Tag: aging

May 25 2012

Colombian mother to sponsors: ‘You represent hope for our families’

“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.

From the northern border with Venezuela to the southern border with Ecuador, we’ve walked every kilometer of Colombia, this wonderful country.

(Editor’s note: This is a reference to Walk2gether, the nearly 8,000-mile solidarity walk that Bob and CFCA staffers undertook through 12 Latin American countries. The walk lasted from December 2009 to June 2011.)

I remain deeply grateful for all the blessings, prayers and solidarity.

CFCA in Colombia

Colombia is special to me and to my family. I first landed here in 1960 as a Christian Brother missionary teacher.

I was assigned to Colegio La Salle, Cartagena. I have many wonderful memories of my students and fellow teachers at La Salle.

Since Cristina and I sponsored the first CFCA child, Florelia Delgado (in the CFCA project in Bogota), CFCA in Colombia has grown to include 19,349 children and 2,179 elderly friends.

In addition, we currently have 1,552 Colombian children on our waiting list for sponsorship.

Our CFCA family in Colombia includes five major projects (Antioquia, Bogota, Cartagena, Cali and Quibdo).

All staff members at our Antioquia project (together with a few spouses and babies) were on hand to welcome the sponsors at the CFCA central office in Medellin. Read more

May 14 2012

Enveloped in the love of Guatemalan sponsored children, families

“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. Read more

Apr 7 2012

Growing in grace and peace on trip to Costa Rica

“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

Heartfelt greetings from this beautiful country.

We are excited to share these days with sponsored friends, their families, sponsors and staff ó inspiring people on a very real journey.

The CFCA community in Costa Rica has made us feel very much at home. “We would like to live this mission awareness trip with a profound spirit of gratitude to the Lord of life.”

Note: Photo credits go to CFCA staff members in our project in San Jose.

In Costa Rica, we are honored to be able to work with over 7,000 families. Another 500 families have applied to belong to CFCA.

Costa Rica is considered a paradise for ecotourism. We are fortunate to experience many beautiful parts, but we also experience dramatic contrasts.

This trip is a real experience of pilgrimage, which implies joy, sadness, tiredness, pain and hope. Read more

Mar 23 2012

Dominican Republic trip shows positive, sustainable change

“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

We really had an “early-morning CFCA flight” out of Kansas City.

Twenty-eight students and faculty from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., boarded our same flight for Atlanta.

From Atlanta, Cristina and I went to a mission awareness trip to the Dominican Republic, and they are en route to a CFCA mission awareness trip to El Salvador.

Godspeed, dear friends. Thanks for keeping CFCA on the move!

At CFCA, we favor a culture of learning and listening.

Here are a few things I have heard this week in the Dominican Republic.

Sponsored youth Monica to her Puerto Rican sponsors, Beridiana and Rafael: “It has been many years. You are much more than sponsors. You are like my parents, and I love you.” (These sponsors have been with CFCA for 23 years.)

Sponsor: “Something I learned on the mission awareness trip (MAT) to Chile. Please keep in mind the elderly. Chile was my first MAT, but I’ll be going on many more trips with CFCA.” Read more

Mar 9 2012

Inspiring stories from sponsored children, youth in Kenya

“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

What a joy to be back in Africa!

It’s so very encouraging to see the spirit of CFCA growing in this area. In particular, I would like to express my gratitude for the support and solidarity of our African sisters and brothers before, during and after Walk2gether.

(Please note: All photo credits in this report go to Regina Mburu, CFCA’s communications center liaison in Nairobi, Kenya.)

CFCA scholars

CFCA scholars in Kenya are dynamic, generous and very creative.

Listen to this poetic testimony of CFCA scholar Stephanie, this dynamic young woman from “up country.”

Stephanie has finished her secondary studies and is registered to continue her education, studying psychology at the University of Nairobi. Read more

Jan 14 2012

Guatemala trip displays ‘harmony amidst challenges’ of poverty

“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.

What a joy for Cristina and me to share this sacred time with 36 sponsors, their sponsored friends and families, and a great group of CFCA co-workers.

This New Year’s group of sponsors includes a good number of children and young people. They found a Guatemala in great need, but in the happy time of coffee harvest.

Students in Guatemala will be out of school until mid-January; coffee harvest involves the entire family.

[Related link: Read our story about families harvesting coffee in Guatemala.]

A new president, new congressional representatives and new mayors will take office on Jan. 15.

