Busy doing His Work in Africa
GREETINGS FROM NYAGRIBE! That’s where home is for me these days. I had hoped to get a note off to you before now . . . but somehow life seems to control me rather than the other way around. I am missing my chief organizer, assistant, director of operations, head cook, best friend, and of course, the love of my life. You see, I am living here without Marty! How can that be, you say? Let me simply say – she has important things to attend to back in Colorado (grandchildren, etc.) and I am left with the lonely life of a bachelor deacon.
NOVEMBER 20, 1965 Marty and I were married which means that we are celebrating our 50th Anniversary on different continents. We promise to make up for it one day in the near future. We plan to spend the early months of 2016 together here in Africa.
BLESSING THE CHILDREN It’s a tradition here in this part of Africa. Recall that this mega-parish of St. Michael Kadem has 46 individual Catholic churches. With only one priest (and one deacon) we are stretched about as thin as you could imagine. Not all churches have a school, but many do, and it is a tradition at this time of year to go to each school to bless the children. The blessing service takes about two hours.The real time consuming part is just traveling there. I’m doing one each day which leaves me looking forward to Saturday – my only day off.
There were 320 children today and I asked them a simple question . . . “How many of you had breakfast today?” I am uncomfortable with the level of hunger around here but did not expect the response. Most of them! I wish that I hadn’t asked. Pursuing the matter further I learned that most of them only had one meal a day and that could consist of a single bowl of grain boiled in water. “Let the children come to me” Mark 10:14
JADOUM DEEKON I have achieved a new level of recognition here. The people around now call me ‘Jadoum Deekon”, roughly translated it means “old man deacon” and is a sign of respect. Hey, I worked long and hard for this, and I can honestly tell you that I thank God every day for the blessings of serving His church here.
WHY do I live here in Africa in a area with no running water, no electricity, living in a grass hut (a nice one) ?
Not so much the beauty, the climate (are you shoveling snow yet?) and simplicity of life. Mostly it is the beauty of the people and what they have taught me about the things in life that are really important. The Church here has allowed me to be a part of them – and that is a beautiful thing .
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