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Lenten Reflection: An Invitation to Forgive & to Love

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How magnificent is our Heavenly Father, inviting us to share in His divine mercy!  This Lenten season of the Jubilee Year of Mercy is a special time to celebrate and experience His mercy. How? By meditating on His word, to know how much He loves us; by receiving the sacrament of reconciliation so that we may have interior peace; by opening our hearts to those who live in suffering, rejecting the indifference that isolates us from our brothers and sisters in need.  Mercy invites us to forgive and to love without limits.  Let us begin this journey today – a journey that leads us to new life, and to a renewal of both mind and heart!  – Sister Eneida Euceda

 

Sister Eneida Euceda moved to the Finca in January, 2016, and is serving as the Coordinator of Family Life at Finca del Niño.  Sor Eneida knows the heart of the mission firsthand, as she was Vincent Pescatore{s spiritual director when he and Zulena lived at the Finca before his death in 1996.  

Redefining Community

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By: Bobby Alvarez

Bobby Alvarez has been serving as a Finca Missionary since Oct. 2014.  Bobby is one of two missionaries that returned to the Finca in Sept. 2015, after a security incident that took place outside of the Finca in May, 2015, affecting one of our missionaries and Executive Director.  


 

The Finca was in the middle of a blackout when I finally arrived in the early evening on September 3rd. It had been a long 18 hours of traveling for me, first a red-eye flight to San Pedro Sula followed by a seven hour drive across the northern coast of Honduras. Throughout most of the trip, I was in a continual state of surprise that I was actually coming back.

11692678_10155740376530223_6164118021629648637_nTwo months before, I was spending Fourth of July with my missionary community in Cable, Wisconsin. We were calling it a retreat to discern steps forward after the security incident in May, but it turned into a goodbye party as it quickly became apparent that no one was returning to the Finca. For me, the decision to stay in the states came down to needing a community to go back with me. Without one, I knew that there was no way I would be able to adequately give of myself at the Finca. In the few weeks after the retreat, I began a half-hearted job search, for the first time in my life caught without a clear idea of what to do next.

Then, mostly through the force of inertia––I don’t know if I ever said a firm, Yes, so much as a series of equivocating Yeah-but-I-need-to-think’s until I was buying a plane ticket––I was back at the Finca. Kevin, my lone community member and the linchpin to my agreement to return, came out of the blackout with a headlamp bobbing on his head. He had already been back for about ten days and was eating dinner is House 3 when I arrived. After exchanging greetings, we went into the house to unload my things.

Upon entering the house, the first thing I not20168627952_fb2b22a3b7_ziced were that the benches that we ate on were on top of the dining table. The lady who cleaned our house in our absence had put them there to better sweep the ground. And she did a good job at cleaning––the whole house was preternaturally clean, the surfaces clear and dusted, none of the clutter that ten people so easily accumulated when we were living there four months ago. We lit a candle to see better but its soft glow seemed to dissipate quickly with nothing to reflect off of in the unoccupied space. The house felt empty.

If you gave me the option to jump ship at some point in the following 72 hours, I probably would’ve taken you up on that. The loudness of my community’s absence made me deaf to anything else, including the community already beginning to form around me. Missionaries often talk about the three levels of community at the Finca: the missionary community, the wider Finca community, and the community of us and the villages around us. In the past few months, the wider Finca community has stepped into the void left by the departure of the missionaries.

A good example are our new Friday nights. In the past year, Friday nights were nights off, time for us missionaries to relax, play a game of Hearts or Catan, or perhaps sneak in an episode of Breaking Bad or The Office. For Kevin and I, Friday nights are now spent in House 4. With only two of us, we are on a rotating meal schedule, and House 4 happens to be our Friday night stop. After a meal of flour tortillas, beans, eggs, and mantequilla––now one of my favorite meals––we hang out. We’ve played countless games of chess, games of Risk, hide and seek, talked about American sports, argued over whether it would be better to be a Jedi or a superhero, and if it a superhero, which is the best one.

