Dec 9 2017

‘We could always see his immense joy’

Q&A with Unbound staff member about Father Stanley Rother

Unbound staff member Gaspar Baran Guoz talks with the mother of a sponsored child.


Blessed Stanley Francis Rother was beatified Sept. 23 in Oklahoma City. It was the final step before formal recognition as a saint. Father Rother, an American priest who was martyred in Guatemala in 1981, was a contemporary of Unbound’s late co-founders Bob Hentzen and Jerry Tolle.

Our organization has long felt a special affinity for Father Rother, who, in the Tz’utujil dialect of those he served, was affectionately called “Padre A’plas” (Father Francisco). Several of those who knew and worked with him are also members of the Unbound community. The following interview, which took place in Guatemala in October, is with one of those individuals.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Gaspar Baran Guoz. I live in the town of Cerro de Oro, in the Santiago Atitlan municipality. I was born and raised here. Thanks to God’s grace, I’m still part of Unbound. I’ve been working and serving the families for 35 years now. I don’t feel burdened for having worked all those years. On the contrary, I show the happiness I feel when I get to work, and feel the eagerness to continue helping the families.
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Dec 6 2017

The time is now

Your weekly reflection from Unbound


Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. Throughout the Advent/Christmas season, we offer a special series of reflections on the upcoming Sunday readings. This reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent is from contributing writer Maureen Lunn.

All too often I find myself putting off doing the things I want to do, whether waiting to pursue lifelong goals or procrastinating on small daily tasks. This “I’ll get to it later” mentality permeates so many aspects of life and stunts my own personal growth. But I’m able to do it — to put off things like cleaning or praying or reading a book or calling a relative to catch up — because my quality of life doesn’t depend on it.
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Dec 2 2017

‘We never saw him as a stranger’

Q&A with Concepcion in Guatemala about Father Stanley Rother

Concepcion sits on the steps outside the church in Santiago Atitlan where Blessed Stanley Rother served as pastor.


Blessed Stanley Francis Rother was beatified Sept. 23 in Oklahoma City. It was the final step before formal recognition as a saint. Father Rother, an American priest who was martyred in Guatemala in 1981, was a contemporary of Unbound’s late co-founders Bob Hentzen and Jerry Tolle.

Our organization has long felt a special affinity for Father Rother, who, in the Tz’utujil dialect of those he served, was affectionately called “Padre A’plas” (Father Francisco). Several of those who knew and worked with him are also members of the Unbound community. The following interview, which took place in Guatemala in October, is with one of those individuals.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Concepcion, and on Oct. 11 I will turn 62 years old. I have 11 children. The eldest is 45 years old and the youngest is 15 years old. I now have 13 grandchildren.

My husband is 69 years old, and he works the in the field. I take care of the household duties, and whenever I have a chance I make traditional clothing.
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Nov 29 2017

The Grandeur of God

Your weekly reflection from Unbound


Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. Throughout the Advent/Christmas season, we offer a special series of reflections on the upcoming Sunday readings. This reflection for the First Sunday of Advent is from Unbound preacher Father Dave Noone.

“Be watchful. Be alert.”

When I read those words of Jesus in the Gospel for this First Sunday of Advent, I thought of other words written by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins back in 1877.

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” he wrote. “It will flame out, like shining from shook foil. …”

As I travel from parish to parish making appeals on behalf of Unbound, I have learned to “be alert” and “watchful” for people through whom God’s presence seems, in the imagery of the poet, to emanate like a flame and speak to me in incredibly meaningful ways.
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Nov 25 2017

Give Tomorrow: Scholars are the future

What sets Unbound scholarships apart

Unbound social worker Alexander in Guatemala.

Over the past two weeks, we’ve explored the power of Unbound scholarships and shared the story of scholar Rosaura in a new video. In the video, social worker Alexander reveals the difference an Unbound scholarship can make in a young person’s life by providing sustained support.

Scholars also participate in community service and serve as role models for sponsored kids. These activities provide an invaluable boost to a young person’s development. Students learn what it means to give back. Even though they have little means, they experience serving others who have even less.

“Since [Rosaura] has been in Unbound, she has shared her experiences and is a role model for many other youth,” Alexander said. “The scholars, to me, are the future of Guatemala.”

Young adults all over the world struggle to help support their families and still have the means to pursue their educations.

That’s why Unbound’s scholarship program is designed to set students on a path to a better future. With support and the invaluable life lessons from humbly serving their communities, Unbound scholars are creating a better tomorrow for themselves and our world.

We invite you to be part of creating a hopeful future — for all of us. Join our global community of compassion and support.

Donate today and #GiveTomorrow.

Nov 22 2017

Thankfulness ‘is in their blood’

Your weekly reflection from Unbound

An image of a Guatemalan woman holding a basket of lemons.
Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection was written by Senior Writer Larry Livingston.

In 1863, at a time when the country was being ripped apart by civil war, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving. In his proclamation, Lincoln implored all Americans to pray that God would “heal the wounds of the nation.”

Lincoln understood the intimate relationship between suffering and gratitude. He knew that it was important for people to take time to reflect on the blessings they’d enjoyed as Americans, especially at a moment when those blessings were being threatened. He knew that only people who had experienced the darkness could fully appreciate the light.

That is an insight shared by families throughout the world who’ve been touched by Unbound. They know what the generosity of sponsors means for them. They understand that they’ve been offered an opportunity to make their lives better, and they’re filled with appreciation.

Bob Hentzen, our late co-founder, often helped lead Unbound awareness trips to countries where we work. He observed how profoundly moved sponsors would become when personally thanked by the people in the communities they’d visit.

