A Finca Revival

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By: Kevin Mader

Kevin Mader served as a missionary at the Finca from Oct. 2012 – Dec. 2014.  In Aug. 2015, he answered a renewed call to serve at the Finca during a time of great need, postponing post-graduate studies until August, 2016.

During the first weekend in November, a group of seven young adults came to the Finca from Juticalpa, Olancho. They arrived on a Friday in the mid-afternoon and set up shop in the library. Their mission: to ex22499506154_b73e58f6da_zcite all of our teenagers (jovenes) in their Catholic faith. As someone who knows our oldest boys, I wished them the best of luck, but gave them no chance, because in case you’ve never been a teenage boy, it can be quite uncool to show excitement about your Catholic faith.

However, it turns out these twenty-something Hondurans were pretty good at what they do. Beto and I were rather peripherally involved in the retreat, staying behind the scenes, but whatever it was that did happen, it must’ve been done well. Sure, by Tuesday of the following week most of the House 5 boys were back to not singing during morning prayer. You’ve got me there. But you should have seen what they looked like on Saturday. While I watched from a distance, the sixteen Finca retreatants led a wide variety of Catholic cheers and songs with little to no direction from the retreat leaders. At one point, completely unprompted, the boys began to serenade the girls with a song. This, mind you, is not a typical moment for our jovenes. Never during my three years here have I seen that much joy.

You’re thinking a few things right now. First, wow, those house 5 boys sound like they are generally Debbie Downers. Second, well that was a cool weekend, but it sounds like it didn’t stick. To address both, first, sure, they can at times be Debbie Downers. However, if you had put even two copies of me in the same house together when I was 15… well, let’s just be glad you didn’t. Second, I think it is too early to say, “I beg to differ,” but signs of sticking seem to abound. On the following Wednesday, in the usually low-key catechesis evening activities, our teenagers successfully established the Holy Family Youth Group (Grupo Juvenil de la Sagrada Familia). They’ve developed a concept and color scheme for t-shirts (pink) and they’re hoping to be able to occasionally combine groups with Trujillo’s Grupo Juvenil.

I could continue to list more evidence, but I think more importantly, there’s also somehow a difference in how it feels to hang out with our jovenes. People are suddenly more comfortable talking about faith, God, humility, and growth. An evening spent in the house is generally calmer, involving more fun and less arguing. For some of the kids, there may have even been something cathartic about the weekend.

However, real life is much harder than a retreat. In the weeks to come, let us pray that this small seed of adult faith, this image of the joy of the Gospel, can take root and continue to grow in our jovenes, despite their daily challenges. These kids are excellent soil. Help us to accompany them on the journey and to water where we may. Your grace is enough.

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