Category: awareness trips

Dec 11 2008

Bobís report: Visit to El Salvador and Honduras

Preachers mission awareness trip
Dec. 2-9, 2008

CFCA preachers make history with first preacher awareness trip

This is a very special group and a very special opportunity for all participants, for the projects, for our beloved sponsored and for CFCA.†Nine CFCA†preachers attended†our first preacher†awareness trip to gain a deeper sense of the CFCA world. The El Salvador hosts were the sponsored families, Henry Flores, Yessenia Alfaro and the entire CFCA team. In Honduras, the hosts were the sponsored families, CFCA staff leaders Miriam Cartagena, Luis Jaco and the entire CFCA Team.

participants

On Dec. 3, CFCA scholar Martita spoke in our opening prayer. Abandoned by her father when she was just 2, her mother struggled to send her children to school. Martita will graduate in one year with a bachelorís in computer science and administration. After learning that Martitaís CFCA scholarship covered only half of her university expenses, Father Jim OíToole stepped forward and offered to become her sponsor.

Personal stories stand out

Tradition among the sponsored families in Tacuba is to silently hide in the church and surprise the mission awareness trip participants who arrive thinking that the town is still asleep. Father Bob Hasenkamp celebrated Holy Mass with Salvadoran Father Edwin Roberto Nunez.

When speaking of language limitations, Father Bob Hasenkamp mentioned that ìwe speak with our eyes and our hearts.î

Family visits along with natural and stimulating interchanges followed. The preachers commented that they were hearing really fine anecdotes for their personal edification and for their preaching.
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Dec 9 2008

Meeting Miriam

A sponsor realizes what sponsorship truly means after meeting her friend during a mission awareness trip†in El Salvador, October 2008. This video was created by Annie Winter, a CFCA volunteer in Latin America.

Nov 24 2008

Bob’s report: Visit to India

Mission awareness trip†
Nov. 5-18, 2008

Societyís forgotten experience ëbeautiful transformationí

ìThey are the leftovers of society, but we are moving them to center stage. We want them to be fully human and fully alive.î óSuresh Singareddy, project coordinator, Hyderabad, India

An extra bonus on this trip is the chance to meet for the first time our new sponsored girl in the Hyderabad project. From an hour away in the countryside, 6-year-old Archana came on motorcycle with her mother and father.†

Suresh told the sponsors: ìThe government calculates that we have approximately 55 million child laborers in India. Yet at CFCA we get to see the beautiful transformation in children and families.î†

Early Christmas for former child laborers

During visits to subprojects, sponsors handed out Christmas presents for the families in attendance. Of special impact for the sponsors were the 100 or so sponsored girls living at the Divine Word Home. Just a short time ago, they were the throwaway children, the rag pickers in the garbage dumps of Hyderabad but now they attend a prestigious English medium school.

ìWe promise you that we will remember you,î Veronica told our group. ìYou always will be in our prayers, and we will make good use of this precious chance you are giving us so that we will be able to help others as you help us today.î

mothersgroup

We attended the huge 2008 Annual Day Gathering on Nov. 9, with an estimated attendance of more than 7,000 mothers. I told the mothers theyóand posthumously Father Francis Thumma, former project coordinatoróare the recipients of the 2008 Pilgrimage of Faith Award from CFCA.
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Nov 12 2008

Bob’s report: Visit to Chile

Mission awareness trip
Oct. 18 ñ 25, 2008

Together with Guatemala and Honduras, Chile is one of our pioneer projects. CFCA has been involved in Chile since 1982. The project center, located in Valparaiso, serves 4,500 children and 641 aging through six surrounding subprojects. The countryís name seems to have come from the Aymara word Chilli, which means ìwhere the earth ends.î†

A program rich in benefits

For sponsored children and their families, sponsorship benefits include education, health, help with housing, a loan program and a variety of livelihood training courses such as sewing, knitting and hairdressing.

Children who have trouble in the regular school system receive special attention, tutoring and care. The CFCA sponsorship program offers after-school care and learning opportunities.

