“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.
The sinsonte birds are singing their hearts out, welcoming the early rains. They also welcome 35 CFCA sponsors, their hearts ready to learn and to share.
Excited children, elderly and families lift their hearts in prayers of gratitude for their sponsors.
In nine different regions across Guatemala, a dedicated CFCA staff serves an estimated 89,000 children and elderly. More than 500 families wait in hope to belong to CFCA.
God knows this is sacred ground, made so by the sacrifice of countless martyrs and the daily sacrifices of humble, hard-working people.
We are here to listen. May we see much more than poverty. May we see firsthand the realities of our families.
May we remain open to learn about their heroic efforts to walk that path out of poverty, hand in hand with our sponsors.
Remembering the martyrs
We remember in a special way the testimony and martyrdom of Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi 14 years ago: April 26, 1998.
Our attendance at Holy Mass at the Cathedral de la Asuncion Guatemala City draws our attention immediately to the thousands of names, mostly indigenous, etched for years into the massive pillars surrounding this historical structure, etched for life into our hearts.
This week, thousands of people of diverse faiths are ready to greet the world with messages of peace.
Here’s what the daily newspaper, Prensa Libre, had to say about the anniversary of Bishop Gerardi’s martyrdom: “We search for the Guatemala of Mons. Gerardi’s dreams ÖReconciliation and pardon can come with knowledge and an accurate historical recordÖThe causes of the internal conflict (1960-1996) still plague our countryÖamong them inhuman living conditions, lack of job opportunities, violence, grave injustice.”
The time with our sponsored children and families is marvelous and humbling. I feel “enveloped” in their love.
They inspire and help us sponsors. Together we can share the yoke.
A mother’s blessing to the sponsors: “Each night we pray for you. May God’s love always be in your hearts.”
We were able to visit two sponsored friends and their families this afternoon. Dads were working. The mothers, Marisol and Sonia, expressed deep gratitude for CFCA in their lives.
We are captivated by the simplicity and grace of our sponsored elderly.
“Thank you, God. Thank you, sponsors. Thank you, CFCA, for our home.”
A mother speaks: “In my mothers group, I work with the families of 15 sponsored children. I visit their schools and check on their progress.”
Last school year in Guatemala, more than 2,900 young professionals graduated from CFCA. They can apply for work and at the same time continue their education on weekends.
Says Fr. John: “Our people regard the saints in heaven as friends of God and our friends, too. This week we celebrate the great contribution of Santo Hermano Pedro to Guatemala and to the world.
“He walked the byways of this country with his bell and a core of uncomely friends, the sick and the hungry. Now Hermano Pedro walks with us to give hope for each family.”
How hopeful when mothers and dads who have received special training in some trade begin to share their knowledge with other parents and families.
How wonderful to see a modest family with a well-organized home. A fuel-efficient stove becomes the welcoming hearth.
The father speaks: “The sponsor of my boy gave us a small pig. We raised the pig and purchased what we needed to start a small nursery of coffee seedlings in the patio of our home. Now when I can’t find work outside the home, I can still produce income for my family.”
Most of this day in the villages of Solola and with the help of the CFCA staff, we have been communicating in Kakchiquel, Spanish and English.
In every corner of CFCA, we see intelligent and dynamic young people. They truly represent hope for their family and community.
All photo credits in this report go to the communications team at the Hermano Pedro project.
Cristina Hentzen and I send our love and gratitude, as we prepare to leave for exciting days with sponsors in Medellin, Cartagena and Bogota, Colombia.
We thank you for your solidarity, and we ask your prayers for safe travel and meaningful experiences for our dear sponsors. God’s blessings.
April 30, 2012