Tag: faith

An archive image of Father Stanley Rother at a carnival in Guatemala.
Sep 18 2017

Father Stanley Rother, a symbol of generosity and peace

Reflections from Guatemala on the occasion of his beatification

An archive image of Father Stanley Rother at a Carnival celebration in Guatemala.

Father Stanley Rother at a Carnival celebration in Guatemala. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

Father Stanley Francis Rother served in Guatemala at the mission in Santiago Atitlan starting in 1968. As the Guatemalan civil war raged between military and guerilla forces, the Catholic Church became a target. Determined to stay with the people, Father Stan remained in Guatemala and was murdered in July 1981.

Unbound’s co-founder Bob Hentzen met Father Stan while working in Guatemala. Father Stan’s love for God and people has long served as inspiration for our work.

In December 2016, Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of Father Stan, whose beatification (the final step before sainthood) will take place Sept. 23 in Oklahoma City. Father Stan was a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, and is the first recognized Catholic martyr born in the United States.

Unbound staff member Barclay Martin recently traveled to Guatemala and listened to the stories of many who knew Father Stan, and here he reflects on that journey.

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An image of a group of preachers who serve Unbound.
Aug 28 2017

After a lifetime of service, they want to do more

Unbound preachers gather in Kansas City

An image of a group of preachers who serve Unbound.

Unbound preachers gather for the annual preachers conference at the Unbound HQ in Kansas City.

By Larry Livingston, senior writer/editor

Last week a group of Catholic priests who travel around the country to preach on behalf of Unbound were at our headquarters in Kansas City for their annual conference. Every summer they join together as a community for a few days of learning and fellowship, and to share stories of their adventures traveling to parishes throughout the U.S.

For those of us who work in Kansas City, this is one of our favorite times of the year. It’s our opportunity to thank them for all the times they drove seven hours to get to that small town in the middle of nowhere in time for Saturday confessions, or spent the night at Gate 23 at DFW because their originating flight was canceled in Philadelphia.

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An image of a sponsor and his sponsored friend in Colombia.
Jul 8 2017

Cast your net

A sponsor reflects on his trip to Colombia

An image of a sponsor and his sponsored friend in Colombia.

Sponsor Joseph Rivard (right) visits with his sponsored friend, 17-year-old Jan Sebastian, at Jan’s home in Colombia.


Unbound sponsor Joseph Rivard of Gulfport, Mississippi traveled to Colombia in May on an Unbound Awareness Trip. He joined Unbound as a sponsor less than a year before the trip, and sponsors three young men in Latin America. Joseph is a retired professor of psychology at Central Michigan University. He reflects on how the trip impacted his faith.

Like most Americans and others living in a “first-world” country, life is never perfect. Every Christian I know has a story to tell; stories that speak of the death of a loved one, sickness, stress in a career, family trouble, etc. Each of us, armed with faith, endeavor to overcome our own struggles. We journey through our lives doing the best we can to work through our own deficiencies while trying to understand and serve God in the midst of our confusing and sometimes tumultuous life journey.

When I left for Colombia in May, I knew this trip would be different from other mission-style trips I have made in the past. I knew it would be different, simply because God is always about things “now” and “new.” There were a lot of things in my life journey that could have justified not going on this trip, because life is that way — always filled with challenges and obstacles. Yet, whenever I quieted my worries, I was convinced in my heart that this trip was something God was calling me to do. He didn’t command me to go; God has never arbitrarily demanded things of me in that way. It was more of a gentle stirring and a pull on my heart that communicated invitation and opportunity.
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Sponsored elder Bernard (center) joins Unbound Kenya communications liaison Regina Mburu (left), and Larry Livingston (right). Bernard, who is blind, was featured in a previous blog post.
Mar 27 2017

Old insights from a new place

Sponsored elder Bernard (center) joins Unbound Kenya communications liaison Regina Mburu (left), and Larry Livingston (right). Bernard, who is blind, was featured in a previous blog post.

Sponsored elder Bernard (center) joins Unbound Kenya communications liaison Regina Mburu (left), and Larry Livingston (right). Bernard, who is blind, was featured in a previous blog post.

By Larry Livingston, senior writer

I recently traveled to Kenya. My main reason for going was to meet people sponsored through Unbound and listen to their stories. I also wanted to meet members of our staff in Kenya and learn how they work with the families.

Since I’ve returned, several people have asked me what I learned from the trip. I have a hard time answering that question at this point, mostly because I need time to sort out my memories, feelings and insights. Like last year’s Christmas tree lights, they’re going to take a while to untangle before they can be illuminated.

Besides, as I get older I find that the most meaningful insights I take away from travel experiences aren’t new. Rather, they’re reminders of universal truths that I had either forgotten or, perhaps, taken for granted. Those insights are always more about people than things. They’re also, in a way, about God.

Here are some ‘old’ insights I took from my trip to Kenya.

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A young woman in traditional Guatemalan attire holds a necklace made with a historic coin.
Mar 6 2017

Celebrating arts and culture in Unbound — part 2

Sponsored members celebrate history and faith

Individual creativity in the Unbound community is rich, as we saw in last week’s story. The community traditions and celebrations also run deep, telling the stories of ancestors and faith through dance, parades and other ceremonies. Keep reading

Julia, a sponsored elder from Bolivia.
Feb 15 2017

For the love of God

Bolivian elder living out compassion and forgiveness

Julia and her husband, Dionicio, in their home in Bolivia.

Julia and her husband, Dionicio, in their home in Bolivia.

The experience of having been hurt by others is, sadly, not an uncommon part of the story of many elderly people who live in poverty. Being poor carries with it great vulnerability and it only increases with age.

Many endure their hurts with grace and even learn to forgive. Those who find it within themselves to not only forgive, but actually reach out in compassion to the people who’ve wronged them, inspire us.

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Gabriela, a sponsored youth and scholarship holder from Honduras.
Feb 26 2016

Learning to lead

Gabriela, a sponsored youth and scholarship holder from Honduras.

Gabriela, a sponsored youth and scholarship holder from Honduras.

Gabriela is the quintessential leader.

She excels in her studies. She coordinates a church group. And she’s a service scholar and mentor for other sponsored friends in Unbound.

But Gabriela hasn’t always been an all-around leader. She’s come a long way since she was first sponsored at 4 years old.

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Jan 1 2016

Childhood friends stay close by sponsoring a child

Briana, left, and Megan, right, hold photos of Ana, the child they’ve sponsored together for more than four years.

Briana, left, and Megan, right, hold photos of Ana, the child they’ve sponsored together for more than four years.

Best friends Briana Murphy and Megan McLaughlin wanted a way to stay connected when they graduated from high school and went away to different colleges.

They also felt motivated by their faith to contribute for the good of others, so they decided to sponsor a child through Unbound as a way to do both.

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