Tag: aging

Oct 4 2010

Nicaraguan zoo hosts sponsors, their friends

Bill Jasman, a CFCA sponsor and volunteer, reflects on a recent mission awareness trip to Nicaragua where sponsors accompanied their friends to the zoo.

Day 1
As we begin our travels from North America to Nicaragua, we are each making a separate but joint pilgrimage as we visit our sponsored friends. God bless all the little ones who are visited by their sponsors this week.

Jean Davis and Orlando at the Nicaraguan zoo

Jean Davis and her sponsored child, Orlando, visit the Nicaraguan National Zoo.

Day 2
We traveled to the mountain city of San Lorenzo to attend Sunday Mass with the sponsored members and their parents. Father honored CFCA with an award for improving the community, as well as presenting an honor from the mayor for the same reason. We had a great lunch with a cultural presentation followed by a visit. Some of us traveled the 2-kilometer hill on horses, while others took a truck to the top. Once we were gathered, a storm system trapped us inside a small community chapel for an hour. We had to leave without visiting a home, but the families welcomed us just the same.

Day 3
The sponsors made their way to Managua. These sponsored children come from families struggling to find constant work. One of the highlights of this visit was the home of sponsor William Patterson, who donated a home to a large family and sponsors nine people from one family. He believes this second family has given him a special blessing in his life. When we got back to our retreat house, we were greeted by the sponsored members.

Day 4
This is the special day of the trip: the sponsors accompany their friends to the Nicaraguan National Zoo. This zoo has a great collection of animals. The sponsored members learned about species from Central and South America. The butterfly house was very special. Afterward the sponsored members and their sponsors were treated to the pool and more time together. After we got back, gifts were exchanged. The sponsored members also demonstrated their talents in a talent show.

Day 5
We said goodbye to our sponsored friends in the morning and moved on to El Sauce. This city is far to the northwest of Leon. We were welcomed to the community by the CFCA families. Sponsored members celebrated in song and dance, and then we participated in a great birthday celebration. A sponsored memberís father played a very energetic clown who hosted the birthday party. Sponsors also got a lesson on the history of the organization.

Day 6
After a good nightís rest in Leon City, we visited the CFCA office there and learned more about the CFCA operation. The sponsored students put on a great cultural presentation, including a play that demonstrated what happens when a family gets sponsorship benefits. We visited the homes of sponsored friends and went to the Pacific Ocean. After a long ride back to the retreat center, we learned about Bob Hentzenís 8,000-mile walk and another subproject in Nicaragua.

Day 7
Today is our last day of visiting projects. One subproject hosted a farewell Mass and cultural display. We made our final visit to sponsored homes where artisans craft goods for the Masaya Mercado (market). Two sponsors got to travel to their childrenís homes. We were offered goods at 20 percent of the Mercadoís price. We all tried to help the families by buying goods directly from them. We then went to the Mercado to close the trip and put money into the economy. We held a closing meeting where we addressed what to do when we go home.

Hasta luego, Nicaragua.

Sep 30 2010

How can sponsors get news in times of disaster?

Ask Sponsor ServicesQ. How can sponsors get news in times of disaster?

A. When disasters strike countries where CFCA works, we offer many ways to stay informed.

By visiting the CFCA website, you can view news reports and blog posts compiled using reports from the field, and connect to our Facebook page and Twitter account. These outlets are updated with the latest reports, photos and video we receive from the field.

When disasters occur, the first priority of the local staff is to contact sponsored members to assess damage and identify immediate needs.

As soon as we receive information from the field, CFCA publishes reports on our website, Facebook, Twitter and the CFCA blog. Sometimes, disasters can affect communication lines and it can take longer for CFCA to receive and publish information.

It is not feasible for CFCA to notify individual sponsors on the status of their sponsored friend. CFCA is only able to notify individual sponsors when a sponsored friend dies. CFCA does not publish names of sponsored victims until their sponsors have been notified.

Sep 29 2010

Chilean staff report on trapped miners

Since the collapse of Chileís San JosÈ mine that trapped 33 miners, many in the CFCA community have been keeping the miners and their families in our prayers. No sponsored members were directly affected; however, one father of a sponsored member was scheduled to work in the mine on the day that it collapsed.

