Dear family, friends and all,
I hope this e-mail will find you well. I hope the entire family is in good health.
Gratefully to God, I am well.
I am beginning to feel the intense heat we have, almost always around 40 degrees over here. A heat that does not even begin to compare with the warmth I feel when I visit the families, play with the children or work with these wonderful people. Like St. Peter said, “how good it is to be here!” (Mt 17:4)
Here I am still involved with the library. By God’s grace and the generosity of some people, it was possible to buy some books for the library. This way, the students who come over have access to some basic textbooks. Two Portuguese ladies who visited here brought us calculators and other material. Often, I try to have school books and ball point pens to give to anyone who cannot afford them, but is interested in them. Always, if they are looking for a specific book, we try to buy it. Their time availability is not like mine. So, I find days with two or three people and others with 20. But, I understand. They are young and working in the fields, but also study, they have family and some with two or three children. Well, how can they find the time for the library. They truth is that they do and, when they come to study, there is silence. It makes me happy.
I keep up with a faithful group in English and computer classes. They like it. They want to learn and, even though I am not an expert, I am happy to teach them.
I also have a Bible study group in English, with four catechists. We read the Bible, then I explain the texts in English, meditate on them and sometime we watch religious videos in English. I am very happy with them.
I keep playing in the school which still hosts a refugee family. We bought a ball and this is enough to get the young together and enjoy some good times.
At least twice a week we go to the villages with the catechists, visiting families, playing with the children. These moments fill our hearts. To be with people is essential to our missionary vocation.
With the Comboni Missionaries we live with, we share Mass at 6:30 in the morning and an hour of Eucharistic adoration on Saturday. On Thursdays we go to the Comboni Sisters community and also with them we have Eucharistic adoration before supper. On Wednesdays, David and I have a community prayer.
Despite the work we have, it is the desire of the CLM, myself and David, my partner in the community, to start a new type of presence among the Gumuz. We are not the first CLM in Ethiopia, but we are the first to live among the Gumuz.
For this reason, we are visiting the communities, speaking with the people, analyzing the concrete situation of each village and family.
Unfortunately, the car we have does not allow for constant work. The roads are horrible and require a car in reasonable shape. After a month, we stopped running games for the children in the villages because our car was at the mechanic, and this happens often. On top of that, we keep on paying for these repairs. We will need to buy a new car that will allow us to continue our work.
We also intend to build a house in one of the villages, near the people, and live there. Together with the house we will start working on projects. We are continuing with the project of setting up a children home for those who remain alone during the day, without adult supervision, plus a student residence to allow children to attend school who cannot go or need to cover over 30 km to get there. These are the projects we consider the most viable, if we take into account what we have analyzed and heard from the young ones and the adults.
Unfortunately, we need money to do all this. For this I ask for your prayers that we may do the will of God with these people. If you know of any NGO that finances this type of project, please tell us. Everything help, even a little bit, and is valued by God. And since I know that I am not here alone, I am sure you are with me!
At time we face adversities, like typhus or typhoid fever, but I am happy to have been sent to this place where God already is with the people.
I have been in this beautiful place for almost a year! I have no doubt, It is a beautiful place! I am happy! I live a happy life! It does not mean that there is no suffering. It means that, despite all the obstacles, it is worth being here. It means that God gives us strength and gives us the means to do his will!
I keep you in my prayers, I feel your friendship around me, and I keep on learning that distance does not cut the ties, but makes them stronger, reminding me of the importance of your friendship and your love for me.
Hugs and kisses from this friend who loves you a lot,
Pedro Nascimento, CLM Ethiopia