22704454267_a5a7d7987e_zI still reserve myself the right to look back nostalgically on my community from the past year, but a new community has formed for me here at the Finca. Starting with Kevin and going out, my community now includes our children, house parents, tías, and sors in more intimate ways than at any point in this past year. And that is something to be grateful for.


Allison, Marie and Melanie, photographed here with a Franciscan brother while studying in Antigua, Guatemala

Allison, Marie and Melanie, photographed here with a Franciscan brother while studying in Antigua, Guatemala

Update: On Dec. 22, 2015, the incoming missionary class arrived at the Finca!  We are so blessed to have Melanie, who will serve as a Kindergarten teacher, Allison, who is serving as a nurse at the Finca’s Sacred Heart Clinic, and Marie, who will be assisting in the Sacred Heart Clinic.  Bienvenidas!

 

Embracing Phase II at the Finca

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My name is Jennifer, and this year, I have graduated from 9th grade, together with Jose Daniel.  9th Grade has not been an easy year for me – especially in science!  This year, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about where I want to study for high school, and what I want to major in.  I’ve decided to move forward studying “Informatica”, which is “Computer Science”, and I will study at ITDES, which is “Instituto Técnico Departamental Espíritu del Siglo”.  I have lived at the Finca for 13 years.  Living at the Finca has been very good for me, because to me, the Finca has been like my second family.  Since I’ve graduated from 9th grade, I’ve now moved up to be part of “Phase 2” at the Finca.

Phase 2 is when a student like me moves up from “escuela” to “colegio”, and in “colegio” focuses on a specific degree before moving on to university.  My time in Phase 1 was very good, especially because I graduated with high grades.  My hope for the future is to graduate from college as one of the top of my class.  I hope to be the best that I can be for the Finca, because it is thanks to Finca del Niño and to our donors that I have been given an opportunity to graduate from 9thgrade and to pursue my career and future university studies.  Beginning Phase 2 is like taking a step closer to my life as an independent adult, and I will try to be a good example to the other children at the Finca!

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.

The Greatest Gift of All: Family

The Pescatore Family!

September 26, 2015, My Visit to Philadelphia to See Pope Francis

Dozens of brothers and sisters spent all night night near the Basilica of St. Peter & Paul to have the opportunity to see and hear the message from the first Latin American Pope, our most Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his address to families at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

My daughters Maria Montserrat, Pamela and I arrived in Philadelphia by train on Sept. 26th, which was a beautiful fall day. I was thanking God for the opportunity to be in this meeting of families but also because on this day, I was celebrating my 50th birthday. The city was full, full of so many  brothers and sisters from around the world. I could feel inside of me an immense joy, as I witnessed the faith and sacrifices of many young parents carrying their babies in their arms, holding the hand of their young children, alongside so many young people, elderly, sick in wheelchairs. all happy walkers not to mention the multitude of our religious sisters, brethren and priests!  The whole Church could be seen walking in the same direction to be at that meeting of families with the representative of Christ on earth, our Pope Francisco. What a blessing and great gift on this special day.

My mind and body were prepared to endure a long day, with little food and water, ready to stand in the same place for 13 hours through the duration of the entire day’s program. Bells started ringing and choirs sang out like angels ascending and descending in all directions in the middle of more than eight hundred thousand faithful. Joy lifted the soul in each of us there. The Pope approached, and we jumped up,waving our arms up in thanksgiving for his visit. In my own heart, I reflected on the joy that the crowd must have felt when they sought him out to hear him proclaim The Word on the mountain top. I settled with my daughters in our small area of cement – on that mountain to hear the message of AGAPE love of God proclaimed through the voice of Pope Francis.

I’m so grateful for the testimony that several families gave. Pope Francis responded, saying that true testimony leads us to God because God is truth. A living testimony dedicated to serving others is good because it comes from the love of God. A society grows strong, solid, beautiful and true if it is built on the foundation of the family.  Before creating the world, God loved us, and that love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit was so great that God gave us the greatest gift of all – the gift of FAMILY.  God created man and women, and entrusted all of creation to them, and told them to go grow; to go forth and to multiply.  All this, he gave to a family, through love.   The family is the most beautiful part of society but it also has its challenges, with struggles between couples, with children.

