We are one big family

encuentro LMC diciembre 2013From 6th to 8 December the CLM of Spain met in Madrid to celebrate our annual meeting in December. It has been a joy to get together almost everyone. And, certainly, we are ONE BIG FAMILY. No more papers than the Bible and the desire to let ourselves be challenged by what the Word of God raises. Challenges for us and our lives. We have enjoyed a few days of meeting to share from the heart, to listen to others and to let us be interpellate. Thanks to everyone for having made ​​possible by sharing illusions and dreams and the desire to keep walking and continue backing the mission.

Isidro Jimenez. CLM

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Dear family, I wanted to thank God very much for the days we have been able to celebrate and share together as a CLM family. It’s been beautiful days full of encounters and reencounters fruit of the Spirit that continues to dream of us, of the silent work and good work. These days I have remembered fondly, that appointment with which our community companion in Arequipa received our community, “went up to the mountain, he was calling who he wanted and they went with him. Appointed twelve [whom he called apostles] to coexist with him and send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. [So He appointed the Twelve]. Simon that he called Peter, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were called Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder, Andrew and Philip, Bartholomew and Matthew, Thomas, James of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who even betrayed him “Mk 3 13–19”. How Jesus comes to call all to work TOGETHER, a fisherman, a tax collector or a zealot? Would not it have been easier that had all been in the same profession or the same “zone”? And again, I thank God, because He call each and every one of us by our name and dreams of us individually and as a community, there always springs something new, different and better. A hug of Advent

Carmen Martín. CLM

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I give thanks for the “encounter”, a word that was repeated in the dynamics of the balloons and it was refer to our expectations in this time together, it wasn´t my personal word, that sought to “open heart”, because I felt in this previous step to make the event possible. We have to thank Miquel who accompanied us throughout Friday and Saturday to reconnect with our source through the Word of God, in a simple way, stripping us from preconceptions, and permitting to express what it was first suggested and express how it made us feel everything. We had chances to share, express ourselves, to know us, love us, ask us what we needed from each other, be more community and how gladly prays and celebrates after!

We must give thanks to Tere, with whom we spoke and told us in firsthand the reality in Central African Republic, also to Isabel and Gonzalo, the latter trying to recover from his latest misadventure in Peru and she trying to get the job of both, thanks to Xoancar too, though we not talked to him. Thanks to Carmen, Jose and little Pablo, who has become a big boy in Peru, they spoke to us from the heart, sharing with us what they have lived in that land, that will be forever linked. Thanks to Carmen Aranda who leaves in our name but doesn´t know yet where. And to Palmira, her partner at this time. And to all the other CLM around the word that Alberto reminds us that are always with us, and we are with them. Thanks to all of you attended for not giving up, and those you were not, that were few, lots of encouragement. Hugs,

Fátima Verdejo. CLM

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CML in Mongoumba (Central African Republic)

Tere y Elia LMC en MongoumbaDear CLM, friends and family

Peace and good!

We are writing to communicate you a bit of how we are and live the present moment, after the attempted military coup of December 5, our fears, our anxieties,…

When darkness falls in Mongoumba the silence takes the night, we don´t hear anymore the songs and laughter of children who play. We don´t hear the conversations of the neighbors, the drums that enliven the night … just the sounds of nature, the crickets and some nocturnal birds. It is a silence that anguishes because we know that people leave their homes to take refuge in the jungle. They leave because they are afraid. They have fear of Military Seleka and fear of the Anti-Balaka, the new opposition group to the transitional government. Fear of the night, of what may happen.

It is a difficult moment, a difficult time for the country, but in Mongoumba we are in a different situation, we can say that we live in a small paradise. A little paradise where the difficulties are not lacking, where we try to give continuity to our daily activities, the different projects: health, education and pastoral. At the same time we try to live next to the people sharing with them the difficulties of every day. We talked about a little paradise because the situation of the town with its natural boundaries (the river), allow us to continue to a nearly normal life, nearly normal, but we cannot ignore the situation of war, destruction and death that lives the rest of the country.

