Jul 2 2009

Celebrating freedom

On the Fourth of July, Americans will gather to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, parades and picnics. Although the United States and the countries CFCA partners with do not celebrate independence on the same date, we share many customs and events.

In Central America, most countries celebrate their independence on Sept. 15 with parades and music. The running of the Central American Freedom Torch from Guatemala to Costa Rica, taking a total of 14 days, reenacts the news of their independence spreading through Central America.

South Americans celebrate with large celebrations, flying flags, parades, fireworks and feasting. In India, all cities have Flag Hoisting Ceremonies run by politicians and other officials. Indian schoolchildren gather to sing songs and watch the hoisting of the flag.

Under colonization, Haitians were forbidden to eat soup, a meal reserved for the upper classes. Now on Independence Day, it is traditional to eat soup to demonstrate the equality of all citizens.

People of the Philippines celebrate their independence with ceremonies, historic exhibitions and memorial events. Festivities begin with a flag-raising ceremony and parade in the historic city of Cavite, where Filipinos first proclaimed their independence.

We would like to encourage you to research how the country your friend lives in celebrates its independence. And from all of us at CFCA, we wish you a safe and wonderful Independence Day.

The Independence Days of the countries CFCA partners with are listed below.

Jan. 1
Haiti
Feb. 27
Dominican Republic
May 24
Ecuador
June 12
Philippines
June 26
Madagascar
July 5
Venezuela
July 20
Colombia
July 26
Liberia
July 28
Peru
Aug. 6
Bolivia
Aug. 15
India
Sept. 7
Brazil
Sept. 15
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua
Sept. 16
Mexico
Sept. 18
Chile
Oct. 9
Uganda
Dec. 9
Tanzania
Dec. 12
Kenya

 

Updated July 1, 2011

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May 21 2009

Bob’s notes ó Visit to Venezuela

Mission awareness trip to Venezuela
May 9-16, 2009

Welcome
We can be very proud of the CFCA families and of the staff. When I see how much the families are anxious to see us, to give us a hug, to ask for a blessing for their children, to so generously share with us the fruits of their hard work, I am reminded of the community of the early Christians in the Acts of the Apostles.

Motherís Day in Venezuela
Sunday morning found us at breakfast at the corner panaderia (bakery) in the town of Catia La Mar. CFCA-Venezuela Project Coordinator Sunilde Perez and staff member Yanin Castillo shepherded us well, and made sure we had a chance to get to know the members of our group.

Isabel Alvarez gave her customary fine introduction to Venezuela. Isa speaks with the passion of a well-educated yet ìstill poor Venezuelanîóher auto-description. She speaks of the pros and cons of the current government. One of the challenges she highlights is the strong political and social division within the country.

About the same time Isabel was speaking to our group, President Hugo Chavez made two statements on his weekly TV broadcast. The first is a warning to opposing TV stations and media who ìincite people to war.î They are in danger of being closed down and their broadcast license revoked. The second warning is to certain large land holders in the sugar cane area. He believes that they acquired titles to their land illegally. Therefore, these properties may be subject to nationalization. I cannot help but think of the effects of a similar nationalization program a few years ago in Zimbabwe. Continue reading

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Feb 12 2009

Solidarity walk begins the new year

CFCA President Bob Hentzen and 1,000 fellow walkers celebrated his upcoming walk† from Guatemala to Chile with a solidarity walk in the community of San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala. The solidarity walk, which took place on January 23, was almost three miles long and took about two and a half hours.

Guatemalan staff members and CFCA families organized the solidarity walk as a way to kick off preparations for Bob’s walk to Chile, which is set to begin Dec. 29, 2009. The route Bob will travel will weave through 12 countries (see below for a list) in Central and South America and is scheduled to conclude in April 2011.

During the solidarity walk, the 12 countries were represented by their national flag along the three-mile trek.

We hope you’ll enjoy this video clip of the solidarity walk.

Bob will be walking through Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Chile, although not necessarily in that order. The official route is still being finalized.

The purpose of the walk is to facilitate the building of community and strengthening of the bonds of solidarity among our CFCA families, sponsors and co-workers. Bob will use this walk to thank the families for the inspiring example of their daily walk, and tell them that we love them. He hopes to help counterbalance some of the isolation of poverty and offer the poor a sense of identity with the CFCA community.