But if the problems are addressed and resolved through love, the struggles are good, whereas hatred and division never lead to anything good or pure. A family must never end there day in war, but rather make peace. The first couple, despite having made the mistake of turning away from the loe of God, were never abandoned by God.  In fact, God loved us so much that he chose to give us His only son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us.  God sent His son to a family, a family that opened their hearts and door to let the love of God into their lives.  The model par excellence of “The Holy Family”  Family life is worth the sacrifice. He asked that we take care of the children and grandparents, who are both the future of our society and those who taught us our faith through their example. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to answer this call to care for those brothers and children in need, because the harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. May God bless each of you!  Your families remain in our prayers.

In Christ,

Zulena Pescatore

Novena to Santa Teresita, Patron Saint of Missionaries

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A Blessed Feast of Santa Teresita, Patroness of Missionaries!!
“Time is but a shadow, a dream; already God sees us in glory and takes joy in our eternal beatitude. How this thought helps my soul! I understand then why He lets us suffer…” – St. Therese of Lisieux
Let us pray…
Dear Lord Jesus, I have specific requests that may only partially fill the infinite needs and desires that are in my heart. I ask that You answer me not only for those requests but also for a greater reliance on You to satisfy the needs and desires that You have given me.
Please grant the prayers of all those who prayed this novena with me. Bless them with Your love and make them holy!
May I seek You with a sincere heart knowing that it will profit me nothing if I gain the whole world yet lose my soul.
So, help me to see Your good and gracious purpose in all my trials. Help me to see Your blessings in every day and help me to love You more.
Thank You for everything, Lord Jesus!
Amen.

DAY 9
Sept 30,2015
neighborsSt. Thérèse, Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, we approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. we lay before you our desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant us according to this promise the favors we ask of you. Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession:

For the neighbors and surrounding community of the Finca, that they receive what they most need, and that they find peace and joy in knowing they are part of the Communion of Saints, and that we are one family, bound by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and the promise of eternal salvation.

O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.


DAY 8

Sept. 29, 2015

Nelsy7St. Thérèse, Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, we approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. we lay before you our desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant us according to this promise the favors we ask of you. Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession:

For our children’s sponsors, that through their giving of time, talent and treasure God will bless them in return.

O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.


DAY 7
Sept. 28, 2015
Picture 009St. Thérèse, Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, we approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. we lay before you our desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant us according to this promise the favors we ask of you. Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession:

For each of our children at the Finca, who may feel overwhelmed or discouraged in their studies, that through God’s grace they may turn any feelings of anxiety into accomplishment.

O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

DAY 6
Sept. 27, 2015
Alexis3St. Thérèse, Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, we approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. we lay before you our desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant us according to this promise the favors we ask of you. Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession:
For the teachers and staff of The Farm, that they be filled with God’s grace and wisdom so they can impart their gifts to our children both in the classroom and in daily life.
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

DAY 5
Sept. 26, 2015
11667375_10155740377405223_3986638708506856426_nSt. Thérèse, Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, we approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. we lay before you our desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant us according to this promise the favors we ask of you.  Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession:
For all Former Farm Missionaries, that Christ is ever present in their life in times of stability and in times of transition.
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

DAY 4
Sept. 25, 2015
S20182134481_8b5fa6e4ef_zt. Thérèse, Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, we approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. we lay before you our desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant us according to this promise the favors we ask of you.  Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession:
For the incoming missionaries, that in this time of preparation the Lord builds up in each of them a true love for the least among us, calms any fears and answers any uncertainties
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

DAY 3
Sept. 24, 2015
20168627952_fb2b22a3b7_zSt. Thérèse, Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, we approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. we lay before you our desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant us according to this promise the favors we ask of you.  Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession:
For the current missionaries serving at the Finca, that Christ blesses them with energy, passion and direction so they may be true witnesses of Christ to each of our children.
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

DAY 2
Sept. 23, 2015
franciscansistersSt. Thérèse, Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, we approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. we lay before you our desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant us according to this promise the favors we ask of you.  Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession:
For the Franciscan sisters who serve the children of the Finca, that they be renewed daily in an abundance of love for Christ so the can give of that love to our children, our neighbors, and to all who live, serve and visit the Finca.
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

