Mission awareness trip
Dec. 26, 2008 – Jan. 2, 2009
Trip†participants are special
Our sponsors come in search of many things, many times in search of their place in Godís loving plan for this stage of their lives. The sponsorship relationship between the two families in different parts of the world takes on an immense significance in the lives of both.
As much as we love her, we must realize that Guatemala is plagued with a series of very complicated and challenging problems. In this scene, we live and work Ö and into this scene we dare to invite our sponsors. They travel with confidence, knowing from experience that CFCA lives here. CFCA takes every precaution to watch over our guests. And yes, we pray.
To the highlands
We are gathered in a very pretty place in the highlands near Nahuala called ìCorazon del bosqueî (Heart of the Forest). The CFCA families gathered here today are praying in the Quiche language. It is close to middayóbright blue skies and sunnyóbut still quite cool.
We now have nine dancers, the girls with beautiful guipiles (traditional Guatemalan blouses), ìcortesî (wrap skirts) and ìtocoyalesî (headdresses), bearing colors and designs with centuries of significance. They carry the recently harvested corn in four different colors. Three dance with incense. The others have baskets of corn. The boys also wear the traditional dress: the ìsherca,î a woolen blanket wrapped around them secured with a leather belt, a typical ìmorral,î a decorated woven bag, and a straw hat.
Very emotionally, Catarina, a girl sponsored by Jerry Menard, sang a song expressing her love and thanks to Jerry and to CFCA for her years of sponsorship. ìI want to be light and I want to be hope, I want to have peace. Lord, donít leave me. I give you my hands for you to work with me and in me. I trust you and I give you my life.î
Victoria, another girl sponsored by Jerry, is doing a dance called ìEl Rey Quiche.î Together with Jerry, we had a talk with her and her mother. She lives in a town named ìLa Democracia,î near the Mexican border. With Jerryís encouragement and, I might say, a little persuasion by our team, Victoria has agreed to continue her studies.
We enjoyed the song ìLong Live San Marcosî by Melvin, sponsored by Andrea. Dressed in typical red and white, Melvin is dancing with a social worker from his area and with his mother. Dad was the emcee for their creative act.
ëAngels we have heardí
In Santiago Atitlan, Father Jim OíToole and Deacon Geovanny Perez led us in a very moving Eucharistic celebration in the room (now chapel) where Father Stan Rother gave his life for the marginalized people of Guatemala and of the world.
The Tzutuhil people of San Atitlan are known throughout the country as very industrious. They are also known for their strong faith. On Oct. 5, 2005, Hurricane Stan struck here and a part of Volcano Toliman came down. We visited the mudslide area. They still donít know how many people are buried here. We lost 17 sponsored children.
Sponsors are inspired by sponsored friends
On the boat ride to Santiago Atitlan, from San Lucas Toliman, sponsor Robert Tessaro told me about his sponsored boy, Jose:
ìHe came to see us yesterday with his father and his mother, and it was just a wonderful experience. He seemed to recognize us right away. Ö We recognized them and we were extremely happy to see their father because we had not seen any pictures of him. He seemed to be a very loving father, very involved with his sons and his family, so it was a great experience and just a wonderful day. Our real desire is to see them get a step up in life and be able to get their children more educated and involved in activities so they can inspire others and go on to help their families and care for their neighbors and the people of Guatemala. They give us a lot of inspiration. Ö Seeing them, talking to them and learning more about how they live and what they have to go through just inspires us more and encourages us more to have as much involvement as we can.î
Cristina and I wish you every blessing for the New Year. We ask for your prayers.