Buon dia a todos,
Our mission is very good. It is the first time we use internet, and just for a few minutes. The building (medical and dental clinic) is more completed than we thought.
Kids are awesome. Some very poor, some not too bad but they all love soccer. We play almost everyday, and they are very talented. We have mass daily in a little chapel, usually with one dog inside, but he is respectful, almost devout.
The neighbourhood is very rural (a 4×4 is needed to access the site), but there is a nice road not too far. We have a very good mission team, prayerful, loving the poor, loving the kids, and able to sacrifice. Weather was cold at first but it is good now. With some pretty hot days, and refreshing nights. We Canadians have been using the pool almost everyday. And we got the Americans in too…
The food is very good too. Healthy, fresh, in good quantity, and you know this is important for me… We had eggs from one of our new friends this morning, and milk from the cow of the watchman of the clinic site.
Our place of stay is simple but neat. It is a place for retreats, that is rarely used for night stay. And our cook Natalia is very loving and with a great sense of humor. She also does laundry for us.
One of the family we see everyday is a family of 8 boys, whose mom abandoned them and their dad comes only on weekends. We try to give them as much love as we can, and also a few of the clothes we have for distribution. Soccer ball is the greatest gift we could have given them. We might give an extra one to offer them before we leave.
One of the highlight of the mission was a chocolatada on Sunday. There were 63 kids and more than 20 adults. We did praise and worship with them, prayed a little bit, gave a talk, distribute chocolate milk, candies and cookies, toothbrush and toothpaste, we played soccer, hula hoop, rope skipping, frisbee. It was an event full of hope and joy for them. We are the first missionaries to do something similar. Priests are very busy so they do not have much time to visit the barrios.
Mass on Sunday was at the main church, St Joseph Parish. I concelebrated with the 2 priests from the parish, 1 permanent deacon, and 600 faithful. It was celebrated in the plaza, under the natural covering of trees, some with flowers. This is edifying to celebrate mass in the cathedral created by the Lord Himself. The homily was great. It was addressing problems like crack (most popular drug and very destructive), abortions, desintegration of family which is the domestinc church, motorcycle accidents. The parish has many side chapels (over than 20 for sure).
We saw the biggest toad (sapo) of our life. We tease Shannon that we think it was a prince in disguise. She had chocolate at hand but did not offer him any, so we think that this is the reason he is to annoyed (enojado) to come back. At least she shares some with our daily driver / president of the organization owning the land, our dear Gerardo.
And Shannon is also the hula hoop champion, as well as the tall blue eyed white girl playing guitar which makes her very popular amongst little girls, as well as some military youth. Her Spanish keeps improving but her accent remains as charming as ever.
Mario is improving his soccer skills by playing so much with the kids. He is the cool guy for the little boys. We pray for his energy to be sustained so he can continue to evangelize through playing. Sign me up too for that kind of evangelization…
Lizette fits well with some of the little girls as she is almost their size… She could pass for one of them. And thank the Lord for her singing voice and guitar skills that beautify our liturgies despite the lack of sound system.
Rosa is all over the place, as much playing with kids, than organizing our visits, than meeting with her family, than taking pictures, than filling up our water bottles, than fixing our oranges, planning our meal every day to make sure no one get sick, etc.
We visited some houses in the neighbourhood of San Pedro Limpio, even shared meals or snacks with them, sometimes with the chicken, ducks, running between our legs. We have to be careful with dogs because some of them have ´pulgas´ (kinds of lice that attack the toenails, could destroy a pedicure in no time). One of these visits was to a 28 year old sick person who suffered from motorcycle crash on Palm Sunday 1 1/2 year ago. The doctors cannot do anything for him anymore. His mom takes care of him. His skull consists mostly of his forehead, as there is no bone but only skin on both the sides of his head. He had been a practicing catholic from his youth, and had been waiting for a priest to visit since his accident.
Today we will teach the children the Rosary and have a more charismatic mass and evening of prayer with the people from the little chapel we serve at. Time is almost coming to an end. Missions give me life…
United in prayer and mission,