Mothers who complete the beauty shop course are able to set up their own salon at home. Mothers who complete the sewing courses can apply for a no-interest loan to purchase a sewing machine and begin their own business. The CFCA center also offers domestic violence counseling and support.

The 641 sponsored elderly in Project Valparaiso can participate in literacy training, Tai-chi, creative theatre, folk dancing, guitar classes, choir and a variety of livelihood projects. They also receive services which improve their quality of life, such as podiatry care, hairdressing and dental prosthesis. CFCA also provides the elderly with breakfast, lunch and a snack in the afternoon before they head home. Many of the sponsors on the mission awareness trip purchased things made by the mothers and the elderly.††
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Oct 14 2008

Bob’s report: Visit to Kenya

Mission Awareness Trip
Sept. 13 ñ 23, 2008
†ìTo be a peacemaker, one must possess peace interiorly. Peace in the world passes through personal conversion.î
ó Poster at Emmaus Centre, Nairobi.

Nairobi, Nanyuki, Juja, Matiri and Timau are currently the principal project sites in Kenya. The expressed felt needs of families in the Nairobi project are known through home visits. Education and health care are key benefits, but there are others such as food provisions, hot lunches, clothes, school uniforms, recreation, values formation, workshops and training, parent groups and family assistance. Parents are allowed to send their children to the school of their choice.

Nairobi mothers groups

Nairobi mothers group coordinator Milka shared her experience with the formation of mothers groups in Kenya. The violence of early 2008, with 42 tribes fighting each other, challenged the groups. ìWe were close to becoming another Rwanda,î she said.

The groups provide HIV training and counseling, promote peaceful co-existence among communities, develop environmental programs, counsel members in avoiding drug abuse, promote equal education for girls and boys and invite dads to participateówhen there is a dad.

A loving umbrella

Alex Musendi, one of 77 Nairobi scholarship students, spoke. ìI thank God for the loving umbrella of CFCA. Ö Both my parents died when I was very small. I was a poor village boy who came to Nairobi alone. I thought it was the end of my life when my sponsor lost her job Ö but this beautiful organization became a father and a mother to me. I say to everyone, stand tall and preach the good news. One day, life will be brighter. Somebody, somewhere needs help just like me.î

We enjoyed informative sessions about each aspect of the Nairobi project. The staff membersí reports reflected transparency and great professionalism. Peter Ndundo, Nairobi project coordinator, showed off the attractive and welcoming new headquarters for CFCA-Nairobi.

On CFCA African Heritage Day at the Stima Club in Nairobi, we participated and observed many wonderful dances, joined by moms, staff, scholarship students, children and aging. A hot lunch followed for the estimated 1,500 in attendance.††
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Oct 8 2008

Bobís report: Visit to Bolivia

Mission awareness trip
Aug. 30 ñ Sept. 7, 2008

Boliviaórich yet poor
Rich as it is in minerals, natural gas and oil, Bolivia is regarded as one of South Americaís poorest countries. Subsistence describes the struggle of many of our sponsored families. They are very much on the low end when it comes to the distribution of resources and opportunity. Yet they are very much on the high side on helping us to grow in awareness and grace. Characteristic of many CFCA projects in Bolivia is a guitar-toting nun and a chorus of highland children, smiles burned into their faces by the mountain wind and sun.†

ìThe economic situation is out of control in our country Ö many times we are unable to offer the families what we have planned in our yearly work plan. This is the result of the urgent need for food. Our main products now cost too much.î Tamara Quinteros, CFCA Coordinator, Santa Cruz.