A recent Yahoo news report said that the rescue efforts have made some outstanding progress.

Luis Olivares, who works for CFCA in Chile, sent this report.

“Many thanks for your concern about what is happening to our 33 countrymen who are trapped 700 meters (0.43 miles) deep in the ground. This occurrence has all of us dismayed since our country is like a big family, even though there have always been social and political differences.

“All of us Chileans are praying for the miners every day, that they may have the strength and the courage to survive, that they may not be daunted by the difficulties or setbacks during the process of their rescue.

“There are no fathers of sponsored children trapped in the mine. There was a father of one of the sponsored members who worked in that mine, but on that day he decided to change his schedule at the request of a friend. Therefore, he was saved from being trapped in the mine. This father said how terribly at fault he felt because of this.

“Some fathers of sponsored members work in other mines, especially in other small mining companies without any security at all, with lit dynamite in hand and running, with shovels and picks in subhuman conditions. Those parents only work sporadically at this job since most of them are looking for other alternatives to making money. At present the price of copper is good and the companies are using contract workers because the price of copper makes it convenient. This will change when the price of copper goes down and these workers turn to agriculture or construction.

“…I must add that the miner is a tough person, accustomed to the roughness of the job, a man who can survive in extreme conditions, accustomed to the solitude of the desert and to living in permanent risky conditions. They are very proud of this.

“For example, years ago many coal miners in the south of Chile refused to reconvert to labor as construction workers because, in their estimation, being in construction was a job for ‘delicate young ladies.’

“We pray daily that the miners may not become depressed and that they may keep up the fight. May God help them.


Luis Olivares”

Sep 27 2010

2010: The year of the bicentennial

Many Latin American countries where we work celebrated their bicentennials this year: Colombia, July 20; El Salvador, Sept. 15; Mexico, Sept. 15-16; and Chile, Sept. 18. Here is a compilation of field reports about what the bicentennial means for CFCA communities in Mexico. This year, the rising violence from drug trafficking has unfortunately affected some of the celebrations.

Mateo and his grandchildren

ìItís good to remember the heroes who gave us freedom, but it isnít good they spend so much money on the celebrations and parties when there is so much need and poverty. Instead of spending money on parties, they should perform services for those in need.î
ó Sr. Mateo, grandfather of the sponsored children pictured: Carlos, Gabriel and Luis Antonio

Note: The ìGrito of Independenceî is a traditional ritual performed every independence day. The Mexican president appears in the ZÛcalo, or central square of the capital, and shouts, ìViva, Mexico!î The crowd responds, ìViva!î

Q: Can you tell us about Mexicoís Independence Day?

A: [Cuernavaca] The bicentennial of Mexico celebrates the beginning of the rebellion against the Spanish colonial system. 2010 is a big year in Latin America. In 1810, local rebellions were taking place against the Spanish in diverse locations throughout Latin America.

A: [Guadalupe] The period known as Independence began, strictly speaking, on Sept. 16, 1810, when Miguel Hidalgo gave the ìGrito de los Dolores,î or ìCry of the Sorrowfulî and ends Sept. 27, 1821, with the arrival of the ìEjercito Trigarante,î or ìArmy of the Three Guaranteesî to the city of Mexico. The idea behind this revolutionary movement was to free the people from Spanish rule and throw off the viceroyalty. This phase ended the colonial period of Mexico.

Q: How is the country celebrating?

A: [Santa Catarina] The country celebrated with large parties: at the national level in ZÛcalo Plaza, in the Avenida Paseo de la Reforma and in the Monumento del Angel de la Independencia. Then locally, each city and town had the Grito of Independence and public festivals. In the ZÛcalo, President Calderon performed the Grito of Independence, after which followed fireworks for more than a half hour in one festival.

A: [Cuernavaca] We are celebrating with many activities, many of them cultural and civic. There will be parades, theatrical representations of the historical events, school festivals, concerts, dancers, fairs, etc.