DAY 1
Sept. 22, 2015
20108626082_fb47c97d30_kSt. Thérèse, Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, we approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. we lay before you our desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant us according to this promise the favors we ask of you.  Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession:
For each of the house parents at The Farm that they may be re-energized daily through serving our children, be strengthened in their own faith journeys and truly experience love and gratitude daily for all they do.
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

Bearing Witness to Community

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Walking out of the chapel on the morning of May 15th after my first Laudes at the Finca, two young girls tapped lightly on my arm.  “Do you like baleadas?” one asked?  “YES!  They’re deLICIOUS!” I responded.  “Do you have any kids?” the other asked, grinning.  “YES!  I have one son and three daughters.  And they speak Spanish, just like you!”  At that moment, they linked elbows with me, and led me to their house to join the other girls for a breakfast of baleadas and eggs. It was while we sat around that breakfast table, each of the girls with their hands clasped in prayer over the food that their tia had prepared, that I first felt what it means to be born into community.

In the weeks that followed, I walked the footsteps of Vincent Zulena, the Sors, missionaries, staff, and children that have called the Finca “home” over the span of the past nineteen years. I listened with my whole being, as Andrea McMerty-Brummer and Katherine King shared their favorite Farm stories with me, hoping and praying that I could imprint their memories into my heart until enough time had passed for me to have my own Farm stories. As I went to sleep each night, I asked Our Lord to help me to be present.  To bear witness.  I asked if he could slow down time so that I could take it all in.

It was during one of these beautiful conversations and walks with a Finca missionary, that Our Lord made His presence known, and reminded us that He is always with each and every one of His children, even in moments of darkness.  Midday on May 21st, we survived a violent assault and robbery while walking along the beach outside the Finca walls.

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I put my trust and have no fear, what power has human strength over me?” – Psalm 56:3

In the hours, days, weeks, months that followed this incident, the depth and wholeness of the Farm of the Child’s pillar of COMMUNITY has been imprinted on my heart. Each day, I bear witness to the countless hands within this community that ran toward the Finca in a time of need.

Together, we bear witness:

To the leadership of Ysmary, navigating the moments following the security incident with firmness and tenderness, and the transitions that continued in the months that followed, with endurance.
To the steadfastness of the house parents and Finca staff, who have banded together to care for the children and to walk alongside them when each child and adult felt the absence of the missionaries in the summer months.
To the brotherhood of the missionary community, as they rushed to protect, to comfort, to pray, to heal together and apart.  To the Former Finca Missionaries, who saw a need to serve, and answered that call, returning to the Finca.
To the Franciscan Sisters who lead the Finca community in prayer and thanksgiving for the mercy and strength that fills us when we rely on God’s goodness.
To the Friends of the Farm, who continue to support the Finca through prayer, almsgiving, and by donating their time and expertise to address the present needs of the Finca, and to look forward to the future blessings and fruits that are born through their sacrifice and service.
To the children and young men and women who call the Finca home, and have shown leadership in organizing quincenearas, celebrations and activities, and compassion and understanding in the departure and transitioning of missionaries in the summer months.

Bearing witness to the Farm of the Child community over the span of of these past four months reminds us that together, we are God’s hands, and He, the master builder – and that the community of the Finca is life-giving, and its mission is life-sustaining for all.

Tricia Pietravalle
Executive Director
Farm of the Child, USA

Applications available for the 2016 Missionary Class!

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Farm of the Child is now accepting applications for missionaries to begin service in July 2016 (fluency in Spanish is required) and August 2016 (general start date for Spanish language school in Antigua, Guatemala).  As of 2016, Farm of the Child welcomes missionaries to serve for 16 months and 28 months.

Please visit the Call for Missionaries tab to download important discernment materials and application forms. If you feel called to serve God’s most precious children in many various ministries including teaching, social work, administration, counseling, pastoral ministry, vocational training, and more, APPLY NOW!  Application deadline: January 31, 2016.

