I am Sister Inés Portugal Encinas, Franciscan Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, who for more than a year have been sent to Lithuania and as Abraham I felt that God, for the vow of obedience, invited me to leave everything I had built up until now, to undertake a new missionary challenge (cf. Gen. 12:1-2).
This is how I arrived in Kretinga - Lithuania, where I was welcomed very fraternally by my new fraternity. I had to start all over again from scratch: learning the language, establishing new relationships, getting in touch with people certainly new in the socio-political, economic, etc. Lithuania is a country of great spiritual riches and ancient traditions that make it a very special and attractive country.
At first, I encountered several difficulties that, by the way, are normal when changing mission-country. In spite of the difficulties and sufferings, I experienced the love of God in my life that has gradually introduced me to new challenges and great surprises that only He knows how to prepare.
At the least awaited moment, the parish priest of Kretinga Fr. Juozapas Marija Žukauskas OFM asked me for the service of spiritually accompanying children with different abilities and their parents in the center funded by them. As an FMSC fraternity we welcomed this proposal with joy and also in the certainty that God would sustain us in this new mission.
The center welcomes children from 3 to 12 years. It offers various therapies to develop children’s skills and communication, such as sensory therapy to develop the vocabulary, motility and autonomy of the child. The accompaniment is individualized, that is adapted to the specific difficulties of each person and regularly reassessed according to evolution.
A month ago I attended the camp of children and teenagers with different abilities. I was given the care of a beautiful child who speaks Russian, but also includes Lithuanian; little by little the friendship was born on both sides, He felt accepted by me and I felt that he needed me and was the most important and precious person the Lord entrusted to me at that moment. It was the child who had the most difficulty in the group, was restless, always angry, had lack of recognition in the eyes, did not eat or sleep very well. During the day many people took turns to take care of him.
Children with different abilities have become a beautiful gift of Divine Providence. After two whole days of being next to him and making him feel that it was important to me and above all give him affection; the child was integrating and participating calmly in the different activities that the professionals were organizing
It has been two wonderful weeks that God has given me to help me grow in love and faith. On this occasion I experienced the presence of God in my life, I felt how God had brought me out of my security without me realizing it and now he was leading me to new ways ... I did not resist because the Lord became the strength to continue working with these children who are a true blessing: "Amen I say to you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it to me" (cf. Mt. 25:40).
I hope to be for these children an instrument of God that helps them to discover Jesus in their lives through small gestures of love and simple and unconditional services.