Sister Benedetta is a second-year CCVI novice. Each novice participates in a significant ministry experience as part of the discernment process leading up to their First Profession of Vows, God willing, later this year. Please remember Sr. Benedetta in prayer.

“No one should judge, belittle or demean those suffering from drugs and substance abuse. Instead, we should all create awareness on how to help them. “

BY SR. BENEDETTA KALEKYE MALINDI, CCVI

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word.” Revelations 3:8

Having an open door in front of you means having an opportunity before you. I joined the Open Door Mission in Houston, Texas, on January 5, 2021 as part of my ministry experience as it is a requirement for my novitiate formation program. Open Door Mission is a special home to men who are eager to admit that they are desperate and willing to make a change from the way they have been living. It is a faith- and evidence-based program dedicated to transforming the most addicted, destitute, homeless and disabled men in our communities. Every man who enters this beautiful campus has to come to the conclusion that his way of living is no longer manageable and that he is powerless over his addiction and behaviors.

Through the month, I have been able to interact directly with most of the clients in the program. This has helped us to know each other which make it peaceful and joyful to work together. Not to mention the staff who are so dedicated and love their mission here. I have had many opportunities to listen to the client’s life history, to read their essays and to read their body language which has helped me to understand each client individually. My experience so far has been impressive, as I look forward to every Tuesday and Thursday to go to Open Door Mission. Since day one till today I have been experiencing great hospitality, support, and appreciation from this family. I bet you immediately that as you step foot on this ground you will be welcomed by a warm loving spirit. Spending time here I have experienced and received a spirit of healing, perseverance, endurance, forgiveness, patience, faith, hope, joy, honesty, humility, self-awareness, gratefulness, power and grace! The list is endless.

What makes me more humble is the client’s vulnerability, respect and receptive heart. This has been a gift for me to be able to touch their hearts with my presence and service here. Through this experience, I have learned that there is always a way out and this gives me much hope for the future. I have also experienced some disappointments, frustrations and relapse moments of the clients. It is sometimes so intense to the community when any of the clients leave the program. It becomes a moment of recollecting the memories, appreciating the grace shared and learning from the experience. This has challenged me towards the disposition of my heart for more opportunities of self-awareness and transformation.

I am grateful for the wisdom I have received from each individual I have shared time with. Among the many blessings I have received from Open Door Mission these are some life lessons I have learned:

~ It is never too late to try and make things right.

~ Though we all need pillars in our lives, building our relationship with God seems to be an individual journey.

~ God opens the right door for us at the right time; it is our responsibility to walk through.

~ Take every opportunity and make the best out of it.

~ Accept who you are and aim at becoming the best of you.

~ We are all called to be the healing presence of Jesus wherever we find ourselves.

This is one of the phrases on the walls of the Education Center: “change starts with you, in you, for you and by you; so that God can use you”. This was evident when I experienced the graduation of some of the clients. Their testimonies could tell how much transformation they have received and what their current goals are. It might not be that easy to apply the knowledge, blessings and experience

received through the program but it calls one to hold on to God’s grace and seek support. I embrace every moment I spent at Open Door Mission as my moments of recovery, healing and learning, too.My message to all is: no one should judge, belittle or demean those suffering from drugs and substance abuse. Instead, we should all create awareness on how to help them. We too should be sensitive to the pain and suffering these persons go through. Although their lives might be broken inside and outside, there is still much beauty in their brokenness.

I am most grateful to the congregation and to the formation program for having this period of ministry experience. I am delighted that the family of Open Door Mission’s has given me this great opportunity of my life to experience different doors God keeps opening for me. Praised Be the Incarnate Word. Forever!

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