 

Missionary Application

Aplicación de Misioneros en Español

Reference Form

The Princess & The Frog

Nelsy with Yankel, the youngest child at the Finca

Child Spotlight:  Nelsy Sarai

It’s perhaps cliché to say, but most every young girl has envisioned her wedding day. Well, one thing I quickly learned at The Farm was that each of our girls hadn’t necessarily dreamt that far ahead. They could, however, each tell you their dreams for their 15th birthday or Quinceanera. Even though the younger girls tend to change their ideas as frequently as their moods, Nelsy consistently dreamed of a dress that would rival that of Princess Tiana of “The Princess and the Frog”. I was blessed to return to The Farm during her 15th birthday party and I can say she looked every bit the part.

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Nelsy with her Sponsors & Tia

Nelsy has been at The Farm for most of her life. I remember when I first arrived at The  Farm being told a bit of her story to explain why we may hear her refer to herself as Moses. A woman, whom she now lovingly calls her aunt, found her along a river and took her in before she was then brought to The Farm. From the very beginning it seems that through challenges God has truly molded her into the energetic, loving, loyal and persevering young woman she is today.

Even just in my 2 short years, I saw her grow from an insecure child whose struggles in school seemed to define her into a confident young woman who loved to share her talents and took pride in hard work in even the toughest classes. She may not love math, but she would beam from ear to ear telling you when she had done well. It was an honor to be there as she graduated 6th grade last year with her aunt there to dote on her.

Nelsy5Nelsy is also always there for you in the kitchen. Truly, I think her vocation in life is to be a baker. Not only has she perfected the art of making flour tortillas, she can make anyone’s day better with her doughnuts. I even took her “recipe” with me back home, but I have yet to venture making them because I know they just can’t be as good as the ones she makes.

The day of her 15th birthday I witnessed not only a princess donning a beautiful, flowing lime green dress, but also a poised young woman grateful to those who’ve been there for her over the years. Her gratitude to her sponsors, who came down to celebrate with her, and her love for her aunt radiated from her beautiful smile. It has been a true blessing to be a small part of her journey. I ask for your prayers for this young woman as she continues her studies and takes the next steps into adulthood.  – Kit Cross, Former Finca Missionary, 2012 – 2014

Letter from an Ordinary Teacher

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My Dear Students,

If only you knew why I am who I am; who made me this way.  The good you see in me, the ways I know how to serve you, well, most of it doesn’t come from me.

I wish you could know Darwin, who taught me that brilliance can be hidden behind terrible handwriting, and to look for it in all of its unexpected forms and disguises.

I wish you could meet Jenni, whose insistence on being challenged in the classroom taught me how to challenge you.

If only you could see that I am only patient because Joel taught me to be that way.  As patient as I was with him, he was a thousand times more patient with me.

I know when you are sad because Jerson taught me to look for it, to recognize it in the eyes of the carefree class-clown.

I never give a consequence that doesn’t include a conversation, because Melvin helped me learn that kids don’t always understand why adults don’t like the way they are acting.

Sometimes, when school Mass goes on and on, and you just can’t sit still for any longer, I let it go because Luz helped me understand that sometimes when our best effort falls short of a perfect result, it is still a victory.

I know that no matter what happens, I have to find a way for you to know that I am on your team, because only when I did just that, could Daniel learn in my classroom.  And I am forgiving, because he first forgave me for failing to be on his team for far too long.

I am certain that every single one of you is a good kid, even when you make big mistakes, because even in the face of my biggest doubts, Duncan showed me over and over again that I was wrong.

I am not afraid to let you know me, and give you the gift of my very self, because little Brittany taught me that who I am is a gift beyond anything I can say or do.   And when I didn’t believe it, she reminded me over and over with cards, and flowers, and hugs, and even lending me her few precious toys, until I could no longer doubt my own value and goodness.

I know how to love you, because of 50 children in Honduras, who taught me how.

I hope that in the way I treat you, you can catch a glimpse of the incredible people they are, and know and love them, by knowing and loving me.

Most Sincerely,

A Former Finca Teacher