“On my journeys, I find that CFCA truly walks with the poor and enables many people of good will to do the same,” Bob said.

In 1996, Bob walked more than 4,000 miles from Kansas City, Kan., to Guatemala. His upcoming walk will continue that trek.

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Dec 31 2008

Ringing in the New Year in the CFCA community

By the CFCA Prayer Team

As we give thanks for the old year and look with anticipation to the new one, let us walk in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world throughout the day. We have listed below the time it will be here in the United States when the New Year arrives at each of our projects. We encourage you to say a quick prayer for each of the projects as your day progresses.

Country Pacific Mountain Central Eastern
Philippines 8:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m.
India and Sri Lanka 10:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m.
Tanzania, Uganda,
Madagascar, Kenya
1:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
Nigeria 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.
Liberia 4:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.
Brazil 6:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m.
Chile 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m.
Bolivia, Dominican Republic 8:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m. 11:00 p.m.
Venezuela 8:30 p.m. 9:30 p.m. 10:30 p.m. 11:30 p.m.
Colombia, Ecuador,
Haiti, Jamaica, Peru
9:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m. 11:00 p.m. 12:00 a.m.
(Jan.1)
Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras,
Mexico, Nicaragua
10:00 p.m. 11:00 p.m. 12:00 a.m.
(Jan.1)
1:00 a.m.
(Jan.1)


Please pray:

Gracious God, I pray for my sisters and brothers in ______. May the New Year bring them hope, joy and peace.

And from all of us at CFCA, we pray the New Year also brings you hope, joy and peace!

Receive CFCA’s weekly Prayer Partners e-mail.

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Sep 4 2008

Couple sees reward in sponsoring older youth

It was Enriqueís interest in electrical workóhe likes to fix electrical fans as a hobbyóthat spurred Annette and Roger Mackenroth of Maplewood, Minn., to sponsor him in 2003. Roger is a retired electrician for the railroad.

ìI have three sons and intended to sponsor a younger girl,î said Roger. ìBut Enrique just jumped out at me.î

Enrique, 16, lives with his mother and brother in eastern Venezuela. His father is gone for long periods of time working on a boat.

Roger and Annette learned through Enriqueís letters that he was having trouble in school and had to repeat classes.

Annette (far left) and Roger (far right) Mackenroth met with their sponsored friend, Enrique, and his mother in Venezuela.

Annette (far left) and Roger (far right) Mackenroth met with their sponsored friend, Enrique, and his mother in Venezuela.

The couple met Enrique on a mission awareness trip to Venezuela in 2007. Enrique and his mother rode a bus for 15 hours to reach Barquisimeto in order to see the Mackenroths.

ìWe told Enrique he had to learn English for business and computers,î said Roger. ìAfter the trip, we didnít hear from him for months. Eventually, we learned he was busy studying and ended up third in his class. Now, heís at the top.î

The couple is convinced their encouragement helped motivate Enrique to improve in school.

ìHis mother said she would pray for us every day of her life,î Annette said. ìI have no doubt that she does.î

The Mackenroths recently began sponsoring 18-year-old Germarys, also from Venezuela. She graduated from high school in 2007 and then lost her sponsorship. Annette hopes by sponsoring her, Germarys will be able to attain her dream of becoming a lawyer.

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Jul 31 2008

Reading their way out of poverty

In El Trompillo, Venezuela, a barrio north of Barquisimeto, a small group of young children has escaped the hot, dusty streets of their neighborhood to sit on the cool, cement floor of the CFCA office and hear Maria read a story about a goblin, ìEl Duende.î

Maria reads slowly and stops periodically to show them the pictures. The story is short. She finishes in several minutes. When she is through, she asks the children to use their imaginations and write their own story about a goblin.

Maria, 17, a CFCA scholarship student and sponsored member, helps out with the El Trompillo reading group every Saturday morning. The group was initiated by another scholarship student, Rodrigo, 19, to help the young students improve their reading skills. The reading group fulfills Rodrigoís and Mariaís service requirement for their scholarships, and it provides a valuable benefit to the community.

ìI think itís important for students to develop their reading skills,î Rodrigo said. ìIf you can read well, then you will succeed in school.î

One young student, Yerlianny, 9, proudly displays the story she has written along with a drawing of her goblin.

