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Mission of Hope

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Daily Journal: Saturday, February 25, 2012 (Late Edition)

By Bonnie Black
After a nice lunch together, our afternoon crews headed out and others remained here doing the staging for other work.

The afternoon home crew was Paul R., Priscilla, Joy L., Sr. Cathy, Aidyanne and Brody. The first home of this afternoon was constructed from a donation by Curtis Lumber and the Rainos. Curtis has been fantastic to the Mission donating duct tape, socket sets, screwdrivers, electrical supplies, silicone (which we have used on the Public School roof), light bulbs and more. In other words, they gave us everything we had asked for – thanks so much, Curtis!

Rice & Beans trekked afar this afternoon: Brandon, Sara, Andrew, Diane and Bill.

Carton sorting was finalized by Joy C., Nick and Clare although they are still here, they are in staging areas and labeled so that those for whom the cartons are intended will be able to access them in a simple manner.

Painting at the Public School was easier as the morning crew not only prepped, but also began painting after completing the concrete patch. Henry, Allen, Nicole, Vicky, Paul W. and Aislyn. Allen went back to complete the electric and the team returned having done 3 classrooms today, not just the 2 on the schedule! We have been blessed with donations from Sherwin-Williams for all of the painting and many supplies at this poor school. They provided some shirts for our workers to wear over their clothes, brushes, roller skins, paint gloves, sanding blocks and more. Again, another supportive business in the North Country.

Completing the preparation for Nejapa and Niño sponsor gifts set for tomorrow were Connie M. and Emily. Giving out the gifts to the sponsored students at university/vocational/public schools, after they had their photos taken, were Connie M., Corinne, Mary Ellen and Emily.

After working at the Public School, Allen along with James and Paul W. did some pipe cutting along with odds & ends around the house. Anna K., Connie T. and Kate helped me with some housekeeping items that get us nearer to shutdown.

Our last playtime with the local children was coordinated by Kate, Sandy, Corinne and Mary Ellen and there was the true joy of friendship felt all around.

At the beginning of our meeting both Haley, whose birthday is today, and I, who have one on Wednesday, were feted with a round of song as well as a cake – with candles that didn’t seem to go out! It was a surprise for both of us and….we’re bunkmates – who would have known!

Sister began the serious part of the meeting with various trivia questions that she had embedded in some of her emails before the trip: What was the first song ever played on Mission? The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andre Bocceli. Name the 3 co-founders: Sister Debbie, Yamilette Flores and Eve McGill; How many mission have there been? (duh!); Name the 4 pillars of the Mission: Healthcare, Environmental, Education and Community Sustainability. What is the newest high school to contribute a student to mission? (Medfield HS- MA). Name the current President of MOH: James Carlin…and more found on our website!

Then we began our sharing time with Sister Debbie telling us she had to deal with several families on various issues this afternoon, one of which was particularly difficult; she had called and asked Connie and Kate to join her. This 9-year-old has had 3 surgeries and most likely have a permanent colostomy. There are days she can’t go to school because they don’t always have enough bags or clean cloths for her and she has an open wound. Fabricio even expressed how difficult it can be. The girl can’t walk to the Clinic for help as she can’t make it that far and, if she did, the child wouldn’t be able to also walk back home.

The sponsor was contacted and provided enough for 2-3 weeks which will allow this child who loves school to be able to attend for a bit.

Connie T. said she thought the girl was a beautiful, little girl and after the mother received the OTC meds, their eyes welled up. She then handed some hair ties to the little girl who beamed. The little girl tapped her, took off her bracelet, and put it on Connie’s wrist. The young girl put her head on Connie’s shoulder and the mother told Sister Debbie she had felt like the weight of the cross from her back was lifted by the Mission. Connie and Kate shared this experience on their walk home from the Flores’ where Sister had met with the families.

Priscilla had her ‘mission moment’ which wasn’t as warm and fuzzy as others she had had. She felt that she was being disrespectful by not being able to speak Spanish at all with the families as they built home shelters this afternoon.

Amanda was talking with Sara earlier today about having hers. Going to the orphanage was great, but it was kind of sad that not all kids had a gift from the Orphan’s Hope Project we have there. It touched her to see the emotional impact of the visit on Anna D. It is hard for her to process it all. Then, Sister reminded everyone that one of the best ways of processing is through the journaling and also the support from each other now and when we return. “You now have an extended family that can understand what you are experiencing,” she said.

