Tag: Poverty

Dec 19 2012

Advent reflection: Christmas on the practical, everyday level

Father Mark LaneEvery Wednesday during the Advent season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey through Advent. This weekís reflection is offered by Father Mark Lane, CFCA preacher.

“Ö Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)

When my oldest sister was expecting her first child, I called her close to the end of her last trimester because I had just eaten something that had given me such a pain in the stomach, and I was feeling a deeper sympathy for her situation.

My brother-in-law answered the phone to say she had gone into labor. Read more

Dec 12 2012

Advent reflection: ‘God dwells within the human family’

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday during the Advent season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey through Advent. This weekís reflection is offered by Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director.

“Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 12:6)

More often than not, living our faith is simply a matter of doing the right thing.

What tends to complicate it is the impressive ability we humans have to con ourselves into not recognizing the right thing when we see it.

In today’s Gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent, John the Baptist is urging the crowd to change their lives in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Read more

Dec 5 2012

Advent reflection: ‘For it is in giving that we receive’

Father Mark LaneEvery Wednesday during the Advent season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey through Advent. This weekís reflection is offered by Father Mark Lane, CFCA preacher.

“Ö I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. Ö” (Phil 1:6)

Sometimes it is the simplest and most obvious detail that is the most revealing.

When God comes into this world it is among the ordinary people of a not so remarkable period in history and in a corner of the world far from the center of prominence.

Luke, in the Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Advent,, tries to give Jesus’advent an historical grandeur that the raw facts do not exactly bare out.

John the Baptist is indeed an exotic character, but his ministry is mainly in the desert, far from the center of things in Jerusalem. Read more

Dec 3 2012

‘Moving on up’: Colombian mother buys first home

By Celina, mother of two sponsored children in Colombia

CFCA-Colombia: Celina and her daughter in their new house

Celina and her daughter standing in front of their new home.

My goal has always been to have my own house. That was my biggest dream, but I could never save enough money to buy a home.

When my children joined the program, Elvia, an Unbound staff member, started to talk about mothers groups and how we could develop our skills.

We made a poster with our dreams, and I chose to use a picture of a house. Elvia told us that we can reach our goals as long as we establish clear goals.

After that meeting, I started to think about the first step in reaching my dreams. I started to attend Unbound workshops frequently to gain motivation.

I was unemployed, and we needed to have a bank account with money before we qualified for government-subsidized housing. I had just 50.000 pesos (about $28 US) in my pocket. I asked the bank about the process and learned I needed 60.000 pesos (about $33 US) to open a bank account. Read more

Nov 28 2012

Advent reflection: Awakening our hearts to love

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday during the Advent season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey through Advent. This weekís reflection is offered by Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director.

“Ö May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all Ö”
(1 Thes 3:12)

Most of us know to be on guard against hardness of heart. Nor do we want to be faint-hearted, cold-hearted or broken-hearted.

But do we take care to keep from becoming drowsy-hearted? In the Gospel reading for the First Sunday of Advent, being drowsy-hearted is the condition that Jesus seems to be most concerned about.

In the Gospel, Jesus cautions us to keep our hearts awake and attentive for his coming.

On the surface, the reading seems to be about his final coming at the end of time, but a deeper examination shows our more immediate concern should be the various encounters with Christ that might happen at any hour of any day. These are the encounters that a drowsy heart would be most likely to miss. Read more

Nov 26 2012

‘Rise and Dream’ family movie night: One sponsor’s experience

Rise and Dream movie night with Newpower family

CFCA sponsor Christine Newpower with her son, Paul, 13, and her daughters, Sarah, 9, and Grace, 7. Along with the film DVD and a music CD, the “Rise and Dream” movie night kit contains a planning guide, invitations and other materials to help make your movie night a fun and successful experience.

Great learning opportunities can sometimes occur right in your living room!

Christine Newpower, a sponsor from California, read about the special “Rise and Dream” movie night kit offer extended to CFCA sponsors and volunteers in one of our newsletters.

Christine, who grew up abroad and remembers her Southeast Asian roots, saw the film as an opportunity to teach her children about global poverty.

