May 31 2011

Walk2gether passes from desert to fertile valleys

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Bob Hentzen recently wrote to the CFCA headquarters from the road in Chile. You can see the full update on his Facebook page.

Sixty-nine days in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile have been very inspiring.

Some describe the desert as Tierra de Nada ni Nadie (Land of Nothing and Nobody). On Walk2gether, we have had a much different experience.

In the silence of the long treks, I find myself comparing the survival struggle of the young desert plants to the daily struggle of our sponsored members and their families, as well as those waiting for sponsorship.

These humble families honor us with their invitation to walk with them from the desert of their isolation to the fertile valleys of their hope.

As I write this, we are walking in a zone of olive trees, vegetable gardens, cypress trees and vineyards. I see signs of wildlife along the road, as well as domestic livestock sporting woolly winter coats.

Knowing full well that itís winter ahead, we stride directly into the cold winds, moving south into the lives of Godís humble people. We are usually able to take our first steps of the morning around 3 a.m.

The Camanchaca fog is cold and mysterious, yet through it all, we know that the Southern Cross is ever present to guide us, as is Godís love and your love. I walk in awe of natureís colors and harmonies as she responds to centuries-old Pacific currents and Antarctic airs.

All of this causes me to reflect and pray in gratitude for this experience. Iím grateful for the opportunity for growth through relationships with my co-workers and the dear families who live here in Chile and in the other countries where CFCA serves. Exciting days are with us as we approach the finale.

Loved ones from our natural family and our CFCA family are beginning to gather in Chile as we near Valparaiso. Believe me, you are helping us all to rise and begin anew each day of our journey. Please know of our love and thanks.

Bob
May 29, 2011

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May 13 2011

Zamboanga families walk in solidarity with those in Chile

Walk2gether is in its final country, Chile, but that hasn’t stopped people in the Philippines from joining it in spirit!

Zamboanga solidarity walk with Walk2gether

The CFCA community in Zamboanga joins with Walk2gether on a weekend solidarity walk.

Over the weekend, two CFCA communities in Zamboanga conducted an early-morning solidarity walk of about 9 miles (15 kilometers).

More than 1,000 sponsored friends and their families participated.

“In this experience, we are just having a taste of how Bob and the walkers do it every day,” said Alan Partosa, project staff member. “This walk is also giving thanks for the CFCA community and Bob’s walk for journeying with us in the daily battle of life.”

After the walk, CFCA staff members in Zamboanga showed a video of Walk2gether, and mothers and children reflected on the morning’s experience.

“A sponsored youth, Joseph Arthur, shared in the group, ‘CFCA is love. We can give without loving, but we can never love without giving,’” Partosa said. “I have heard this already, but for a 15-year-old boy to speak it from his heart is a different thing for me.”

Chris Palmer, project specialist for the Philippines, said he was excited to hear news of the solidarity walk.

“We really see the families walking in solidarity with the greater CFCA community,” he said, “even though they’re spanning such great distances.”

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May 12 2011

Walk2gether finishes trek in the Atacama Desert

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Bob Hentzen recently wrote to the CFCA headquarters from the road in Chile. You can see the full update on his Facebook page.

It is a pleasure to share with you these scenes from our walk through the beautiful and formidable Atacama Desert of Chile.

On March 22, 2011, we entered Chile from Bolivia at Chungara (more than 14,000 feet in altitude) in the awesome snow-capped Altiplano Chileno.

Iím happy to tell you that with Godís loving care and your belief in us, we have walked the entire length of the Atacama Desert in an unbroken line.

For us, it has become a place to pray, learn and appreciate.

We are right on schedule for the finale of Walk2gether in Valparaiso. We are preparing to walk and celebrate with our 6,000 sponsored members and their families during the first week of June.

We eagerly await those of you who will be traveling to Chile in person and in spirit during the next few weeks. Our youngest son, Robert Jacob, arrived on May 6. Naturally, Cristina and I say that Jake is a great walker and a great help.

Know of our thanks and love.

Bob
May 9, 2011

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May 2 2011

Walk2gether embraces desert vulnerability

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Bob Hentzen recently wrote to the CFCA headquarters from the road in Chile. You can see the full update on his Facebook page.

Fortified by the conviction that God lives, we walk deeper and deeper into the Atacama Desert, known as the driest place on Planet Earth, and we stay there day and night.

We have found that in a 24-hour period, the temperature can change by 50, even 60 degrees.

Cars, trucks and buses speed through this desert like itís something to be feared and avoided. In high winds, their wake can literally blow us off the road.

We embrace our vulnerability.

Our small steps in the immensity of the Atacama may not seem like much. Yet down deep, in the very fiber of our being, we know that we are advancing toward something of incalculable worth: the 6,000 struggling CFCA families in the area of Valparaiso, Chile, and the community of compassion among ourselves that it will take to get us there.

Let me assure you that you are very much a part of all of this. Know of our love.

Bob
April 29, 2011


In other news, the Christian Science Monitor recently reported on Bob and Walk2gether. Check it out!

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Apr 19 2011

Walk2gether continues in the wilderness, trusts in Godís loving care

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Bob Hentzen recently wrote to the CFCA headquarters from the road in Chile. You can see the full update on his Facebook page.

