Mission Awareness Trip
Aug. 23 ñ 30, 2008
What kind of a country can we offer them?
Alongside a tremendous wealth gap, endemic corruption, organized crime and neighborhood gangs, you see the beauty of family relationships, the inspiring example of a struggling mother, the youthful spirit with close to half the population under age 19, a fertile land and a strong work ethic.
We can add a tremendous resilience after tragedies like Hurricane Mitch (1998) which killed some 5,000 and destroyed 70 percent of the crops. Unfortunately, thousands of promising Hondurans, most of them young, leave the country every year, most of them for the U.S. Basically, they are seduced by human traffickers who rake in $5,000-$6,000 per head per trip north. Farm families abandon their land and go into life-threatening debt for this one chance. When the sojourners are caught and deported, the families remain in debt for many years.†
Family testimony at morning prayer
Our group arrived for Sunday morning Mass at Las Mercedes Parish in El Progresso after the church was full, so we rounded out the doorway, greeting Father Raymond Pease, a veteran of 40 years in El Progreso.
Lourdes, her son, Cristian, 11, and daughter, Katia, 13, gave a beautiful testimony as part of our morning prayer on the second day of the trip. Lourdes and Wilfredo (working today) have seven children. They have hopes for better housing for their family, but for now, they are living in one room on property owned by Lourdesí mother. Lourdes is very grateful for the sponsorship of Cristian and Katia, so grateful that she serves as a liaison with the 169 sponsored families in Barrio Sandoval in San Pedro Sula.
We had a pleasant drive from San Pedro Sula, and then enjoyed several nice receptions by children and families, complete with hand-made banners and lots of hymns. One of the dads, Don Lorenzo, shared a song which he had composed about CFCA. Moms and dads talked of their participation (by the hundreds) in the various aspects of the project.†
Cake raffle finances education
We heard from CFCA scholar Oscar Garcia, who needs two more years to finish up a university degree in computer science. He has demonstrated very creative thought by organizing raffles of cakes made by his aunt to help finance his studies and transportation.††
CFCA provides hope amid challenging reality
Manuel Pineda gave a fine presentation at the CFCA center in Santa Barbara. Manuel is coordinator of the Santa Barbara project and legal representative of CFCA in Honduras. Xiomara, mother of their three girls and educator par excellence, is in charge of correspondence and communications. Hereís part of the reality of this project:†
ï 40 percent single momsóeven higher in urban areas
ï Average educational level of parents is two years elementary school
ï Subsistence livingówork one day/eat one dayómost families making it on about $1 per day
ï For many, CFCA is the father they never had or, a good husband helping to raise the kids
ï High hopes for their children
Comunidad Los Naranjos
After the hard rain through the night, it was a bit muddy getting in to this community, but very much worth it. Residents carried home-made, heart-shaped placards with the names of sponsored children and sponsors. In her presentation, DoÒa Inocente (CFCA mother) could not hold back tears of joy. ìIt is something very beautiful what we are living this day,î she said. The father of sponsored child Jose offered a simple and touching opening prayer. Sponsors helped with the distribution of food, beds and roperos (dresser drawers).
Noche CulturalóSanta Barbara
So many families showed up for our Noche Cultural in Santa Barbara that the temperature in the mid-sized hall rose dramatically. With lots of water, we were able to applaud the children, parents and staff through several hours of musical and theatrical numbers. I was interviewed for the evening news.
These fine sponsors had a wonderful time with their sponsored families. Please know of our love and prayers.
San Pedro Sula, Honduras