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As people of faith, we recognize God as our guide. We pray to him in times of need and in times of peace. But before God can guide, he must first listen. In today’s Gospel, we explore God as a listener.

Our reading begins as Jesus is approached by his disciples. They ask him for guidance on how to pray. Jesus offers them a parable in which a man arrives at the home of a friend in the middle of the night. Hesitant about waking his family up, the friend is unsure if he should let the man into his home. But as Jesus explains, if the man persists knocking, his friend will let him in.

It’s in this way that Jesus seeks to teach us that God will listen and deliver, but only if we ask. When we open ourselves to God, we find answers in our prayers.

Our volunteers at CMMB can speak to the importance of listening. When they arrive in a community, they cannot support change without first connecting and growing with those they serve.

Brooke French, a nurse practitioner serving with CMMB in South Sudan, is experiencing this process for herself. Traveling all the way from Missouri to the rural, extremely isolated community of Nzara, she has been documenting her experience for us—and for future volunteers. Brooke serves alongside local doctors and nurses at St. Therese Hospital, a life-saving resource for communities that would otherwise go without access to skilled medical support. Just completing her second month in the field, the excerpt below comes from her most recent update after two months in the field, in which she recognizes the importance of listening to understand what unites us across cultures and drive sustainable change.

Learning continues to be a theme, and it will probably continue when I return home. I am getting more comfortable with accepting how things are done and find that I don’t have to question as much. I have even had a few opportunities to explain how I’ve handled a particular case in the past, providing a learning opportunity for someone I’m working with.

Despite the differences in delivery of care in remote places like Nzara, there are similarities—especially when it comes to witnessing a parent’s love for their child. I have seen parents, all over the world, do whatever it takes to help their children feel better. The parents I’ve met at St. Therese Hospital are no different. As I continue serving, I hope to listen, learn, and implement more in the months that follow.

You can read more about Brooke’s experience at our blog.

We’re listening! What changes have you observed when you stopped to pay attention or hear what others had to say?

Portions of today’s reflection were adapted from and inspired by the Loyola Press Sunday Connection