This is also the time of the “safra” ñ the burning, cutting and hauling of sugar cane. The air is filled with the distinct odor and falling ash of the cane. It is impressive to think that every stalk must be hand-cut by campesinos, darkened by the coastal sun and carbon, and cut and stacked. They are paid for by the ton. Read more

Dec 9 2011

Bob’s notes: ‘Invited into Archana’s family’ in India

“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.

This account was split into two parts. Read the first part with Annamary’s testimony here.

Inspiring testimonies from sponsored Indian youth:

Minu: “Tears come into my eyes today when I recall how my parents left me with relatives as they searched for work in the northern part of India. It is no less than a divine intervention that sponsorship came. I fear my father may have abandoned us. However, my sponsorship continues, and this has been my greatest consoler and mentor. If I say sponsorship has been my rock, my parent, it won’t be an exaggeration. I am filled with gratitude and awe. I wish to give back to my society as a mark of appreciation for this CFCA program.”

Pinky: “We live in a remote area where there is no good education facility. Before sponsorship, I was like a frog in a well, knowing nothing of the outside world. The CFCA help became a light which removed the darkness of ignorance within me and filled my life with the brightness of knowledge. I have been studying in a well-developed educational institution of the Bhagalpur Diocese for 12 years. On behalf of all sponsored children, I promise you we will fulfill our dreams to be successful and help other children.” Read more

Oct 20 2011

Bob’s notes: Sponsors ‘living on love’ in Guatemala trip

“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. Read more

Apr 27 2011

Wisdom of the Ages: Juan Antonio, 80, from El Salvador

Here is an interview with Juan Antonio, 80. He is in the Hope for a Family sponsorship program in El Salvador. Watch a video of Juan Antonio dancing!

Whatís your secret for a long life?

Juan Antonio in El Salvador

One must think about tomorrow. You’ll realize that you must avoid vices, you must try to feed yourself well and in order to do that, you need to save. Saving, when possible, gives you enough to be well and healthy.

At the same time I eat all kinds of food. You need to eat a little bit of everything. I drink milk and eat rice, beans, tortillas, etc.

A secret for a long life is also to be happy by living a modest life because nowadays life is too fast. People don’t eat well and worry too much about everything.

What advice do you have for todayís youth?

I would tell the young people to live life as I have because now they live too fast. They want everything; they don’t want to save.

Don’t waste your money; use it wisely. When I was young, money in general was limited, nowadays, there is more money out there because people make more money but they spend more too.

The person who saves will have for moments of need.

What is the most important thing your mother taught you?

My mother always taught me to stay away from vices. In spite of that I had a drinking problem for a long time.

I used to work distributing sodas to the stores in the city. We had no vehicles. It was a wood truck pulled by horses.

We did not make much money, but the little money I made I used to spend on alcohol. Praise God I realized that this was not taking me anywhere, so I stopped.

My mother always taught me to be positive, to be encouraged amidst problems. She always said, “Son, you must always lift up your spirit.”

If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?

I would like to visit the United States because that is the country where all these CFCA blessings come from. Our sponsors live there and I would love to see the place where these generous hearts live.

Tell us something special or unique about yourself.

I enjoy doing house chores, cooking and dancing. I live with my daughter and my granddaughter because my wife passed away.

I like making beans soup and rice. Taking care of my daughter and grandchild is something I like very much.

I also enjoy dancing in gym and dance classes offered by CFCA because we exercise and dance. It is nice.

What has changed since you were young?

Things have changed very much. When I was young you started work at a very young age.

I was a little boy when I was sent to work at the coffee plantations. I used to get paid 50 cents ($0.05 US) per 35 pounds of coffee beans I picked.

Nowadays, children have more opportunities. Many study, but many don’t want to; they just want to hang around.

However, life, in one sense, is better because there are many more things available that we did not have before.

What do you most like about CFCA?

The opportunity to be in a community, to be well dressed all the time with the clothing I receive, to go out with friends and enjoy life in the outings we have, as well as the benefits we receive in food because I have milk and other products.

Mar 15 2011

Water pump brings dignity to Kenyan farmer

Joel in KenyaMeet Joel, a 58-year-old farmer in Timau, Kenya.

He’s decided to use the money from his sponsorship through CFCA in a new way ñ to install a water pump for his farm.

“I have always loved farming, but it was hectic for me to fetch water from the river each day to water my plants,” he said. “That’s when I decided to save up my sponsorship funds and buy a watering pump that would help me in my farming.”

Read more about Joel.