Jun 14 2013

Colombia awareness trip: ‘Ready to fly in freedom and hope’

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“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

Photo credits for this report go to Bob Hentzen, Henry Flores, the CFCA-El Salvador communications center staff and CFCA staffers in Medellin, Colombia.

Colombian motto:

“Libertad y Orden” [Freedom and Order.]

Bob speaking:

I send you greetings of peace from Colombia.

Colombia was the first country I visited during my overseas service 50 years ago.

Cristina and I come to Colombia very energized and we are accompanied by a great group of CFCA sponsors.

Our trip to Colombia actually began in El Salvador.

We have just completed two days with the CFCA mothers, families and staff in El Salvador.

More than 3,000 mothers came together organized under one roof to learn, celebrate, sing and listen.

Their message is loud and clear: “We are ready, to grow, to take off and to fly in freedom and hope.”

I feel energized working with the team in El Salvador.

It was great to have Ana Martinez with us from CFCA in Kansas City, along with Hermano Pedro project coordinator Jorge Armas, Hermano Pedro auditor Francisco “Chico” Chavajay and CFCA-Venezuela coordinator, Reinaldo Noriega.

Medellin and Cartagena:

We form a cohesive group of 22 CFCA sponsors and supporters from the following states and countries:
Illinois
Kansas
Arizona
New York
Maryland
California
Washington
Texas
Wisconsin
Michigan
Minnesota
Guatemala
Colombia

Colombia was the first country to enter the CFCA family. Since 1982, our programs have grown into five projects and 80 subprojects across the country.

Currently we have 18,786 children and youth and 2,206 elderly friends sponsored in Colombia, in addition to 3,654 individuals in Colombia who are still waiting for sponsorship.

Tarso, a town in the mountains of Antioquia, Colombia:
My day began before 4 a.m. Five new individuals were sponsored after our morning reflection; bringing the total number of children sponsored on this trip to a grand total of eight.

Excitement and energy levels ran deep among the waiting families. The staff carefully planned our visits in Tarso and the surrounding villages, but we were still in the mountain villages after 10 p.m. because of bus problems.

I am deeply grateful for the sponsors for hanging in there with us on this very long day.

The following morning, sponsors were able to visit the birthplace of recently canonized Saint Laura Montoya, a native of beautiful Colombia.

A staff testimony:

My name is Deicy. When I was only 6 months old, my father was stabbed to death.

When I was 7 years old, the Lord of Life allowed me to find two angels named Thomas and Mary — my sponsors.

They gave me the opportunity to make my dreams come true.

They accompanied me in my process of spiritual and professional formation.

I was a good student, and I was very dedicated and responsible.

I dreamed of becoming a professional in the areas of psychology and social work.

I love to teach and to convey whatever I learn to others.

The seed planted in me was not in vain. I eventually became a full-time employee of CFCA.

My worldview has been enriched, and I have learned that in CFCA there is room for our dreams.

—Deicy Deque, coordinator for CFCA in Tarso, Colombia.

What I’m hearing:

“This is the most gratifying thing I have done my life. I have been a sponsor for four years. This has been the most wonderful experience of my life. I would recommend CFCA to anyone.” — Mauro Santillan

“As a mother, I admire, respect and love you.” — Diane Austin

“I have sponsored for 10 years, [and I have participated in] 10 trips with CFCA. Now I sponsor seven children. I have never experienced so much love as I have with the sponsored friends and their families. A wonderful visit to Colombia. Thank you.” — Mert Garrison

“We continue to grow after 17 years of sponsorship. We thank you for what you do for us.” — Ray and Rosie Aubry

“We pray for you, sponsors. It’s great to know we can count on you.” — Miriam, mother of a sponsored child

“Spending the day in La Pintada with the sponsored children and elderly friends, CFCA staff and others was a special treat. In the afternoon, we broke into small groups and visited with families. Some live right on the banks of the powerful Cauca River. Their homes are always subject to flooding.” — Bob Hentzen

Testimony from 18-year-old CFCA Scholar, Alex Agudelo:

I am the youngest from a family of five: my father, my mother and my two siblings.

My sponsors, Patricia and Ruth Rogers, chose me when I was 3 years old, and accompanied me throughout my growth.

My entire family and I enjoyed 14 years of love, support and friendship.

I went through difficult moments. My father went to Venezuela in search of job, and I was hit by a drunk driver while riding my bicycle, which almost brought me to my death.

The accident and hospitalization caused me to be separated from my parents and family for a year and a half.

Through all this, CFCA gave me the opportunity to study English and to better myself.

Now I am one of the CFCA interpreters, and I am also a scholarship student. Thank you, CFCA, for giving me this great opportunity.

— Alex Agudelo, CFCA Scholar

Final note:

The Children in Cartagena dramatize beautifully. The opening ceremony in Cartegena included a lively cumbia dance and song by four teens with images of light, water, scripture and a CFCA sign.

Cristina and I are looking forward to seeing everyone at CFCA headquarters in Kansas City in early June.

God’s blessings, and please know of our love and thanks.

Bob Hentzen
Colombia
June 2013

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