An Interview with Love Begins Here founder Lindsay Becher

Lindsay Becher of Love Begins Here
There have long been a great variety of service mission trips available to service-minded young adults. But I've developed great admiration for Love Begins Here (LBH), an organization based out of the Diocese of Madison that offers Wisconsin youth the opportunity to go on local mission trips. Matt featured LBH in a post back in 2011.

Heading into her busy season, LBH founder Lindsay Becher generously took the time to answer questions about her thriving apostolate.

In your own words, what is "Love Begins Here"?
Love Begins Here (or, as our missionaries affectionately call it, LBH) is a local, life changing mission trip apostolate that I founded in the Diocese of Madison during the summer of 2009. LBH works with middle and high school students from the Diocese on weeklong mission trips throughout the summer months. Over the past five years, LBH has worked with over 1,000 missionaries and has completed nearly 23,000 hours of service to the poor and those in need within our own Diocese.

How did you get involved?
Through a happy coincidence of having breakfast with Msgr. Jim Bartylla (then Madison’s vocations director, now our Vicar General), having gotten to know Eric Schiedermayer (then the Director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, now the Vice Chancellor and Director of Planning) and hearing of a similar mission trip apostolate called Prayer and Action in Salina, Kansas (through a number of our seminarians, now priests), God’s providence allowed me the opportunity to dive in and see what happened in establishing our own local mission program. I cannot begin to explain the number of unknowns on my to-do list, in my heart and in the minds of the youth ministers in the Diocese during the spring of 2009, as I prepared for the first summer. However, once our first missionaries arrived and we experienced an incredibly blessed first week, there was no doubt in my mind that this mission and my involvement in it would last for a very long time.

What type of projects does LBH do?
Love Begins Here does whatever work the Lord brings us, which really varies depending on where we call home for the week. The most common work we engage in includes yard work, home visits with the elderly, painting, volunteering in local parishes and working with retirement or assisted living communities. All in all, the work is on a really small scale, but being under the patronage of Blessed Mother Teresa, we are okay with that. She was a great witness to the world that small acts, done with great love can mean a great deal. We believe the same thing, and we’ve seen it work. A smile and an hour of service has changed many hearts -- both in our missionaries and those we serve.

A lot of high school and young adult serve-based mission projects involve travel. LBH stays completes service within the Diocese of Madison. What's the philosophy of staying close to home?
Love Begins Here has taken our name from a quote given by Blessed Mother Teresa during her Nobel Lecture, on the occasion of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. The quote reads as follows, “And so here I am talking with you - I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there. Be that good news to your own people. And find out about your next-door neighbor - do you know who they are?”
Again and again, she repeated the words, “love begins at home.” We all know that there are folks who are unloved, poor and in need right in our own neighborhoods and communities. Blessed Mother Teresa has encouraged us to know them, love them and serve them. We are able to do so while being wise stewards of our resources, saving on the costs and impact of traveling far distances to find others to serve.

Tomorrow, we'll be back with part two of our interview with Love Begins Here founder Lindsay Becher.

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