Mission Awareness Trip
Aug. 9-16, 2008
Since the early days of CFCA, the children, elderly and families of Guatemala have been close to our hearts. Currently we are blessed to have over 90,000 sponsored, including children, aging, scholars and vocations. In turn, these families have been blessed with a loving and devoted CFCA staff. Cristina and I are most grateful to call this CFCA community home.
Featuring Manuel Santizo
Manuel (Meme) Santizo is one of those strong and faithful servants who seem to enjoy working hard, but usually very much in the background. Meme is our site manager and handles everything related to maintenance and improvement of the CFCA facilities. Our place in San Lucas Toliman hums with activity, either staff workshops or mission awareness trips or welcoming our neighborhood children in their Ecological Club. In every instance, youíll find Meme quietly getting things done, and always with a smile. Meme is married to Claudia, a Mayan woman of the Kakchiquel ethnic group and a career elementary teacher in the nearby village of El Naranjo.
Welcome to my worldÖpotential
All over the CFCA world, we endeavor to present the most positive side of Godís humble people. CFCA Presenter Fr. Jim OíToole radiates excitement when he says, ìWe see potential.î Focusing on dignity and potential, we try to avoid shock treatment on our sponsors. The daily reality of our sponsored families is shocking enough.†
Trip participants certainly experienced this on our first morning in Guatemala City. At the CFCA Center, sponsors were able to meet and speak with a sponsored girl who just turned 12 on July 6. After being sexually abused by her stepfather for over a year, she became pregnant and is now the 12-year-old mother of a 5-month-old.††
The girl tearfully expressed her gratitude to her sponsors and to the CFCA staff for all their support ìwhen I most needed it.î The stepfather is now in jail. The mother and four girls will need help with housing, as the stepfather is owner of the shack where they are living. The girlís 37-year-old mother never had a chance to go to school and cannot read or write. CFCA scholars and her own children are committed to teaching her. (P.S. The baby needs a sponsor.)
Sponsors also heard from Mireilly, 11, sponsored by Jackson and Phyllis. Bright and confident, Mireilly delivered in admirable English a welcome speech she had learned at CFCA. She introduced her father, her mother, and her brother†and sister. Their life as a family hasnít been all smiles and triumphs. This family passed through some very rough years due to the fatherís addiction to alcohol. For some time,†the mother†felt forced to leave with the children and conditioned her return to his admitting his problem and accepting help. It worked. He has been sober now for two years and is working as a helper on construction projects. In the case of both of these families, they all dove into a healthy CFCA breakfast.
I thank you for your solidarity, and I ask your prayers. La Virgen de la Asuncion is the National Patroness of Guatemala. We will celebrate Holy Mass today with our sponsored families in Zaragoza.