A: [Guadalupe] There is a bicentennial torch that will travel through the 32 states of Mexico. The entire country will celebrate the military parade they have every Sept. 16. Finally, the government has created a web page devoted to the bicentennial.

Q: Are you planning special activities for the sponsored members and their families? If yes, please describe them.

Yesira, a sponsored child in Mexico

Yesira, a sponsored child, joined her grandparents for dinner on Sept. 15 and watched the bicentennial celebrations on television. They continued celebrating until early Sept. 16.

A: [Cuernavaca] The communities where the sponsored members live are planning Mexican nights ó parties with different Mexican music, dance and food organized by some families or neighbors, but most of the activities are organized by schools, municipalities or local authorities.

A: [Guadalupe] On Sept. 17, 2010, the CFCA community in Hogar Quinta Manuelita will gather for a public street party, with people bringing traditional Mexican snacks.

Q: How have the celebrations been affected by the news reports about drug-related violence in certain areas of Mexico?

A: [Cuernavaca] There are two sides: one in favor of celebrating Mexican liberation from the Spanish conquistadors and honoring the martyrs and heroes; and another side against the celebration in the midst of violence that has occurred.

A: [Merida] Although itís very calm in Merida, the heaviness is from what people hear in the news. There is fear that at any moment in the near future, this instability, this violence, can reach Merida.

Sep 22 2010

Brother writes letter after sponsored youth dies

This translated letter is from the brother of a sponsored youth, the late Santos SalomÛn, in Guatemala, from CFCAís Hermano Pedro project. The brother is writing to Santosí sponsor after Santosí recent death. Please remember Santos and his family in prayer.

“Hi, my name is Luis Felipe. I am the brother of Santos SalomÛn. I am writing you on his behalf since he can no longer write. Receive my most cordial greetings and wishes for success and blessings in your daily endeavors.

Santos SalomÛn

Santos SalomÛn

“The reason I am writing is to thank you with all my heart for the help you sent my brother and our family for so long. It was a blessing because all that he received, thanks to your financial support, was for the benefit of our home and especially for him because your support enabled him to study medicine in the university.

“His strongest desire was to become a doctor. Even though he wasnít yet a doctor, he visited the sick. He said that God was with the sick. He asked me to accompany him several times but I was bored. But he said there is no better medicine than God and a smile. When we were together, he always infected others with his joy. His happiness was the best doctor for me, but no more.

“We should remember that our lives are not our own, but loaned to us from God, so we must live according to his will and not according to our own. Luis knew this until the very end. One day on his way to studying, a bus on which he was riding collided with another bus. God decided that it was time for him to go. I think that God wanted someone to make him laugh.

“I experienced so many things with Santos, from talking to a girl on the way to church, playing soccer together, visiting the sick, bringing joy to the elderly, singing on our way home, and selling ice cream together.

“I was filled with pride when he did his charity work, especially with those most in need. They were small gifts, but they meant a lot. He gave ice cream to children, gave his seat on the bus to an elderly woman. I was always at his side, aware that he was preparing me for my new task.

“I understood one day in church when the priest explained that there are moments when we no longer live in Jesus. He lives in us. This teaches us to live. This is what I learned from my brotherís example. I told myself that Santos lives no more, but rather it is Jesus Christ who lives in Santos. The days he didnít go to church were because he had something urgent to do because he preferred to go to church to do his job in life. He said that God gives us wisdom to do it and without it, we canít begin our job.

“Our whole family grieves his death, but we know that he is an angel of Jesus and he takes care of us from heaven. He no longer belongs to the CFCA family, but I invite you to sponsor another child. We know that you are a great person. You will do it. May God bless you. We bid you farewell with respect, gratitude and love.


Luis Felipe, brother of Santos SalomÛn”

Sep 21 2010

Walk2gether enters Peru

Bob Hentzen and the Walk2gether team crossed into Peru on Tuesday, Sept. 14. They would appreciate your prayers as they will be walking through remote areas far from the region where CFCA works. It will be about 820 miles before they get to the CFCA project office in Lima.

Bob will be in Peru until mid-January 2011. He will cover challenging terrain, including mountainous areas in the Andes and desert regions along the coast. Despite the obstacles, he has expressed his appreciation for support from friends and family.

