Tulsa, OK – Before I begin, I just wanted to say that I am not going to offer any philosophical insight to any degree in this blog. My goal is just to share where I am at, at this point in time. So here it is…

The morning began as alarm clocks went off around the room and we all slowly woke up and finished packing up our stuff. Kirsten told us she would pick us up around 6:30/6:35am to pack the van, and we were all out there and ready to go! That is actually a big deal since this was our earliest morning and it was the one time we were on time!! So we packed up our beloved van and headed to the brothers for morning prayer and goodbyes. This was very bittersweet with a prayer about teachers and then having to say goodbye to Brother Richard, Brother Kevin, Susan, Madison, and Rachel. If I could, I would’ve brought them all back to Winona with us. We had built such strong relationships in just a few days and if I may speak for all of us, we’re really going to miss them. I never expected to find something so special in Oklahoma and now I will never forget my little family in Tulsa, from the Brothers, Lasallian Volunteers, Students at San Miguel, to our SMU crew, which we call our Tulsa Soul Fam, otherwise known as TSF.

Nevertheless, trying to avoid a long Minnesotan goodbye, we piled in the van and headed to Oklahoma City!

Our agenda for Oklahoma City was to visit the 1995 Bombing Memorial and Museum. It was a pretty eye opening experience. The exhibits told the countless amounts of stories about the 1995 bombing beginning with the history of the area and the Murrah Federal Building, the bombing itself, and the aftermath. With any experience like this, it’s crazy to see how many people were affected by a single event, the action carried out by two people impacted numerous Oklahomans for the rest of their lives. Workers, parents, children, friends, neighbors, first responders, various task forces, strangers… they all came together on that morning of April 19th of 1995 and the days, weeks, and years to follow.

The next exhibit focused on the trail of evidence and seeking of justice. If I’m going to be honest, this was all very complex and difficult for me to wrap my head around. I would like to encourage anyone interested in knowing more about the bombing to look into it because it is quite interesting and I do not believe that I could do it justice. The last part of the museum experience was going outside to walk around the memorial. This was an incredible way to complete the experience.

The rest of the day consisted of driving, food, friendship, etc.

Now, if I may, I would like to offer my personal reflection for the entire week. I’m going to be completely open and honest and say that it took a lot for me to go on this trip. There were many moments (before and during the trip) of not wanting to go, worrying about everything and anything, and feeling insignificant and ignorant. However, here comes the good part… This past week truly cannot be explained through words. It was powerful, uplifting, and basically exactly what I needed; a renewed faith, a new circle of friends, lots of laughs, meaningful service, and so much more.

I would like to conclude with my favorite bible verse since I wasn’t exactly sure on how to end this…

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Romans 12:12

Live Jesus in Our Hearts, Forever.

-Mila Kuchta