Trip to the Philippines brings learning and love

Bob and sponsored friend

Our sponsored child Shaima, second from right, her brother, far right, mother Jean, left, and a friend from Zamboanga, second from left, offer us their welcome to the “Pearl of the Orient Seas.”

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“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

Photo credits go to our devoted staff in our Quezon and Antipolo projects.

The reception for the sponsors was very dynamic and very musical.

The Filipino people mean it when they say “Mabuhay,” meaning “welcome.”

What a joy to travel with such a fine group of CFCA sponsors. It was a large group and big on inspiration. We are truly companions in learning and action.

I heard someone say, “We need each other.”

In the Philippines we are blessed to work with several indigenous groups and to have the second largest number of sponsored individuals in our program (more than 45,000), second only to Guatemala.

Since our very humble beginnings in 1982, CFCA in the Philippines has grown to five projects: Legazpi, Zamboanga, Manila, Quezon and Antipolo. These five projects are organized into 111 subprojects.

More than 6,000 families are waiting for sponsorship through CFCA. The Philippines has more than 7,100 islands, and a population of more than 95 million.

Hurricanes, landslides and devastating floods are a few of the natural challenges. Unemployment is widespread and severe.

In our Hope for a Family program, sponsored friends and their families reach out to help one another.

The Filipino people have a very strong culture for learning and education.

At CFCA, education is seen as an effort to encourage and to draw out the beauty in one another. Talents are generously offered for the common good. Education requires respect for the other learner. It implies interpretation of the reality around us.

Hope for a Family in action encourages creative thinking and unlocking hidden talents. Grateful service scholars contribute a great deal to the program.

Values felt in CFCA Philippine projects:

  • Environmental awareness
  • Sportsmanship
  • Participation in youth congress
  • Values formation
  • Community organic gardening
  • Maintaining self-confidence and much more.

A choir of sponsored children traveled from midnight to 6 a.m. to sing for our opening Mass.

The priest said he could see the difference CFCA has made in the lives of the families of his parish, just one year after CFCA began working in the community.

Lord, help me to stay a pilgrim on this earth.

It will be a joy to spend a few days with the CFCA-Kansas City staff and with our board of directors for our February meeting.

Cristina and I will then participate in the CFCA awareness trips to the Dominican Republic and to Costa Rica before returning to Guatemala. Please know of our love and gratitude.

Bob Hentzen
Manila, Philippines
February 2013

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