“We wanted our children to understand how blessed they are in comparison to children growing up in poverty overseas,” she said. “We also wanted to provide that extra connection, knowing that a large part of our extended family still lives there.”

Christine ordered and received a “Rise and Dream” DVD and movie night kit in July and organized a family movie night for her husband and their three children.

“After dinner, we set up our family room with sodas, popcorn, pretzels and chips,” Christine said. “We turned off the lights and drew the blinds for the full theater experience.”

In more ways than one, the film’s setting hit home for the Newpowers. The family sponsors Jasmine, a 9-year-old in the Philippines. Christine’s children have expressed interest in meeting Jasmine someday on a CFCA trip. Read more

Nov 12 2012

Costa Rica: Looking beyond rose-colored glasses

Join us as we celebrate Geography Awareness Week with National Geographic and friends. This year’s theme is “Geography: Declare Your Interdependence.”

Many of us think of a tropical paradise when we hear any reference to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica mapTruth be told, it is a country of economic contrasts: posh shopping malls and crowded slums, luxury hotels and thatch-roofed villages.

Tourism and development help some, but leave others struggling to overcome the challenges of poverty.

CFCA serves more than 6,700 children and youth through the San Jose project in Costa Rica. CFCA mothers groups there started with 15 moms. Today, 2,700 mothers of CFCA sponsored children in Costa Rica belong to mothers groups.

Many families in Costa Rica face a harsh reality. They live in slums and near river basins or dangerous areas threatened by landslides.

In these rough areas, hope can seem like itís just out of armís reach. But the CFCA mothers groups can give families a much-needed boost. Read more

Oct 31 2012

Visiting sponsored aging friends in Guatemala

CFCA in Guatemala: Olga Argueta and Cleta, sponsored aging friend

From left are Olga Argueta, CFCA staff member in Guatemala, and Cleta, a sponsored aging friend.

In the countries where we work, the elderly often have no one to depend on for their well-being. They receive no social security and may not be able to count on family members for support, as adult children are often occupied with their own survival.

About three years ago, a community in Guatemala noticed some of our sponsored aging friends had difficulties traveling to the local CFCA office for birthday celebrations, Christmas celebrations and other CFCA activities. So they decided to take the celebrations to the sponsored friends’ own homes, and that’s how regular visits to sponsored elderly began!

In the words of Olga Argueta, CFCA staff member in Guatemala

Every three months we plan one whole day for visiting the elderly. We have identified six friends of the 50 sponsored aging friends in our community who have difficulties moving around, and they are the ones we visit. Read more

Oct 30 2012

Wisdom of the Ages: Regeena, 67, from India

Regeena, CFCA sponsored aging friend in IndiaRegeena is a 67-year-old widow in India, living in a home for the elderly. She has three grown children and seven grandchildren. When Regeena was younger, she worked in a mill. Regeena lost a foot in an accident at the mill and now has a prosthetic foot.

Regeena has been sponsored since 2007 and enjoys being part of CFCA. “I like visiting [with the CFCA staff members] and making them happy,” she said.

What is your secret for a long life?

I used to work in a mill. That was very good exercise for me. I lost my leg while working and now I use a prosthetic foot.

What advice do you have for young people?

My advice for young people is that they should study well, obey their elders and take care of their grandparents.

What is the most important thing your mother taught you?

My mother taught me to be clean and to work nicely. She always taught me to pray to God.

Tell us something special about yourself. Read Regeena’s answer

Oct 11 2012

Trip to Africa: ‘Celebrate the unity of our CFCA family’

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“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.

Photo credits for Kenya and Uganda go to Regina Muburu, CFCA communications liaison for Africa. Photo credits for Madagascar go to Paul Pearce, CFCA director of global strategy.

It’s always a joy to be in touch with you, this time from Africa. Together with Paul Pearce, CFCA director of global strategy, and Karen Allemang, CFCA trips and international volunteer manager.

I had the privilege of accompanying a wonderful group of CFCA sponsors on this September 2012 journey to Kenya and Uganda.

Paul and I also visited the CFCA project in Antsirabe, Madagascar. Read more