Along with his wife, Cristina, an international support team will be traveling with him for the next month: Yessenia Alfaro, from the CFCA project in Santa Ana, El Salvador; Irrael Itzol, from the Hermano Pedro project in Guatemala; and Luis Jaco and Miriam Cartagena from Ocotepeque, Honduras.

Go to CFCA’s Peru country page to learn about our work in Peru. We also have a video about a Peruvian family who’s building a new house with CFCA’s help.

We also encourage people to post prayers and messages of solidarity for Bob and the team. We’re at 500 comments and counting!

Sep 20 2010

Colombia’s Feria de las Flores (Fair of the Flowers)

The Feria de las Flores, or Fair of the Flowers, takes place in Medellin, Colombia, every year. Tr·nsito Hern·ndez, coordinator of the Antioquia project in Colombia, writes about this yearís fair, which took place in August.

2010 Feria de las Flores

Colombia celebrates its 53rd Feria de las Flores, or Fair of the Flowers, in 2010.

“This year we celebrated the 53rd version of the Fair of the Flowers. This fair constitutes one of the most important cultural events in Colombia. … This is an event that unites all the people of Antioquia and many national and foreign tourists who visit the city of Medellin. The city decorates itself for approximately 10 days to enjoy the flowers and a diverse number of recreational, cultural and fun events, which gain in importance year after year.

“Ö Our sponsored children have also participated in a very special manner in the competitions of dance and have won first place. They have also participated in the festival of martial music bands. This year the band from one subproject won the fourth spot in the competition among more than 34 other bands that competed.

“The children are full of hope when they participate and feel very proud of representing CFCA in events as important as this one. From their institutions of education, they also participate in many cultural events of the fair.

“Other forms in which some of our CFCA families participate actively are with stalls for selling different kinds of food and drink. They go out in the streets enjoying the events and the crowd selling water, juices or fast food, generating extra money for the family. Some mothers are hired by restaurants and businesses which attract large crowds and need more employees, even though it is just temporary. It is very clear that the festivities significantly help the economy and many of our families take advantage of these events to make an extra peso.î

Click here to see a Facebook photo album of the flowers, as well as other events from the fair.

Sep 17 2010

Sponsor hosts World Walk 2010

participants in World Walk 2010

Participants in Carol Gall’s World Walk

From Michigan to Meru, Kenya, people associated with CFCA are creating their own versions of Walk2gether, CFCA President Bob Hentzen’s ongoing journey from Guatemala to Chile (Bob is now in Peru).

On June 5, Carol Gall hosted World Walk, an 18-mile solidarity walk inspired by Walk2gether. Members of her community in Michigan were invited to walk all or part of the 18 miles, and during planned breaks along the route, she had arranged for multicultural foods and displays to reinvigorate the 40 walkers that showed up.

Below she describes the walk and some of the culture and food they experienced.

By Carol Gall, CFCA sponsor

The weather was perfect. We started at Destiny Christian Ministries at 9 a.m. with about 30 people. We enjoyed worship music by Michael W. Smith loudly playing from the back of the lead van.

We walked 3 miles to the Gall family’s home for our first break where we enjoyed homemade egg rolls from a fellow participant. Many commented, “That was the best egg roll I have ever had!”

We walked about another 3 miles to another family’s home for our 6-mile break. The hostess served chips and two flavors of salsa from the La Senorita restaurant where her husband works. She decorated the porch and tables in Mexican style. We were refreshed for the next 3 miles.

We walked about a mile to Morey School where 10 people were waiting to join us. We were gaining in numbers! The weather continued to be pleasant, and we enjoyed a gentle breeze. When we arrived at our lunch destination, the 9-mile mark, another walker, his mom and sister greeted us at the road! They served a tasty lunch of Spanish rice, beans, tortillas, Kenyan stew, fresh fruit and vegetables. The basement where we ate was cool and relaxing. We browsed the many posters, informational brochures and multicultural items displayed by HIS World News Club.