Heartfelt greetings from the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.

In most of the countries on Walk2gether, we have been able to find a ìsafe havenî for the nightóor better said, for a few hours of the night, before beginning anew at 2-3 a.m.

Looking back over the last year and three months on the road, I can say that the wilderness would have been more restful than many of the places we have stayed.

Itís true that cities generally have what we need in terms of supplies, water, fuel, access to telephone and Internet. Yet, on the down side, many times their noise level and feel are like something out of Mad Max.

If by the grace of God we could well channel the nightly partying energy of the youth of Latin America, we would have an enormous force for good in our world.

Much like they were in the deserts of Peru, impressive are the distances in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. At times, the road is so narrow and the tandem semis so wide and fast that we have to go “all terrain.”

Whenever we can, we opt to pitch our tents where the coastal road has led us. Last evening, after we had our camp organized within meters of the ocean and supper underway, walkers began a search among huge boulders for scraps of firewood.

We discovered that we were camping near an open burial ground. Carabineros (Chilean police) say that there are many osamentos (bones) along these Pacific coasts – most probably remains of people fallen in battles between Chile, Bolivia and Peru-Guerra del Pacifico (1879-1884). May they rest in peace.

We are delighted to have Paul Pearce with us. Paul is CFCAís director of global strategy. He is a great walker, and he also gives Israel a break in driving the camper.

In the grupo corazon (core group), on this two-week rotation in the desert, we have the loving care and company of two Chileans, Irma and Georgia.

As we enter La Semana Santa (Holy Week), we pray in gratitude for each of you.

Bob (April 14, 2011)

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Apr 15 2011

At lunch, Walk2gether makes new friends in Atacama Desert

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Bob Hentzen recently wrote to the CFCA headquarters from the road in Chile. You can see the full update on his Facebook page.

Even in the apparent harshness of the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, we find tenderness and signs of hope.

After trekking 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) today, April 11, we stopped for lunch at a fruit stand along the highway. This humble little business turned out to be an oasis in the desert, which welcomed us weary pilgrims with delicious melons, real human connections and the surprise of a snow-white baby llama.

The owners are hard-working campesinos who grow their own fruit and then market it to passing motorists and passengers on tour buses. They kindly offered us a rough-hewn table in the shade, space shared with a baby snow-white llama named Sogui.

When the young woman attending clients, Wara, saw our Walk2gether logo, she excitedly told us that her two younger brothers (Guaman, 9, and Raymi, 16) are sponsored through CFCA in Oruro, Bolivia, and that they had walked with me not too long ago in their own country.

We felt an immediate bond with this young indigenous woman and invited Wara to have lunch with us. She explained that she had come to Chile to find work in order to help her family.

There are six children. The father died four years ago. The mother is quite young, but has serious health issues.

And I think, ìHow wonderful our calling: to strive for a more human and compassionate world.î

In all of this, we carry you in our hearts. You are here, and we thank you.

Bob

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Apr 12 2011

Walk2gether window: Sponsors who attended the launch

Christina and Morgan attended Walk2gether’s launch in Guatemala on Dec. 29, 2009. Here is an excerpt from Christina’s reflection, written shortly after returning to the U.S.

“I wanted to sponsor a girl in Guatemala around the same age as Morgan (my youngest daughter) so that Morgan could be a part of this relationship.

Morgan and Candelaria

Morgan and Candelaria meet in Guatemala.

I was hoping that she would develop a relationship through the mail, write letters and one day meet this sponsored child, and it would be an automatic bond.

That’s exactly how it happened. Our sponsored child, Candelaria, is a year and a half younger than Morgan.

We sponsored her when she was 5 years old. (She is now 10.)

Every time I wrote to Candelaria, Morgan wrote or colored a picture for her. Often when I came home from work, she had written a letter or colored a picture and informed me I needed to do the same so we could get them in the mail.

We had been planning a mission awareness trip through CFCA for a couple of years. We could hardly wait to meet Candelaria and her family.

We arrived on a Friday and saw her for the first time on Monday. It was a beautiful reunion. She and Morgan hugged, but were shy toward each other at first.

It was only a matter of minutes before they were holding hands.

Candelaria is the oldest of four children. Her mother and baby brother came with her. They had to travel about an hour to see us.

Rosa, Morgan and Anna Maria

Rosa, Morgan and Anna Maria.

Native Mayan language and Spanish are the languages of Guatemala. We had an interpreter, but sometimes words were not needed (and I did pretty well with my Spanish).

Many Guatemalan people are descendants from the Mayans. Here’s a picture of Morgan with Rosa (14 years) and Anna Maria (10 years), two of the sisters from a home he visited. Morgan was 10 in this picture.

Look at the difference in their sizes. Everywhere we went when the local children learned how old Morgan was, especially the girls, they stared and called her a giant.

Last, but definitely not least, Bob Hentzen was on the mission awareness trip with us. He was there to begin his walk from Guatemala for Chile.

This is one reason we chose this week ñ to be part of this history-making moment.

The walk began on Dec. 29, 2009, and I was there taking pictures along with everyone else on this 8,000-mile journey through 12 countries.

Everyone on the trip was invited to join the walk.

I wanted to leave at 4 a.m. with all the rest, but Morgan was not up for that and I could not leave her.
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