Memorable quotes
“My sponsor resides in the U.S. but she lives in my heart.” CFCA Cochabamba Scholar

ìAt CFCA I met God.î Cirilo, Cochabama

ìI have two mothers Ö the one who wakes me up each morning and sings to me Ö and my second mother (Mary Jones) who is my sponsor. Even though far away, she loves me and is concerned for me.î Adriana, subproject Barrio Lindo, Santa Cruz

ìYesterday was my sponsorís birthday, and even though he lives far away, we celebrated his birthday in our home in Barrio Lindo, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.îóMother of sponsored child

Fruits of sponsorship

At the Comedor Cristo Mensajero, children, scholars and aging receive nutrition, school supplies, shoes and uniforms. We visited mother Genovava who raised eight children on her own after her husband died. Sponsored sons, Ismael, 19, and Alex, 18, both are about to finish college prep. The family has built a nice home with help from CFCA and two grown children working in Spain.††
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Sep 19 2008

“I’ve been waiting a very long time for you”

Sponsors Jack and Deanne Anderson visited their sponsored child, Jose, in Guatemala this year. Here Deanne describes the experience of meeting Jose.

When you listen to the words of Bob Hentzen’s song ìLove the Childrenî not much else needs to be said. Our trip to Guatemala proved to be one of the most beautiful and meaningful events we have experienced in a long time.

Jack and I have been blessed with three children and seven grandchildren. We are a close family and we have many dear friends. We have traveled all over the world, but nothing prepared us for what we experienced going to Guatemala to meet our sponsored child, Jose.

Immediately upon our arrival Bob and his staff made us feel like we were special. We had no idea what was in store for us. That night we met the people we would be spending the week with and got to know a little more about CFCA. Next morning we loaded into the vans and off we went on a three-hour journey to the CFCA project. The welcome we received was that of royalty or movie stars. The children were all cheering and their band was playing. It was unbelievable. That evening after dinner the sponsored children gave a performance. The first of a nightly event we all looked forward to.

Sponsor Deanne meets her sponsored child, Jose, in Guatemala.

Sponsor Deanne meets her sponsored child, Jose, in Guatemala.

Monday was the day Jack and I had been waiting for; we were going to meet Jose, our sponsored child. The emotions we felt the moment we saw him cannot be put into words, or if I did try it would take many pages of typing. His mom, dad, and little niece came with him so there was lots of hugging and tears. Then came the joy and excitement of getting to know each other through a great interpreter. Again, I wish I could share each moment of the time we spent together. All the sponsored children gave a little performance and Jose’s was a beautiful poem he wrote for Jack and me. Well more tears and hugs followed. We took lots and lots of pictures and loved each minute we had with him.

Finally, it was time to say goodbye. Again, more hugs and tears of joy when we knew we would be back again to visit this very special child the Lord brought into our lives. One thing I must share are the words of Jose when he looked at Jack and I with tears in his eyes and said, “I’ve been waiting a very long time for you.”
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Sep 17 2008

Bob’s report: Visit to Honduras

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.†
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Sep 17 2008

Bob’s report: August visit to Guatemala

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.†
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Aug 8 2008

Bob’s report: Visit to El Salvador

Mission awareness trip
July 12 ñ 19, 2008

From Guatemala to El Salvador

A team of four of us from Guatemala (Jorge Armas, Israel Itzol, Cristina and myself) had the privilege of spending a couple of days with the mission awareness trip group and the staff in El Salvador. We arrived precisely when all the sponsored children were gathered with the sponsors at Cerro Verde, high above Lake Coatepeque.

On Thursday, we were divided into four groups to visit communities, interact with the sponsored families, organize and document the distribution of benefits. This experience offered the sponsors a close-up view of the personal outreach which characterizes CFCA. I enjoyed being with the mothers and children in the subproject of Bolanos.

CFCA mothers of the Bolanos subproject

CFCA mothers of the Bolanos subproject

In the course of the morning, we took a quick survey. Around 70 percent of these mothers in Bolanos are heads of households, raising their beautiful children on their own. They need and deeply appreciate the CFCA program.

Contagious Enthusiasm

The enthusiasm of this El Salvador trip group is expansive. So far on this mission awareness trip, they have sponsored 20 new children. They have been able to meet each one.

On to Colombia

My wife, Cristina, and I are on our way now to begin the mission awareness trip in Bogot·, Colombia. We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to spend this time with the sponsors, together walking with the sponsored families.

Godís blessings.

Bob Hentzen
From El Salvador