Monthly Archives: January 2018

MKLM in Bolivia

“We work, however, in the marginalized communities of Tacopaya and Entre Rios with children who suffer from the double challenges of disabilities and economic poverty. For these children of God, Advent can be a time of continued, not so hopeful waiting for an opportunity. We established the Maryknoll Lay Missioner Project Justicia Social—utilizing the community based rehabilitation methodology—to give them an opportunity.

Jhon Alex has a beautiful smile and a contagious laugh. At his eight years, however, he has yet to walk or talk. He has the weight of a 4-year-old. He suffers from poor nutrition due to his inability to eat solid foods. Brain damage will significantly impair his development. Doña Benita, his mother, supports a family of five on her own washing clothes for her neighbors. Her husband is an alcoholic. Doña Benita loves her son very much. She and Jhon Alex travel six hours by bus to arrive in the City of Cochabamba, get in a line of over 100 persons at 6:00 a.m., and patiently wait many hours for a walk-in-only appointment. Jhon Alex will need constant medical examinations, nutritional supplements, physical therapy and individualized attention so he can become semi-independent. We provide this.

genovevaGenoveva and Octavio are siblings who love to draw and help out with their farm chores. They greatly enjoy school. Genoveva and Octavio, however, cannot hear their teachers, nor the birds, nor the conversations of their classmates. They have severe hearing impairments. Not one teacher in their school understands sign language. We are teaching them, their mother, teachers and classmates sign language. Our dream is that they all learn sign language and we will also find the funds to have them tested to see if hearing aids would be beneficial. Their father tragically died two months ago.

javierWe met Javier a few months ago when we heard from concerned community members that a young boy had an irregular eye—swollen so large that in their words, “it might fall out!” An examination revealed that Javier could not see anything with the “swollen” eye; yet his parents held out hope that his vision could be restored. After coordinating an examination by a pediatric eye surgeon, we discovered that he had a contagious eye disease that permanently caused blindness in the bad eye and without surgical removal would spread to his good eye. Javier and his subsistence-farming parents were skeptical. We visited his community leaders and had them explain with us in Quechua the risks of non-surgery. Our patience and persistence paid off. Javier now has a glass eye and is learning to adjust.”

You can open help us continue to open doors for children like Jhon Alex, Genoveva, Octavio and Javier. With your help, our intervention in their childhoods will produce positive results later on for them as adults.

MKLM thanks you for your continued support!

Meet a Missioner – Mike Garr – Kenya – Class of 2017

Maryknoll Lay Missioners (MKLM) congratulates new Missioner Mike Garr – Class of 2017 – as he heads off to work alongside the people of Kenya.

Meet A Missioner – Mike Garr – Kenya – Class of 2017

Today, we continue our #MeetaMissionerMonday series by introducing one of our newest missioners, Mike Garr. Mike is a parishioner at St. Michaels in Grand Ledge, MI, in the Diocese of Lansing. He was part of the Just Faith program at St. Michaels. He attended Central Michigan University in Mt Pleasant, MI and Hudson High School in Hudson, MI. He received his Culinary Apprentice Certificate from Greenbrier Culinary Program and worked as a chef and Customer Development Specialist for Gordon Food Services for 30 years. He has previously led retreats for Catholic singles and volunteers at a homeless shelter. He has also been on mission trips to Guatemala, Colombia and Belize. He has three adult children and twin granddaughters.

Mike retired from Gordon Food Services the week before starting the MKLM orientation program in October 2017. He began discerning about three years ago, after having taken an online survey with Catholic Charities. He would spend an hour a week in the chapel and writing in his journal. He was often unsure of what do with his future. One day, MKLM came to his head, having previously heard Maryknoll priest Father Brian Barrons speak at his church. A sense of peace came over him and it was then that he worked with Father Brian to fill out the application in October of 2016. Doubt began to creep back in as he went through the selection process. But finally, he decided that God was telling him what to do and he did not want to say no to the opportunity.

He feels Kenya is the best fit for him and hopes to help the people in a couple of areas. After completing language school, he hopes to get involved with Project HOPE (Helping Orphans Pursue Education). This international health education and humanitarian assistance organization works to help children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. He also hopes to work with street children in Kenya and possibly participate in prison ministry.

