Fundraiser Wrap Up
I posted a final update to the Christmas fundraiser. Thanks again to everyone who participated! We were not only to help fund a lift for the kids on Christmas, but hopefully the start of a new project. Come over here and check it out:
Mocache Wrap Up
I finished my time in Mocache having had the chance to be involved in the parish life, accompanying and getting to know the people, offering guidance and hopefully inspirations to a few groups, and just listening to the people. The people very extremely, extremely welcoming, and Padre Julian as well. Since it was the heat of First Communion season for over 100 villages, the main focus was on the massive sacrament preparation program. To help out, I created a Mass guide for the First Communion and Confirmation kids, that also serves as a momento of the occasion. That took all of my Microsoft Word skills! I also helped the priest transition some of the parish administration into the 21st century: transitioning the parish schedule to Google's cloud and showing him how to manage it. That is huge, because he has a cell-phone to now be able to view, edit, and manage the parish schedule, as well as his own. Imagine doing a parish schedule manually in Word every month, when you've got 100 villages to make appointments to attend, tens of group meeting, council meetings, funerals, weddings, baptisms, diocesan meetings, and so many other stuff! And then, you have to convey that to so many people in the tens of parish ministries as well! I was able to put a link to the schedule on the parish's Facebook page - that way, anyone and everyone with internet access (everyone in parish ministries would have some level of internet access) can view the parish schedule, updated real-time.
But maybe the best part was his amazement in seeing how much more the technology that he already had could do. In Latin America, smartphones are used only for social applications, camera, and phone: WhatsApp, Facebook, camera, and phone are pretty much the only things utilized. This is partly due to the slow internet, and also to the over-socialization (if I can say that), social swarming effect of the culture. (The sense of social belonging and the pressure to attain social status in the eyes of others is extremely strong - individual boundaries and dignity, not so much.) But now, hopefully he can explore more steps that can make life smoother for him and everyone else.
We also made it to a birthday party for Papito. Papito is like a father to the church-goers there - I won't say anymore, just post the photos and video here.
All that in 6 days, while recovering from a little bout of sickness and dodging the bats in my room - not so bad if you ask me! :)
And although it was hot, there's always ice cream.....
A Little English in Quito
I am currently in Quito, staying with the Franciscan sisters there while I wait to go to the Amazon. One of the sisters teachers English out of the house to kids, and I often join in when I'm there. This time I caught a brief video.
Going to the Amazon
Boston might be in the running for the Amazon company, but I'm in the running for the original Amazon. Tonight I'll be going to the airport to meet up with Jason Healy of the Family Missions Company, and we'll begin to head to Ahuano, on the Napo River in the Amazon basin in Ecuador. I'll spend about 5 days there before returning to Quito. Jason had lived there before as the FMC had a mission there a few years ago. They are restarting, and I'm going to accompany and check it out.
I fly back to Boston on January 27. Please keep me in prayer, and be assured of mine. My best wishes and prayers for you and your families.
I'll leave you with a new kids' band in Chontal, The Fish in the River, singing the Christmas carol ... The Fish in the River!