Making a Difference in Their Lives and Our Own
As I write this bulletin article I am in Nicaragua midway through the first week of our two-week missionary trip with Amigos for Christ, our host charity organization who work with the local Nicaraguans daily. It has been just awesome to return to La Chuscada, the community in which we worked for the last several years, and see the impact our contributions (time, talent and treasure) have had on this community. The families look so healthy and they look physically, emotionally and spiritually stronger than ever. The community itself was delighted to see Holy Spirit parishioners, too, as we have built up an emotional connection with the community. Sebastian, the community leader, was in tears to see us again and I must confess I shed more than one tear when I embraced him and so many kids we met in previous years. It is truly a wonderful job to share this role as your pastor and on your behalf.
The school we are sponsoring is progressing in amazing ways. The perimeter wall is complete and the structure for the first building for Pre- Kindergarten and Kindergarten is now up and starting to take shape. They are also planting the field for the sports. The goal is to fill the school slowly with Pre-K first and then slowly bring the kids along and grow the school over the next 5-8 years. It is a powerful vision and one that will change the community forever. Educating the young will ensure their families will remain out of poverty and maintain sustainability forever. It is just wondrous that we had even a small role in this transformation.
Yet, having said that, yesterday I went to visit families in the neighborhood and was shocked to see some new challenges to their work there. One of the new families who have just moved in the community, still face the early challenges of poverty we had solved many years ago. The family I visited was still living in a stick, stone and mud hut with no kitchen. The young mother spent most of her day over an open fire cooking the
meals for the day with all the smoke bellowing into the house. While she had running water, she lacked resources to move beyond the devastating poverty that kills the human spirit. She was delighted to see us as she has very few visitors. She cares for her child and maintains the pump station for the whole community and spends most of her day alone with her child. We spent the day with her and she cooked what little food she had for us and served us. We ate the beautiful meal put before us, humbled that she had served us from her poverty. Wow! It was so humbling! It was hard to say goodbye knowing she would not have visitors for weeks.
Yet again, I was reminded the importance of our work here and how fragile the whole system is. So please know that the work we do on your behalf is truly making a difference in people’s lives and it is transforming us in the process.
Fr. Brendan McGuire