Apr 7 2012

Growing in grace and peace on trip to Costa Rica

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“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.

Greeting in English by staff: “We would like to express to you our deep gratitude and love for being here in our country, and in our very own CFCA project. This week is a symbol of our journey.

“Jim, Jerry, Bud and Nadine have shown us the way and are still with us. You sponsors are on this journey with us.”

CFCA community workers and sponsors are trusted by our sponsored friends and their families, including those living in very difficult neighborhoods.

In the process of mutual respect, when their key words become our key words, there can be trust and love.

God’s humble people reveal to us their true situation – unemployment, crime, domestic violence, fear – but at the same time hopes, dreams and profound pride in their country and family.

CFCA mothers groups

CFCA mothers groups are a great consolation and security for so many mothers, who have literally no choice about where they call home.

In their mothers group, they have voice and vote ó many times for the first time in their life.

What an experience to walk some of the same roads and to visit some of the same families we visited on Walk2gether. The families remember a lot about Walk2gether, especially the excitement and joint celebration with other families.

Much like during the walk, two TV stations and one newspaper covered this return visit to Costa Rica.

With the background of Psalm 103, we reflected on CFCA’s role in living and promoting non-violence.

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love…”

We prayed: “May the darkness of stigma, labels, exclusion and marginalization be dispelled by the light of greater understanding, acceptance and respect for the dignity of every person. May the kind support of a family member, friend or CFCA member bring reassurance and peace.”

Home visits give us the chance to learn about some of the challenges of our humble families.

Frequently mentioned is the topic of very seasonal work. Admirable are the spontaneity and confidence the people have in the CFCA staff.

Sponsors, children and CFCA scholars planted a good number of trees and pitched in to paint the community center.

We had placed the cornerstone for this center two years ago on Walk2gether. Families in the community did the building.

A teca tree I had planted at that time in one of the homes is now about 25 feet tall. The family really treasures this tree.

Following the trip, we enjoyed having two days of formation workshops, one for mothers of sponsored children and one for all of our Costa Rican co-workers.

During these prayerful and inspiring days, Cristina and I send our love and best wishes.
May we all continue to grow in God’s grace and peace.

A prayerful Holy Week and a very Happy Easter to each of you and to your families.

Bob Hentzen
Costa Rica
March 28, 2012

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