013 NewsNotes. On July 1, over 300 Eritrean and Somali asylum-seekers drowned one half mile from the coast of Italy. When their fishing boat caught fire and sank near the island of Lampedusa they had travelled between 2,500-3,000 miles from their home countries in the Horn of Africa. The news of this tragedy moved Pope Francis to ...
    read more
  • The Richness of Mission Life in Kenya
    October 31, 2013 am31 9:36 am, by Cecilia
    By Kathie Gribble, Maryknoll Affiliate and JustFaith Graduate, FAB participant 2013 JustFaith Immersion to Kenya I would like to take you on at least the highlights of my journey September 6th through 19th with nine other adventurers and two Maryknoll Lay Missioners guides, immersing ourselves in the lives of the people of Kenya in Eastern Africa. The twelve of us met on a couple of conference calls facilitated by Cecilia ...
    read more
  • Becoming a Maryknoll Lay Missioner is my calling
    October 03, 2013 pm31 10:32 pm, by Cecilia
    By Rick Dixon, Maryknoll Lay Missioner in El Salvador and Max Etter, FAB participant 2013 JustFaith Immersion to El Salvador Foddered sleep the night before left Max’s eyes heavy and tired, but as he walked out of the San Salvador airport Friday morning August 2nd they became alert and attentive. A tall, lanky eighteen-year old from Illinois he arrived with his mother on the Just Faith delegation that spent the ...
    read more
  • Joe Regotti: A model trauma program for missioners by NCR
    March 02, 2013 pm31 1:30 pm, by Cecilia
      Tom Gallagher, Editor’s note: In the previous issue of NCR, we presented a story on trauma experienced by missioners serving in areas of conflict around the world. In this issue an expert describes a model trauma program for missioners and we look at one particular program. READ MORE...
    read more