“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bobís full update on his Facebook page.
Our entire team in Guatemala is delighted to receive this fine group of sponsors and friends.
During the mission awareness trip, sponsors experienced the buildup to a presidential run-off election, scheduled for Nov. 6.
This promised to be an exciting trip, considering election frenzy, heavy rains, swollen rivers, damaged roads and major landslides. We often adjusted our itinerary according to weather and road conditions.
Naturally, we thanked our CFCA family for prayers along the way.
Due to abundant rains, Guatemala welcomed us with a green countryside and pleasant temperatures.
We took sponsors to the CFCA office that serves more than 6,000 families in Guatemala City.
Children, teens and staff had prepared a nice orientation to the CFCA presence in their areas.
Participating were Miguel Dario Tzarax, project coordinator; Maria del Carmen Santos, social worker; Mario, sponsored for 15 years; two groups of sponsored children and mothers groups (Mezquital and El Gallito); moving testimony of Monica Catalan, mother leader from El Gallito; and me (Bob) with a group of children and mothers.
All this week, we had to adjust our itinerary as the 72 highways of Guatemala were blocked from landslides and flooding.
We did make it out to San Lucas Toliman on Sunday. We felt rewarded by the welcome of our sponsored friends and families.
What a beautiful and harmonious coming together of sponsors and sponsored. All sponsors were able to see their sponsored friends during this trip.
Eight additional children and elderly were sponsored and visited this week.
Ever, 12, sponsored by Joanne Thompson, expressed his feelings beautifully in his original poem:
No elegiste que yo naciera,
No sabias que en tu vida yo iba a estar
Pero abriste tus brazos de par en par
Para ser mi segunda Mama.
Segunda Mama, que crees en mi,
En mi valor, en mis suenos, en mis metas
Que siempre te muestra discreta
Que tienes toda mi confianza.
You did not choose that I be born
You did not know that I would come into your life
But you opened wide your arms
To become my second mother.
Second Mother, you who have believed in me,
In my value, in my dreams, in my goals,
You who have always been wise,
Know that you have all of my confidence.
Quotes from sponsors after our day with sponsored friends and their families:
“Our dance with the elderly…What a wonderful prayer.”
“I could feel God’s love shining through my family.”
“We made new friends that we’ll never forget.”
“So moving…I’m living on love.”
On Tuesday after an all-night rain, we crossed Lake Atitlan in early-morning fog en route to Acatenango. With all the rain, many docks around Lake Atitlan are now under water.
A large and high-energy group was awaiting us in the city square of Acatenango.
Staff calculated roughly 1,000 of our sponsored friends and their families walked through the rain to be there.
Staff and families teamed up to offer us a warm welcome with music, dance and a truckload of fruit and other gifts.
Sponsored child Rocicela delighted everyone with her Selena-like rendition of “Roberto, no te detengas” (“Don’t stop”). Her father composed this as an encouragement to Bob and all the walkers on Walk2gether.
After a nice lunch prepared by the mothers, a group of 10 young mothers from the rural area of El Socorro gave us a touching presentation about the jellies and other foods they are producing. They have formed an active group, in spite of living two hours on foot from Acatenango.
Viviana, mother of four children, is a widow at 38. Her husband died recently of a head injury. Viviana’s work has been to clean a government school. She fears that with the upcoming change in municipal government, she will likely lose her job.
The gathering this afternoon was to inaugurate a new home, constructed and offered to this humble family by the sponsors and CFCA. Three of the children are currently sponsored. The fourth (Juan Pablo, 11) was sponsored today.
Because of the rains and the condition of the roads, we arrived back in San Lucas at about 8 p.m. On the mountain roads in the fog, it was impressive to see the sponsors on the bus spontaneously join in prayer.
In spite of the long day, we were all up for the Mayan prayer service-brought indoors by our strong storms. Many of the sponsors were touched by this ceremony, simple yet packed with symbolism and spirituality.
We also visited the community of Quixaya. Neither strong winds nor quantities of rain could deter Fr. John Goggin and sponsored friends from attending and the “artistas” from performing.
It was great to see mothers like Delfina, Gladys and Antonia, together with co-workers Sonia, Efrain, Mauricio, Florentin and Pedro.
I called the mothers and elderly to participate in one of my songs:
“The Shout of Your Silence”
My prayer so fervent
Is to walk by your side
Your fire of shared struggle
Will light up my life
And the depth of your friendship
Like nothing on earth
Communion of martyrs
To life will give birth.
In spite of the storm, we were able to divide into groups and visit four families. My group visited two families, both inspiring.
Dona Maria and Don Victor have five children, two of whom are sponsored. The grandfather, Don Benito, is also sponsored and usually accompanies us when the sponsors visit.
The second family we visited in the San Felipe area of Quixaya has mother (Rosa Maria), father (Jose Angel) and six children living at home.
Jose Angel, the eldest named after his father, is a good student and aspires to study medicine.
The daughters, Paulina and Julie, and the grandmother, Seferina, are also sponsored.
Please know of our love and the love of your CFCA family in Guatemala.
Heartfelt thanks to Ricardo, Luis and Gerver from the communications center in Guatemala for the fine pictures and technical help.
San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala
Oct. 15, 2011