After that satisfying lunch, some headed back toward Shepherd, where the walk began. When we arrived at Morey School, we lost some of the walkers that had parked their cars there. We were now down to only nine walkers who remained with us to the finish.

Read about walkers in Meru, Kenya, who also expressed their solidarity with Walk2gether.

Sep 13 2010

Walk2gether finds company in Kenya

Meru celebrates Walk2gether.

People walk in Meru, Kenya, in solidarity with CFCA President Bob Hentzen as he continues on Walk2gether.

From Michigan to Meru, Kenya, people associated with CFCA are creating their own versions of ìWalk2gether,î CFCA President Bob Hentzenís ongoing journey from Guatemala to Chile (Bob is now in Peru). Here is a report by Regina Mburu, communications liaison in Kenya, of a 16-mile solidarity walk.

ìBy walking with them, we are saying you are not alone, we are listening to you and we are learning from you.î ñ CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who has been walking since Dec. 29, 2009.

In a show of solidarity with this noble course, the CFCA-Meru community organized a walk on Aug. 20, 2010.

A Kenyan woman weaves a basket.

A woman weaves as she walks in Meru, Kenya.

The 25.5-kilometer (16-mile) walk in the rural setting of Meru attracted many members of the CFCA community. Led by a group that held high the CFCA Walk2gether banner, the participants braved the hot sun and dusty roads. This day held great significance to them.

Some women decided to make their walk more interesting by weaving as they walked, their hands busy at work but their feet swift as they enthusiastically joined Bob in his pilgrimage.

ìAs I joined the Meru CFCA community in this walk, I could sense the deep sense of commitment and pride the community has towards the foundation, walking the significant distance is a demonstration of oneness with Bob,î said Marios Wanjiku, Meru project coordinator.

At the end of the walk, there were cultural presentations made to crown the day.

ìWe are glad to take part in Bobís journey; we pray that walking together will help us understand each otherís needs better,î Wanjiku said. ìWe hope that Bob will feel encouraged as he carries on with his mission.î

Editorís note: Read about another recent solidarity walk in Michigan.

Sep 10 2010

Welcome to our new website

What do you think of our new website? Our redesign has given it a more updated look, with interactive features and more stories from the field. We invite you to explore it and share it with your friends.

Weíve made your online experience easier to navigate. One of our highlights involves our work, with an interactive map of all the countries CFCA is reaching. You can view photos, videos and stories from around the world.

To keep up-to-date, explore whatís happening. Peruse the latest news and stories, read our blog, view upcoming events and find out how you can meet your sponsored friend on a mission awareness trip. Learn about special events and activities here, with Walk2gether updates, reports on the Zamboanga documentary and more.

Welcome to our new site!

Tell us what you think of our new site!

Details on how to get involved explain ways you can help spread the word about CFCA and participate in our work. View profiles of children, youth and aging friends waiting for sponsorship. Donate to one of our special funds or make a donation in memory of, or to honor, someone special. Finally, learn how you can get involved in CFCA outreach activities in your community.

We included youth resources on the tell others page, another new feature. Anyone interested in teaching young people about global solidarity can check out our quarterly eLessons and curricula. We also encourage you to subscribe to our monthly eNews and other communications to stay connected.

We have a brand new section where you can explore planned giving options. Learn about the latest options for immediate or future giving, including estate gifts, charitable annuities and donations of stocks, bonds and real estate. Create a personalized illustration using the gift planning calculator, and research tools and options using our resource library.

The why sponsor? section helps people who are considering sponsorship learn more about our program, how it works, and its transformative effect. It also highlights reviews about CFCA from others ó charity rating agencies, other sponsors, people who have been on mission awareness trips and more. We invite you to share your own history with CFCA on your blog or website.

Near the top right is a special section for our sponsors, where you can pay your sponsorship, find tips on how to write your sponsored friend, read frequently asked questions and learn how to get more involved with CFCA. We are working on a log-in section that will let you view information about your sponsored friend, see your payment history and manage your account.

The website has been a great tool in raising awareness about CFCA, and weíre excited about this opportunity to provide better service and information to those interested in our work. We hope you enjoy using it, and let us know in your comments what you think.