“Sometimes the outpouring of gratitude is so great that the sponsors get on overload,” Bob said. “And at the end of the day they say, ‘Bob, I can’t take it anymore. I’m embarrassed.’ And I say, ‘Relax. These people must thank. It’s in their blood. It’s in their creation. They must thank, and they’re going to thank you over and over and over again.’”

Today, when we witness so much suffering around the world and at home, it would be good for us to follow the lead of Unbound families, who, as Bob said, have thankfulness in their blood. Then we will be guided by gratitude for what we have and hope for what we can, together, become.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Please pray

Gracious God, creation overflows with your generosity. Every new day, every breath we take, every life that touches ours is a gift to be cherished. Bless us with awareness of the abundance of blessings in our lives so we may ever thank you, and may our gratitude lead to resolve to extend our blessings to others. We ask this in your most holy name. Amen.

Nov 20 2017

Give Tomorrow: Why it works

Our scholarship program helps young adults forge their own path

Through Unbound scholarships, young adults around the world are pursuing their educational goals and creating opportunities for themselves, their communities and our world. Unbound scholars, like Rosaura in Guatemala, are motivated, resilient and hopeful about their futures.

Unbound scholarships help students build a better tomorrow through:

 

Opportunity unlocked
Getting into college in the countries where we work isn’t easy. In many cases, the options are to get an extremely competitive scholarship or pay out of pocket, which makes higher education inaccessible for many. That’s where Unbound comes in. We provide scholarships to students of all backgrounds who have a variety of educational goals. From attending a technical school to pursuing a master’s program, students set out on the path of education with Unbound.

 

Means provided
Many students travel hours by bus and on foot to get to class, and the expenses add up fast. That’s why Unbound helps many students with the extra costs that going to school brings — like transportation, books or school supplies.

 

Communities served
Unlike with a typical university scholarship, scholars become involved in their communities through service. The service component of the program gives students opportunities to develop leadership abilities and gain skills that will help them later in life, such as when they’re seeking employment. It also provides a chance to give back and instills a spirit of service.

 

Potential realized
Opportunities and sustained support set Unbound scholars on a path to graduation from the very beginning. And when they complete their educations, they begin a new journey of economic self-sufficiency that will take them further in life, empowering their families and communities along the way. That’s impact!

Unbound scholars have an opportunity like no other — the chance to pursue their dreams with the support of a global community. You can be a part of that.

Donate today, and help a student build a better tomorrow.
#GiveTomorrow.

 

Nov 18 2017

Give Tomorrow: How does it work?

Four facts about our scholarship program

Last week, we shared our latest video featuring Unbound scholar Rosaura in Guatemala. All over the world, students like Rosaura are making their way to a better tomorrow with your support.

So how does it all work? Check out these four facts about Unbound scholarships.
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An image of Unbound moms sitting in a circle.
Nov 15 2017

Staying true to the mission of Christ’s hope

Your weekly reflection from Unbound

An image of Unbound moms sitting in a circle.
Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection was written by contributing writer Maureen Lunn.

One of the first things I learned when I came to be a part of the Unbound community was that there’s a strong connection to the organization’s co-founders and the communities Unbound serves.

I learned that Unbound is all about relationships. Authentic relationships.

Authenticity can be a tricky word, often confused with honesty or accuracy. To be authentic means to stay true, to be real, not to imitate or have false appearances. At Unbound, it’s among the set of values we adhere to when it comes to leadership.

This tenet of authenticity in our commitment to gentle, balanced leadership calls us back to the values of our co-founders and keeps us true to the families we serve. It’s reminiscent of Paul’s letter to Timothy, in which he writes that the authentic faith he saw in Timothy, he recognized in Timothy’s mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). This message is echoed in Unbound today. So much of what I’ve learned about our co-founders and the sponsored children and families first served by Unbound more than 35 years ago, I see reflected today in our staff and the families participating in our programs.

For us, authenticity means to stay true to who we are and who God has called us to be from the beginning. The result is a global family whose members aim to continually remind one another that God is with us, and in us, no matter who we are or where we live.

That is the mystery that binds us together as one authentic community: Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Please pray

Oh God, you are the one true God. Thank you for revealing yourself to us through your Spirit and your son, Jesus Christ. Help us to stay true to who you are, remembering that you are the one who empowers us to better our world with hope, love and authentic service. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

An image of a woman wearing an Unbound Trailblazer shirt.
Nov 13 2017

The change one shirt can make

Representing Unbound on the Notre Dame Trail

An image of a woman wearing an Unbound Trailblazer shirt.

Sponsor Lisa Hendey on the fifth day of the Notre Dame Trail, a 320-mile walking and biking journey in Indiana.


By Lisa M. Hendey, founder of CatholicMom.com and Unbound sponsor

When I applied up to be a “core pilgrim” for the Notre Dame Trail, I had no idea how my life would be impacted by the simple act of walking. Having spotted information about the 320-mile pilgrimage being undertaken by my alma mater in honor of the university’s 175th anniversary, I decided to go for it and apply.

One special day in the fall of 2016, I received a package letting me know that I’d been selected. Included was an intense training schedule. Suddenly, reality set in: Could I, a 54-year-old non-athlete, be ready to cover that distance in time?
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By Lisa M. Hendey, founder of CatholicMom.com and Unbound sponsor When I applied up to be a “core pilgrim” for the Notre Dame Trail, I had no idea how my life would be impacted by the simple act of walking. Having spotted information about the 320-mile pilgrimage being undertaken by my alma mater in honor of the university’s 175th anniversary, […]

Around the world with Unbound