Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A safe home...

Below is an excerpt from a blog post by Fr. Christian Mathis, Chaplain at East Tennessee State University, reflecting on his experience visiting the NPH homes in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

My experience with NPH has shown me that despite the fact that the majority of orphaned and abandoned children in these countries continue to live on the streets, there is something that is being done for the ones who are fortunate enough to find their way to these houses where they are cared for. One such example is a young man described to us by Fr. Ron. This pequeño began his life abandoned by his mother to die in a heap of garbage in El Salvador. Fortunately he was found by the man who worked at the dump who adopted him and cared for him as his own child. He grew up only to meet with tragedy once again when his foster father was later shot and killed in their home. Finding himself alone once more, he got a job riding on a banana truck, hired to guard the produce as the truck made its daily deliveries. Eventually he was lucky enough to be taken in to the NPH house in El Salvador. There he was given a safe home where he received food, shelter and education. He finished high school and college and has plans to attend medical school.

Read the full post on Fr. Christian's blog here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

This whole 'mom' thing is no easy feat! But boy, is it rewarding...

Below is a reflection from Gina Reis who has volunteered at NPH Mexico. Thank you to Gina and ALL our volunteers for your support!
What a difference a few months can make; from living with one roommate in a quaint yet comfortable apartment in Minneapolis, to sharing simple living quarters with ten others in a small town in central Mexico. From eating a variety of different types of cuisine to a steady diet of beans, rice, and tortillas. From working as a video editor, spending a steady 40 hours a week alone in a dark, chilly editing suite, to working roughly 70 hours a week as a caregiver to 32 girls, constantly surrounded by children at every point in my day.

I started my yearlong adventure as a caregiver at Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos, an orphanage in Miacatlan, Mexico, in the beginning of January, completely excited for this new experience and yet utterly terrified for this complete change ahead of me. As a caregiver, I help watch over a section of 32 girls, ages 9 to 12. I wake them up in the morning, serve them food, help with homework, check chores, teach English...so I guess you could say I am like a mom to these girls!
One of my girls took me aside this past May to wish me a happy Mother's Day - saying that she was thankful for all that I do for her and that she loved me so much. She also sang me "Las Mañanitas", the traditional tune they sing here on birthdays and special celebrations. This kind gesture, along with a dinner planned by the male employees of the house AND a special program put on by the kids, really had me stop and realize just what it is I really do here at the home. Yes, I am here to help with homework and check chores, but as a volunteer here my main job is to give love to the girls - let them know they are appreciated and special, and to be that loving mother figure that many of them do not have. 

My life has done a 180 since moving here to NPH. The food isn't the same and the culture is different in so many ways, but what has changed the most is who I center my life around. It's no longer about me; what am I going to do today? What do I need? No. Now, my life is completely centered around my girls. I've had some of the best days of my life here, and some of the most challenging ones. This whole 'mom' thing is no easy feat! But boy, is it rewarding. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Life and Love

Below is a beautiful reflection from Ed and Wanda Sweeney, long-time parishioners and NPH supporters.

The massive front doors to the hacienda in Miacatlan opened, and we were greeted by 20-30 bubbly young children and welcomed to their home - Fr Wasson's Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos home, for over 800 orphaned children. Their smiles were so full of happiness, their faces so full of life - we were immediately struck by the joy and love that lived in this special place.

It was early December of 1992, so that afternoon we were treated to the traditional Posada, the re-enactment of Joseph & Mary's search for lodging in Bethlehem and afterwards we celebrated with the breaking of a pinata. One has to be impressed by this wonderful facility - its dorm rooms, the chapel, the fish farm, the tortilla "factory" and kids everywhere supporting and caring for each other, studying, working, cavorting as kids do. They marveled at my Polaroid camera and 15mm videocam - I had my own film crew!!

We have since served as "godparents" for several of the children and returned again years later to visit them. Some have grown up and one has gone on to the University in Monterey. Fr Wasson has provided life and love for these children. In fact, that best describes NPH - "life and love". It's one of those "you have to experience it" places!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Duluth Tribune Covers Graduation of NPH Mexico Pequeno in Minnesota!

Below is an amazing story from Larry and JoAnn Lawinger who have been sponsoring Zetina, from NPH Mexico for many years, and for the past 7 years Zetina has lived in Minnesota with them while at school pursuing his nursing degree! He just graduated from St. Scholastic in Duluth, MN, and the Lawingers were beyond excited to share in celebrating with their godson.  
JoAnn and I wanted to tell you how proud Zetina made us at his graduation last week!! He has become a fine young man - all on his own.  

The school invited the Duluth Tribune to come in and do a story on Zetina, and we were asked to come and sit in on it. How he answered the questions posed to him with such care and compassion for the home literally brought tears to my eyes. The love he feels for the kids at NPH and for all those who help to take care of everyone there was just heartwarming. He has  grown from that young child (7 years ago when he first arrived to Minnesota) into a fine young man any parent would be proud to call “son”!

Both JoAnn and I are so proud of him. His outlook on life is so mature and inspiring. I should tell you that the paper was so impressed with him – that the article was moved to the top center on the front page. We are so grateful for the wonderful past 7 years with Zetina. You have no idea how hard it is going to be to put him on that plane ride back home in a few weeks!!

Read the full article here.