Mission awareness trip to Guatemala
June 13-20, 2009
In our projects I often hear the expression ìProyecto de Vida,î when referring to long-term planning in the careers of teens, children and, yes, our sponsored elderly. As a community, CFCA also has a Proyecto de Vida: to create a worldwide community of compassion through personal outreach, to walk with Godís humble, marginalized peopleóeven in very challenging places and times. The Organization of American States declared that Latin America is the most violent region of the world and that 42 percent of all the homicides with firearms in the world take place in Latin America. But even with all this, at CFCA we have our Proyecto de Vida.
Thankful for inspiration
Please allow me to honor one of the lead catechists of Father Stanley Rother. His name is Diego Quic, husband, father, quiet leader in the parish of Santiago, Atitlan, Guatemala. On Jan, 3, 1981, Diego Quic was snatched from the front steps of the parish church, in full view of witnesses including members of the parish mission team. Seven months later, Father Stan himself gave his life for the suffering people of Santiago and of the world. Our 33 sponsors on the June 2009 mission awareness trip climbed those very steps to pray in the chapel/room/shrine where Father Stan was martyred. Diego Quicís body was never found. Diego … presente … pray for us. In our Proyecto de Vida help us to see our lives as a part of your beautiful life.
In San Pedro Ayampuc, 15-year-old Carmela is the only daughter among three sons in a lovely struggling family. Fortunately, theirs is a loving family with both mom and dad at home. One other boy in the family is sponsoredóWilliam Josue, born with limitations of hearing and speech. Their mother, Maria Virginia, takes William Josue each day to Guatemala City on public transportation for special classes. This is no small task. But a glance into the deep eyes of this boy reveals an alert mind and great potential.
Carmela stood before us all on this first Sunday morning of the trip and gave one fine talk. The conviction and strength of Carmelaís message really touched us all, especially her emotional exhortation to the sponsors to try to help other children as she has been helped. The clincher came when Carmela revealed the pictures of their new home provided by the sponsors. Carmelaís gratitude lights up her whole beingóa practical kind of gratitude which she demonstrates with a grade point average of 92.3 and a willingness to work on Saturdays teaching many CFCA mothers how to read and write.
Chickens and eggs
We also inaugurated a new livelihood program involving 15 mothers from La Cienaga subproject. They have taken out a CFCA loan to purchase 200 laying hens, which are now producing large, fresh eggsópurchased in turn by the project for distribution to CFCA families as a benefit. Sponsors witnessed the signing of the loan documents, and staff members co-signed.
Here CFCA has 1,450 sponsored children, 93 elderly and 42 scholars. We were able to pray in the martyrdom site of Father Stan Rother. We broke into two groups and visited families who have received new homes from their sponsors. In the past three years, CFCA has facilitated the building of roughly 1,000 new homes in Guatemala.
Pleasant ride in our two vehicles up from San Lucas, followed by an uphill hike carrying the food staples and school supplies in the Aldea of Chulumal. Sponsors helped organize the distribution and signing of benefits. Each of the children carries a Benefit Record Card to be signed
I send this from a Pollo Campero Restaurant in Antigua while the sponsors have a bit of free time. Cristina and I will be with them tonight in Guatemala City. Tomorrow morning we travel to Honduras to accompany a nice big group of 34. Please know of our love and solidarity.