Here is Yerliannyís story:

The Goblin (El Duende)

ìThe goblin lives in a house. He is very loving. It is a marvelous house. He likes to play kickball. He won a large medal and a large beautiful cup. The medal is silver and the cup is silver and gold.î

Read more about the El Trompillo reading group and the scholarship students of Venezuela in our August Update newsletter.

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Jun 3 2008

Bob’s report: Visit to Venezuela

Mission Awareness Trip
May 17-24, 2008

Bienvenidos
This May 2008, we are 21 CFCA pilgrims in Venezuela, 18 sponsors plus Sheila Myers (Communications Department, CFCA-Kansas), Cristina and myself, Bob Hentzen. Three of our trip participants are Catholic priests. They have expressed great enthusiasm about the work and the future of CFCA.

The Venezuelan staff and sponsored families tell us how much they have been looking forward to having the sponsors here. The CFCA program in Venezuela can boast of a very loving and professional staff. They model the community they proclaim. Sponsored families are responding to this example. The CFCA communities serve as a leaven, a beacon of hope and a sign of Godís love.

CFCA roots in Venezuela
My brother Bud and I made our way by land from Colombia to Venezuela in 1983 to visit with Father Jerry Beat and Father Angel Riba. Since that time, the CFCA program in Venezuela has grown to 5536 children, 665 elderly and 22 vocation sponsorships. Almost 800 children and aging from Venezuela are on our waiting list for sponsorship.

CFCA Venezuela represented in Japan

David and Sunilde (center) receive congratulations and
“godspeed” from sponsors Kay (l) and Esther (r).

Project Coordinator Sunilde Perez, who has been with CFCA for 11 years, and sponsored child David, 13, will represent Venezuela and CFCA at an interfaith conference in Japan sponsored by the Arigatou Foundation. The conference will address poverty and ecological questions relating to children and intra-family violence.

CFCA Venezuela work groups
The Barquisimeto project has implemented nine commissions with representatives from all subprojects to oversee the delivery of benefits and services to sponsored members. These groups are born from the expressed felt needs of our sponsored families. They cover the following themes: Education, Nutrition, Health, Correspondence, Finance, Fundraising, Recreation, Sports and Culture. The commissions are a grassroots organization which includes the mothers. I am so very pleased and impressed that mothers of sponsored children are confidently giving these presentations to sponsors on the trip.

Scholars give back to community

(L to R) CFCA scholars Eliani, Joana, Adrian and Antonio

We heard a presentation by four CFCA scholars. Eliani organizes scholars. Joana helps keep the children’s files in order. She is in the third semester of nursing school. Antonio supervises the dining room for 259 sponsored in the Maria Auxiliadora school(subproject MA). “They receive a good lunch every school day and medical care,” Antonio said. “I am also supporting my mother and my sister, a special child. This is the hand of God.”

Scholar Adrian Mendoza works with the children and youth in Ciudad de los Muchachos, a foster home for girls and boys. “We want to give our youth tools to continue,” he said. Adrian grew up in Ciudad de los Muchachos (subproject M) and was sponsored through CFCA from age 7 to 17. He then became a CFCA scholar and has now graduated from college with a major in business administration. Adrian will continue his studies in psychology. He still lives and works at Ciudad de los Muchachos. He communicates very well and shows tremendous poise and rapport with the children and staff.

Outing with sponsored children
On Wednesday, we enjoyed an outing in Humucaro Alto (subproject HRA), about two hours from Barquisimeto, with children who are sponsored by members of this group. The entire project was on hand to welcome and to celebrate the visit of the sponsors. As we passed through small towns, parents, staff members and children were out on the highway awaiting our caravan and waving us on. They really do have a strong sense of belonging. How encouraging is this clear identification with CFCA.

This day was a real CFCA fiesta. The age span was from 99 years to newborn. Mothers, dads, youth, children and staff were involved in the many activities: Holy Mass with special commemoration of the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Lois and Walt Silvernale, cooking and organizing a nice hot lunch for hundreds, a theatrical production on the history of CFCA, folk dances and songs and visits to families.

May our loving God continue to bless us all in the great adventure of CFCA.

Bob Hentzen
On the road in Venezuela

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