We hear of the events that occurred, particularly in Bangui, and other locations in trouble, but in Bangui is where the fighting is most intense and where the number of deaths is higher. We hear the news and hear people who have relatives in the capital, what happens in the neighborhoods, the dead bodies in the houses and streets where no one comes to pick them up. The accesses are difficult and people are afraid to go for help.

The news coming from abroad speak of religious war, but we do not feel that way, for us it is a political way to put against one another and where some people take advantage for revenge and personal vendettas. Both Seleka as Anti-Balaka are destroying a village to catch a power that they are not able to control.

The Anti-balaka calls themselves Christians like the Seleka sais they are Muslims, but not all Muslims identify with the Seleka and not all Christians with the Anti-balaka. Which religion would identify itself with groups that spread death and disorder? It is a political problem that false religious believers try to turn it into a religious problem. From the beginning of the conflict the leaders of the major religions of the country work together in an appeal for peace. Almost throughout the whole country have been organized inter-religious committees for the same purpose, including Mongoumba where there is also a risk that people start to look each other with suspicion and can reach confrontations with devastating consequences for the entire town.

Some of our fears are: The number of weapons in circulation. The French military has begun the disarmament, but how many weapons are gone and how many from unknown hands have past for unknown destinations?

Until now, we have lived as spectators in a war that is ours, but the outcomes have not yet touched us…

Kisses to all and keep up with us

Elia and Tere

Arrival of Emma (Italian CLM in Brazil)

Emma arrived in Brazil on December 1st, 2013.

She has come for a period of 3 years.

The community of Our Lady of Aparecida, Ipê Amarelo, has welcomed her. On this day 8/12, day of the Immaculate Conception, Emma was presented and received by the people. Taking advantage of the pastoral visit of Don Luis, Bishop of our region, Emma spoke of the joy of participating in community life and walk with Jesus in this Brazilian land.

Now she is studying the language and seizes the moment with the children here at the home of Mission Santa Terezinha of Ipê Amarelo to improve her Portuguese.

Welcome Emma!

By María de Lourdes,

CLM Brazil

Our wealth are the poor

Mongoumba

Yesterday at the opening Mass of the Pastoral Year I was saying to Christians that the poor are our wealth in the parish and announced that Catherine, Odile and Monique would leave on Monday morning to M’baiki where they shall reside with the Sisters of Teresa of Calcutta.

Catherine, Odile and Monique take over ten years with us. Casually all three are Christian; live in houses of clay in the soil of the parish. None has a family and at the time they were accused of witchcraft, which means death threat, so they found refuge in the parish. They are the “poor of the parish.”

Monique has 95 years according to his letter of baptism, Catherine and Odile exceed eighty. They are very old and deteriorated; we have no strength to continue responding to them with dignity at this moment of insecurity where many, who threw a hand to clean them or prepare something to eat, have fled. They are living in almost inhuman conditions because Monique is paralyzed and blind for years, Odile cannot move and Catherine who was the nurse of the group is with heart problems and cannot fend. Without water, without any hygiene, with nobody to prepare them meal or give them a hand … We decided to move to the sisters of Calcuta where we seek for asylum and they have been accepted Initially faced with uncertainty, they refused saying that they wanted to die in Mongoumba and didn´t want to leave … Then I managed together with Kaos to convince them that it was the best for them … I told them that we will take them, and if they are not happy in one month we will bring them back.

The journey to M’baiki, 90 miles in four hours, has been quite an odyssey. Monique does not stand sitting in the back seat and was lying on top of Catherine, she spend all the journey vomiting. Catherine was scowling and Odile smile every time I asked her if they were going well … it’s probably one of the first times that they have been on the car on a long journey.

Sister Alexandra welcomed us very well when we have reached M’baiki, fully nap time. We have installed our three relics in a room with three beds and foam mattresses, it is the first time they have a mattress. They even have a bathroom with shower and running water in the room… Their somber faces were lit … Monique have been placed on a mattress on the floor to keep her from falling.

