What a trip to our mission in Peru! It was a joy to spend three days in our houses there and to see what our missionary guys and girls are living. They love the babies and teenagers like they were their own. (For more photos, visit the photo gallery.)
The spirit of sacrifice in serving the children and teenagers is incredible, especially with the many babies and toddlers that need to have their diaper changed constantly and have to be fed in the middle of the night. When a few sleep, the others are awake, either needing to eat or having a dirty diaper. In our house in Villa Salvador, life never slows down, and you can never stop for a minute “for yourself” whether it’s day and night. And all this doesn’t happen in a quiet, calm American neighborhood. Until about 2 or 3 in the morning there’s loud music blaring from the shacks close by. Then in an hour or two, they blare announcements really loud because it’s the only way for people a long distance away to hear what they need to hear. At 4 or 5 a.m. every single morning, the tank trucks arrive bringing two barrels of clean water to about 50,000 people. Pretty much, we sleep very little!
We were based in Villa Salvador, and we spent a full day at each of the three houses. It is nice to see how much improvement has been done since my last visit in December. More important, it’s wonderful to see how happy the children are and how much their behavior has improved. It’s a very good sign that our guys and girls are doing a very good job. Over there you do not have any time to think about yourself at all. Your main and only focus is helping the children and the people with you. Part of their life there is taking kids to school and taking them to the doctor and the hospital because some of the children have serious medical needs. It means that our missionaries really have a chance to see the condition of life outside, a condition of incredible poverty. It is very good for them to see it because it gives them a different prospective of life!
I had a chance to visit our two Americans there, Tim and Dan. Really it is amazing what God is doing for them through the lives of the children. Adjusting to the mission in Peru is difficult for everyone, and it has been for both of them, but it’s been even more for Tim. Now it seems that they are doing better, because they begin to know the language and the mentality of Peruvian people. They have struggled but neither of them asked to come back. Actually they feel that it has been very good for them to be around the struggle and the suffering of the kids—and the challenges that the kids give them—plus it’s been good for them to be without all the comfort that our country provides! I was able to interview them on video and hope to show it soon. They were very happy to see us, and we really spent a lot of time speaking about the mission and Florida. Just to let you know how disconnected they are from the U.S. news, Tim, a big Boston fan, did not know that the Patriots lost the super bowl!
On Sunday we had a chance to spend the day at the new house. The kids and missionaries come from the other houses. It was a day of joy! We visited, shared about their lives, and showed some of the videos of the Community done in Europe. It was really very nice. The new house looks great. There are already three Sisters living there with four other girls and two guys. Right now we have 12 kids from 3 to 10 years old and even one, Dario, who is not able to walk!
Although the house was beautiful already, the guys made a lot of important changes. A new bathroom was done for the children with little showers and little toilets, just the right size for them. The guys built tables, chairs, beds and other furniture that are small children size, too. They started a garden that is nice. The guys made a chapel with a beautiful painting of Mary with the baby Jesus, done by one of our girls who is really an artist. The place looks great.
Again, a very big “thank you” to all those that helped to get the house. Now we see that this pretty house is also full of life and hope!
Now back to our reality here in Florida. Life continues with all our projects and everything we have to do for our trip to Quebec for the International Eucharistic congress in June. The guys are busy and enthusiastic about it. They are working on the music and performance they will do.
We received news that one of our priests and two Sisters from Community will join us for the event. We are very excited about it! Plus we have a number of parents joining us and our Canadians who’ve done an experience in Community, like Robin, Louise, Joaquin, Sara. It will be a big group going, and we hope to be able to share what God did for us through the Comunita Cenacolo.
We are also in preparation for our Festival of Life in Italy. Please communicate with Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know if you’re going and who is going also to Lourdes. We have to finalize the trip!