To all readers of the Living Monstrance blog, I hope this note finds you well at the beginning of summer in the States. Here in Ecuador we just celebrated the Día del Niño (Kids’ Day!), which is every June 1. It happened to fall on the Sunday of the Ascension this year, so the kids got some extra attention! It’s also the waning days of one of the most dangerous rainy seasons here.
I always wish I could contact everyone personally, but it’s practically impossible! But I hope to share with you an update on what is happening in Chontal, where landslides caused a national disaster on the eve of Mother’s Day.
I’ve been in contact with some of the people most affected. Although everyone is physically OK, those who have lost homes have been staying temporarily with relatives. Of the rest, everyone is remaining in their homes, even at the foot of the mountain, as they nervously await this ending of the rainy season. There are not many options for them yet.
The villagers are moving up their annual fiestas to the days of June 20-21, in order to come together and offer some emotional and financial support for those who are most affected. I am planning on coming to stay with them that week (I’m currently about 5 hours away by bus!). I’m hoping to bring a gift of spiritual and financial support for the community. An act of solidarity from us in the States, combined with the local efforts, can together make a huge difference in the life of the community! Especially among Christians, it gives a testimony to the strength of the love of Jesus, a love that can draw the wealthy and poor in different hemispheres to become brothers and sisters, sharing the same Father and Mother.
I’m aiming to coordinate with the local priest and political officials to bring spiritual support through the Divine Mercy devotion, as well as financial support through the GoFundMe fundraiser I’ve been doing.
If you pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy, I would be grateful if you could keep all of us in your prayers. Of course, all prayer is welcome!
As for the GoFundMe fundraiser, a big thank you to everyone who has donated so far – we are almost up to 60% of the $10K goal. If you have not had the opportunity to give yet, please, please consider it. And please consider sharing the link. This is a huge help!
I hope to have a list of donors along with the money prepared to bring by June 20, to present to the community during the fiestas. I’m hoping to capture the response of the people as best I can (hey, I’m just one guy with a camera!) and convey it back afterward. So I am hoping to have all donations by June 20. Donations given afterward will be gratefully accepted, but not a part of the presentation at the fiestas.
There is an expression used among the poor here in Ecuador, to express gratitude for what cannot be repaid. It goes, ¡Dios le pague! It means, May God repay you! And so, for your consideration and friendship and support, I leave with for now with a big ¡DIOS LE PAGUE!
Blessed is he who considers the poor! God delivers him in times of trouble; God protects him and keeps him alive, he is called blessed. God sustains him on his sickbed, in his illness He heals all his infirmities. (Psalm 41)