We have filled all the forms: name, age, origin, family, diseases, drugs … In the status box sister wrote: “proscribed accused of witchcraft …”. “What if they die? What we do?” I told the sister, knowing how complicated the issue of burying the dead is in this culture, “They have no one I said, they can be bury with no problem, no one will complain …”. Sister asked me to sign as guardian of the three elderly.

Really, we’re going to miss them, but we will remain in touch, they are our treasures, the poor.

Jesus Ruiz (MCCJ in Mongoumba). Pictured accompany the four women, Tere and Elia (CLM).

Contrasts

Liliana FerreiraI am where my heart is and my heart is in this wonderful land full of majestic and magnificent trees, which unfortunately have been taken (stolen) from other countries. In this land, where the sun rises in the sea and goes down over the mountains, where the moon is not a liar and smiles at you when you contemplate it. In this land, where you can breathe clean air, which unfortunately is already also a source of income for many. In this land of wonderful beaches of white sand and clear water that with great sadness cease to be deserted to make way for mega tourism enterprises. In this land of red color, red ground color of blood, shed for many in the fight for independence, blood spilled in the struggle for peace and the blood of those who today are fighting for a better life and demand their rights. Here the land is also a means of survival, the people takes the necessary food to keep them during the year, but it has being usurped by multinationals that come from nowhere and demand their rights on the land without thinking of the consequences on those who have lived there all their life.

Mozambique is beautiful and attractive, full of natural beauty and resources, with friendly and welcoming people. To the outside comes out the idea that it is also a center of employment, but this is only for those coming from outside. Unemployment here is high, young people who strive to finish the 12th grade find closed the doors of the world of work and other times it is offered them the opportunity to work in exchange for a minimum value…

MozambiqueThis reality outlined the discussions of lessons in Civic and Moral Education in the first semester where we discussed the current situation of Mozambique tapping points such as: unequal social distribution, poverty, education and health, corruption, globalization, multinational action, contrasts… important subjects to uninstall the youth, stating the present reality and seeking to strengthen their critical minds so that they can demand justice and a more promising future.

Liliana Ferreira, LMC 

 

The one thing necessary

Open HandsOne of the most difficult parts of this “missionary” life for me has been accepting all that I am missing out on. In my lowest moments, I think about missing my family, my close guy friends (it is so hard to make authentic peer-to-peer friendships here), my god-children, career development, saving for retirement, my familiar culture, and things like this.  It’s taken a few years to come to terms with all that I need to give up in order to be authentic to God’s invitation for me to become more loving, which at this present moment keeps me in Ethiopia.  Now, most days I feel at peace, which is a logical effect of voluntary sacrifice.  But I have learned that the most important effect is an opening of me to others, a widening of my horizons away from myself to the needs of others.  Thomas Merton’s writings, particularly from “No Man is an Island” have been a great inspiration:

“One who is content with what he has, and who accepts the fact that he inevitably misses very much in life, is far better off and more at peace than one who has or experiences much more but who worries about all he may be missing. For we cannot make the best of what we are, if our hearts are always divided between what we are and what we are not.

The relative perfection which we must attain in this life if we are to live as children of God is not the twenty-four-hours-a-day production of perfects acts of virtue, but a life from which practically all the obstacles to God’s love have been removed or overcome.

One of the chief obstacles to this perfection of selfless love is the selfish anxiety to get the most out of everything, to be a brilliant success in our own eyes and in the eyes of other people. We can only rid ourselves of this anxiety by being content to miss something in almost everything we do. We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, visit everywhere, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything go, we will probably be able to retain the one thing necessary for us – whatever it may be. If we are too eager for everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need.

This type of authentic happiness consists in finding out precisely what the “one thing necessary” may be in our lives and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed.”

– Mark

Maggie, Mark and Emebet Banga, Comboni Lay Missionaries, Awassa, Ethiopia