Anna D. told us her second mission has been a wonderful experience, but she hadn’t hit her ‘moment’ yet. Last year, she had wanted to go to Orphanage but the schedule didn’t allow, so when she saw she was scheduled for it today, she was very happy. She then described the afternoon’s experiences which ended with distributing the sponsor gifts…but the hard part was that not all of the children received one. What went through her mind was, ‘Why don’t they live with their parents? I don’t know what I’d do without my parents.” She experienced so many emotions and she was very happy she was able to go and thanked Sara and Joy L. for having the opportunity this year. She said she is going to be talking to Barbara Dobilas about sponsorship. The program is so successful that $900 each month is provided through the sponsorships and that has raised the level of life for these children. There has been much improvement and we will continue to struggle.

Sally had the same emotions and again, she saw her own grandchildren. She had brought everything she still had left in her backpack up to the orphanage and was able to give some trinket to all the kids. Sister noted that the absence of Sr. Griselda has had an impact on communicating this mission and that much will be clarified over the next few weeks.

Tom told us the pump is finally in and working at the orphanage – two years in the making! A young girl asked him if he were lucky and he acknowledged he does feel that way. She then responded that she isn’t lucky. Tom reflected with her that she does have support from the nuns and a place to live and food to eat. He’s not sure he truly reached her, though. He thought the improvements in the facility since last year is tremendous.

Grace spoke about the playtime today and she teared up reacting to the conversation about ‘mucho grande’ she and a young girl were comparing.

Paul R. had his latest ‘mission moment’ watching the transformations in all on Mission. He had noted the emotional turmoil of Vicky on Rice & Beans this morning as an example. What he loves about Mission is that we go home a little different and go home and do something about it.

Henry agreed that the moments are the people we get to work with. He brought the thought from this morning of not just what we do, but how we do it. His team knew they were making a difference in the students’ lives by prepping the walls and painting the 3 classrooms. “Allen is an amazing man,” said Henry as he was impressed not only in the electrical work that was done at the school, but in all that has been accomplished. He said that Miranda and Jorge had come back to the school to help our team bringing a 2 litre Coke to share with them all. What a great token of appreciation for their work from teachers who don’t receive much in salary. “It is a great blessing to be with everyone on this team,” he concluded.

Vicky spoke of the morning Rice & Beans venture which was her first excursion to see where people live. What stood out to her was what we consider garbage – like a partial tire is used as a feed trough for their animals.

Joy told us about yesterday’s emotional experience where she was confused thinking there are so many who turn their backs on people who need help. Sister replied, “Not everyone turns their backs – be careful not to judge. We are here to be. There are those who turn their backs in every culture. We need to model, to witness, to live. We can’t judge others who may turn their backs – we can only change ourselves.”

Sara thanked both teams she was with who helped translate, complete the forms and get the work done. What she realized was that she has been running around trying to get things done and missing some of the little things around her. “What is more important?” she queried. What better use of her time than to be with the young Down’s Syndrome girl and spent some undivided time with her. “We have so much more to fight in this world than each other. If we were working together to improve humanity, we’d be one,” she concluded.

Sister noted the wisdom coming out of the young in this group have truly witnessed to all of us. “We invite you to continue that commitment when you return home,” she said.

Clare spoke of a simple thing this morning on the truck ride back from Home Shelter construction. The language and socioeconomic barriers are difficult, but on that ride a young man stuck his hand out when she was being bounced around and she felt that they were the same. He reached out, instinctively, to protect her. There was no difference between them.

Haley thanked everyone for an amazing day from her ‘second’ family.

Sister asked Nick to have prayer tonight and he smiled saying, “How can you do that to me?” It was a joke! In reality, prayer was given by Sister Claire. She said that we bring Hope to the people we serve. Her handout was our evening prayer which also included “St. Teresa’s Song” by J-M Talbot Troubadour for the Lord.

We had a short Leadership meeting immediately afterward and there was much socializing in the Pavilion up until lights out at 9:30pm. Our one last day of projects is tomorrow – how fast time has flown! We will soon be back home to all of you.

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