Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"Padre Tortilla" Makes Special Contribution to NPH Honduras

For more than 15 years, Fr. Ken Hume (affectionately known as “Padre Tortilla”) has been making NPH Honduras his second home, spending several weeks every year living at Rancho Santa Fe and building strong friendships with many of our staff, volunteers, and pequeños in Honduras.  Fr. Ken first met Fr. William Wasson, the founder of NPH, more than 50 years ago.  Since then he has served in the U.S. Navy, become a Catholic priest, and served in many communities around the world, including his current home of Oregon City, OR.  But it is at NPH Honduras that Fr. Ken has found true inspiration, happiness, and family.
Fr. Ken first became a godparent to Marta, an NPH Honduras pequeña, 13 years ago.  Since then he has supported Marta all the way through medical school and become a child sponsor to 17 other children in Honduras!  Through the years, “Padre Tortilla” has watched many of our students grow up, and although he doesn’t speak Spanish, the children flock to his humor and attention, making it clear that Fr. Ken is part of the family.  His mantra is “people with a good heart speak the same language,” and you can tell that Fr. Ken is as proud of the children he sponsors as if they were his own grandchildren. 
In addition to the children he sponsors, Fr. Ken helps out at the Ranch saying Mass, presiding over baptisms, and helping in the kitchen during mealtimes.  His support has also grown over the years to help NPH with many important projects, such as solar water-heaters, lockers, and printing.  Over the years Fr. Ken has generously donated more than $375,000 to NPH Honduras – an unbelievable commitment that has had a deep impact on the lives of our children there. 
Most recently, Fr. Ken decided to make a special contribution of $25,000 to NPH Honduras in honor of NPH President Reinhart Koehler.  Fr. Ken shared that he has been so moved by Reinhart’s total dedication to the children of NPH and his leadership in Honduras and beyond through the years.  He told us, “I just want Reinhart to know how much I appreciate his devotion, and I hope everyone in the NPH family will join me in appreciating Reinhart’s impact and contributions.”  Fr. Ken’s gift will go to support three programs that are important to Reinhart and the Ranch: 1) Casa Eva, the home for the elderly at NPH Honduras; 2) the Hermanos Mayores program, which sustains connections with, and supports our older brothers and sisters (NPH graduates); and 3) Education at the Ranch, especially the vocational workshops, which always need funding.  After learning of the gift, Reinhart shared, “I am very honored and humbled by this gift, and by Fr. Ken’s generosity over the years.  We are so lucky to have him as a friend and part of the NPH family.”
We were excited to welcome Fr. Ken and his sister to Seattle a few weeks ago, as he was able to concelebrate the graduation Mass for our Seattle Leadership Institute students and see several of the students from NPH Honduras with whom he has built lasting friendships.  Padre Tortilla, we are so grateful for your unfaltering support and unconditional love and service to NPH and our children!

Monday, July 13, 2015

It was hard for me to fathom how so much compassion and humility could fit inside such small bodies...

Below is a blog post written by Upper Midwest Associate Board Member Katie Lawler.

Silvia told me that earlier in the day, every few hours Claude would ask her how long it would be until we got to Kenscoff.  When she and I were walking out of the hospital with him, she had to tell him three times to slow down so that we could keep up. His excitement was palpable, and it was a happy ride out of the heat of Tabarre and up into the fresh air of the mountains.

Arriving to find a home of twenty running shouting little boys was a rude awakening, however. Overwhelmed by the disorder, he shrank back in apprehension and pressed himself into us as if trying to disappear. When Silvia and I took him to the clinic to get his medications organized with the nurse, he fell apart completely and melted into my lap, crying in despair. The next day, I could see the salt marks from his tears on my black skirt. We tried our best to distract and console him, but it was no use - his shrieks when they finally peeled him away from us were heart-wrenching.
Later that night when the younger boys were getting ready for bed, we went back to check on him. He was calm, subdued. When his caretaker told him that it was time to bathe and put on his pajamas, he stood motionless, small head hanging, and frail shoulders hunched. I was about to move to help him start undressing when I saw another little boy already in motion. He knelt down in front of Claude and started patiently taking off his shoes. When he got down to the socks, he folded each one neatly and placed it inside the shoe. When Claude got back from the shower and stood shivering in front of his bed, a second little boy arrived with a towel and gently patted Claude dry.  He then helped Claude put on his new pajamas, taking care to button each button and to straighten Claude's collar when he was done.

I stood frozen, speechless, and was hard for me to fathom how so much compassion and humility could fit inside such small bodies. To me, this is a testament to the fact that this is a home where love is.

Monday, July 6, 2015

NPH has given me more than I can ever "repay"!

Below is a reflection written by Upper Midwest Associate Board member Kyra Knoff. 

It's been almost a year since I returned from a year of volunteering at the NPH Guatemala home. Even though I don't live at the home any more, I am still active with NPH: I sponsor a child, volunteer in the office, and am on the Associate Board of the Upper Midwest Region. 

There are a lot of reasons that people get involved with NPH in the first place. Ultimately though, I believe that everyone's heart is in it for the kids of NPH, whether someone has a personal connection with a child or just hears their stories from afar. I recently re-read the testimonial that I wrote before leaving Guatemala and found a piece that I wrote about my section of boys. It's a reminder to me of what makes NPH exactly what it is.

"...I accompanied a section of 13 boys ages 9-12. At first, I could hardly tell them apart, but they soon became dear to me - I learned their quirks, favorite foods and games, and how to make each one laugh. These were the boys I sat next to every Sunday at mass. They’re the ones who never failed to prolong bedtime by giving me hug after hug and insisting on pillow talk. They ate up my scary 'brains' (aka cold spaghetti) within the first 10 minutes of the haunted house we volunteers put on for Halloween. They’re the boys who wrestled me, purposefully messing up my hair so I’d have to walk all the way home looking like I don’t own a comb. It’s them who begged me to teach them how to make s’mores, knot friendship bracelets, and play Crazy 8's. They’re the boys that captured my heart this year, and they are the ones who make it so hard to say goodbye."

NPH has given me more than I can ever "repay"!