A Little Change

Just finished a nice visit to Cochabamba to give retreat to the Daughters of Charity. It’s always delightful to be with them. I also took some time to do Vincentian Family work, getting ready for our national assembly in April.

Just got home, and thought I’d write.

Posted in Bolivia | 1 Comment

End of Another Year

mmpro1There’s always a lot of activity at the end of the year. Added to that, it’s the end of the academic year here, too. This year Diego was “godfather” to the kindergarten in Mocomoco, so we went to enjoy their graduation day! We’ve been involved more intensively with education, formation and catechesis this year. It involves a distinct shift in priorities, dedicating much time to specific communities.

Decorating the space...

Decorating the space…

The community that is receiving the most investment of resources and human capital is Ingas. This is our third year of dedication, and it’s really bearing fruit. You remember Ingas — some of you donated to the performance space, which this year’s graduation class is improving upon. Others donated to the formation center and the computer lab. It’s all having a distinct impact.

Cooperative learning...

Cooperative learning…

We’ve been teaching reading and comprehension, study skills, and computers. Next year, the government will provide each student with a small notebook computer that has both Linux (Debian 7.5 — hooray!) and Windows 8.1 (boooo!) and the students of the upper three grades of high school are now prepared to take advantage of these new tools. With your donations, we created a mobile computer and teaching lab, with wireless connection and a projector, all of which can operate on battery if necessary. More photos here…

Missionaries in the making...

Missionaries in the making…

What’s more, Juvenal and I have begun an initiative in a community of the Altiplano called Ilave. There, we’ve begun classes on human values, embedded in a catecumenal model of formation. For those of you who don’t know, the catechumenal model emphasizes the individual faith journey and is not ultimately oriented to the sacraments. Rather, it is oriented toward a committed Catholic Christian life, using the sacraments and other liturgical celebrations as “rites of passage.” Most of the children are unbaptized or baptized in infancy with no cactechesis. So, slowly but surely, we hope to form a group of young “missionaries” who will engage their peers, visiting nearby communities with us. The group of about 30 young people now proudly wear their tee-shirts that say “Nayrar Sarapxañani” (Forward Together) and their Miraculous Medal, which is becoming the new symbol of Vincentian evangelization in a culture with great devotion to the Mother of Jesus. Here are a few more photos.

Our newest missionary!

Our newest missionary!

One of my most delightful days was the baptism of Beatriz, one of our young friends from Ingas. She’s a lovely, quiet child, and never fails to show up for catechism or other activities. The day was a joy-filled one, as our hope is that all of these kids will come to know Jesus as a friend, and will accept their call as missionaries to their friends, families, and neighbors. Your donations, prayers and love make all of this possible. Please remember us in a special way as we wind up my fifth year here!

A short pause in legal studies!

A short pause in legal studies!

Finally, I’m happy to announce that Claudia Jimenez will graduate with her law degree this year. It’s been a struggle for her, not so much academically, as humanly. Suffice it to say that there are many barriers to success that a young person form our zone has to cross. But she’s done it! And it looks like she and Ramiro (one of our graduates who now works ith us here) are an item! Merry Christmas!

Posted in Aymara, Bolivia, VinFam | 2 Comments

New Autos!

Cyrille with the "jeep"

Cyrille with the “jeep”

After much work, haggling with customs and other things, we have two new autos. Thanks to your donations, the Adveniat Foundation, and the Vincentian Solidarity Office, we were able to purchase two new Toyota Land Cruisers (model 2013, but with O miles): one for Cyrille in Italaque and the other for Diego in Mocomoco. As you might remember, Cyrille’s vehicle was stolen earlier in the year, and Diego’s Toyota 4Runner was on its last legs. They now can do their work in safety, and with much better range on a tank of gas.

Diego with the "wagon"

Diego with the “wagon”

The Kickstarter campaign was a bust, but thank you to all those who shifted their donations to our direct donation page to fulfill a pledge! We’re heading toward our goal. The exterior work is almost complete, and now we’re just waiting for funds to renovate the interior and the tower! Help us if you can! There are “before and after” photos of the work in progress on the “Save our Church” page. I’ll post a few more pictures when it stops raining!

Posted in Bolivia | 2 Comments