Mission Awareness Trip
May 17-24, 2008
This May 2008, we are 21 CFCA pilgrims in Venezuela, 18 sponsors plus Sheila Myers (Communications Department, CFCA-Kansas), Cristina and myself, Bob Hentzen. Three of our trip participants are Catholic priests. They have expressed great enthusiasm about the work and the future of CFCA.
The Venezuelan staff and sponsored families tell us how much they have been looking forward to having the sponsors here. The CFCA program in Venezuela can boast of a very loving and professional staff. They model the community they proclaim. Sponsored families are responding to this example. The CFCA communities serve as a leaven, a beacon of hope and a sign of Godís love.
CFCA roots in Venezuela
My brother Bud and I made our way by land from Colombia to Venezuela in 1983 to visit with Father Jerry Beat and Father Angel Riba. Since that time, the CFCA program in Venezuela has grown to 5536 children, 665 elderly and 22 vocation sponsorships. Almost 800 children and aging from Venezuela are on our waiting list for sponsorship.
CFCA Venezuela represented in Japan
David and Sunilde (center) receive congratulations and
“godspeed” from sponsors Kay (l) and Esther (r).
Project Coordinator Sunilde Perez, who has been with CFCA for 11 years, and sponsored child David, 13, will represent Venezuela and CFCA at an interfaith conference in Japan sponsored by the Arigatou Foundation. The conference will address poverty and ecological questions relating to children and intra-family violence.
CFCA Venezuela work groups
The Barquisimeto project has implemented nine commissions with representatives from all subprojects to oversee the delivery of benefits and services to sponsored members. These groups are born from the expressed felt needs of our sponsored families. They cover the following themes: Education, Nutrition, Health, Correspondence, Finance, Fundraising, Recreation, Sports and Culture. The commissions are a grassroots organization which includes the mothers. I am so very pleased and impressed that mothers of sponsored children are confidently giving these presentations to sponsors on the trip.
Scholars give back to community
(L to R) CFCA scholars Eliani, Joana, Adrian and Antonio
We heard a presentation by four CFCA scholars. Eliani organizes scholars. Joana helps keep the children’s files in order. She is in the third semester of nursing school. Antonio supervises the dining room for 259 sponsored in the Maria Auxiliadora school(subproject MA). “They receive a good lunch every school day and medical care,” Antonio said. “I am also supporting my mother and my sister, a special child. This is the hand of God.”
Scholar Adrian Mendoza works with the children and youth in Ciudad de los Muchachos, a foster home for girls and boys. “We want to give our youth tools to continue,” he said. Adrian grew up in Ciudad de los Muchachos (subproject M) and was sponsored through CFCA from age 7 to 17. He then became a CFCA scholar and has now graduated from college with a major in business administration. Adrian will continue his studies in psychology. He still lives and works at Ciudad de los Muchachos. He communicates very well and shows tremendous poise and rapport with the children and staff.
Outing with sponsored children
On Wednesday, we enjoyed an outing in Humucaro Alto (subproject HRA), about two hours from Barquisimeto, with children who are sponsored by members of this group. The entire project was on hand to welcome and to celebrate the visit of the sponsors. As we passed through small towns, parents, staff members and children were out on the highway awaiting our caravan and waving us on. They really do have a strong sense of belonging. How encouraging is this clear identification with CFCA.
This day was a real CFCA fiesta. The age span was from 99 years to newborn. Mothers, dads, youth, children and staff were involved in the many activities: Holy Mass with special commemoration of the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Lois and Walt Silvernale, cooking and organizing a nice hot lunch for hundreds, a theatrical production on the history of CFCA, folk dances and songs and visits to families.
May our loving God continue to bless us all in the great adventure of CFCA.
On the road in Venezuela