Mission Awareness Trip
March 8-15, 2008
Best wishes from our March 2008 mission awareness trip group. It’s nice to be home. Our sponsors have made the effort to place themselves in the midst of this ancient culture in which all of God’s creation is seen as sacred. We thank our loving God for the privilege of just being here.
A humble family speaks
From the very first morning in Guatemala City, this has been a very blessed time. I am inspired by the courage and zeal of Natividad. She is now a CFCA social worker in some of the toughest areas of Guatemala City. Natividad grew up as a sponsored child. This first morning of the trip, Natividad brought a sponsored family from the edges of the grand metropolis to meet the sponsors, to have a good breakfast with us and to share their struggle and their dreams.
The father, Braulio, rents a small piece of land in San Jose Nacahuil on which he plants corn and beans. I find that he lights up when he talks about farming. He deeply respects the land and explains how he kneels and prays before disturbing the pachamama (Mother Earth) with his 18-inch hoe. Once the land is prepared and the seeds are in the ground, he prays for life-giving rains. Many days, Braulio wakes up unemployed. On these occasions, he leaves home at first light with ax, machete and rawhide mecapal (headband), and treks each time further in search of firewood. Even for essentials like fallen wood, land owners are sometimes trigger happy when a campesino ventures across their fence line. When he can, Braulio hires out as a day laborer. The going rate for day workers in his area is about $6 per day. He plays guitar for liturgies at the parish.
Mother Sylvana works very hard at home caring for her own father, who is bedridden with a stroke. Their oldest son, Pantaleon, works on construction sites during the week and studies on weekends. Marta Alicia, 13, is in her first year of junior high. Their second son, Rolando, 15, was born with a good mind, but with quite a list of physical challenges. Rolando is sponsored. He thanks his sponsors for their love and medical help, and he demonstrates his gratitude by studying hard to become an accountant.
Hearts full of dreams
Friday in Patzun was special. Seven newly sponsored children were personally met, welcomed into the CFCA family and sent on their way with hearts full of dreams.
Our dynamic and devoted community workers from Project Patzun offer a traditional musical greeting to the sponsors. Each of them visits 325 sponsored families in the villages of the highlands.
Cristina and I wish you a restful and hopeful Holy Week and Easter.
March 16, 2008