Please join us in praying for Mike as he begins this meaningful chapter in his life. We hope that you wish him well and support him in his endeavors. Please share Mike’s story and Maryknoll Lay Missioner with others, especially committed Catholics who may be discerning God’s call to serve.

CLICK HERE or below to view his interview.

CLICK HERE to view his video blog on prayer called “Take Ten”

Take Ten with Mike Garr – Kenya – Class of 2017

Mike Garr talks about how important it is to “Take Ten” to pray.

MKLM – #NationalComplimentDay

To all of our inspiring missioners & dedicated supporters:
#thankyou #nationalcomplimentday

MKLM – Feast of St. Francis de Sales

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of authors, deafness, journalists, and writers. It coincides with the release of the Pope’s message of World Day of Communications in which he invites everyone to promote a journalism of peace.

“Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion.
Help us to remove the venom from our judgements.
Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters.
You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world:
where there is shouting, let us practise listening;
where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;
where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;
where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;
where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety;
where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions;
where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;
where there is hostility, let us bring respect;
where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.

#WorldCommunicationsDay #WorldDayofCommunications #PopeFrancis

MKLM Celebrates Henri Nouwen

henri-IG2Resistance is a loaded word these days and it seems we are all constantly being pulled to lobby, call, or donate for one cause or another. Today on Henri Nouwen’s birthday, let us pay respect to a great man of mission and work in community to build a more just and compassionate world.

MKLM in Tanzania

Today we share the great work being done by Maryknoll Lay Missioners at the Uzima Centre in Tanzania. MKLM thanks you for your continued support of our missioners in Tanzania!

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Giving Tuesday

Update from Joanne Miya – Tanzania – December 2017

CHRISTINA TANZANIA“As the year comes to a close, I am grateful for all that we have been able to accomplish at Uzima Centre. Many people have come and gone, but there are a few whom I have known since I became the director in 2006, and one of those is Christina (pictured here). For the past four months, she has been fighting a litany of secondary infections. Severe diarrhea left her too weak to get out of bed. Since HIV weakens the immune system, all it takes is one serious infection to render the body susceptible to additional infections. A sore appeared on one of her fingers and soon her entire hand was swollen. Then she developed problems with her feet. Sitting, standing, and walking were all painful. Christina was no longer able to care for herself. Eventually her younger sister took her in. Now Christina is up and about. She brought me a small clay cooking pot that she made as a gift to thank me for helping with her medical bills. Christina’s only income is from the sale of her clay pots. It is a gift I will cherish.

Kazimiri and NyasumaOur Saturday program for orphans and vulnerable children continues to be popular. Occasionally we register multiple children from one family. It’s great to see the way the older siblings look after the younger ones. Pictured are brother and sister: Kazimiri (1st grade) and Nyasuma (3rd grade). Their father died of cancer, leaving their mother, Stella, to raise the five children. Unable to afford rent, the family stays in houses that are only partially constructed. Since private homes are constructed over the course of several years, owners often allow families like Stella’s to stay rent free to prevent vandalism. Once the owner has the money to continue with the construction, Stella must look for another unfinished house to occupy. Most often, the “house” has the walls up and the roof on. One room might have a door. There are no windows, plumbing or electricity. Basically, they have a “roof over their heads”; that is about all. I think that Mary, who gave birth to the Prince of Peace in a stable, would understand what Stella experiences daily.

To support her children, Stella crushes rocks into gravel, which she sells by the bucket, earning her around $60 a month. To supplement this, she also takes in laundry, which she washes by hand. I cannot imagine how exhausted she is by the end of the day. To help
Kazimiri and Nyasuma stay healthy and in school, we provide school supplies, medical care and four kilos of beans a month. It’s not enough, but it helps stretch what Stella earns just a bit further.

At Uzima Centre we see many people who are facing what seem like insurmountable odds. Hard work is key but in a country where opportunities are few and far between, hard work alone does not guarantee even a modest lifestyle. The suffering that some people endure for the little they earn is a huge injustice. The question of a “living wage” impacts people the world over. One can only imagine how precious every cent is to those who work so hard. It is a constant reminder that so much of what I have is because of where I was born and the opportunities I was given.

This Christmas, may we all stop and thank God for our many blessings. May we remember those who toil and still go hungry, those who may or may not have a roof over their heads, and those who continue to dream in spite of it all. Saint Teresa of Calcutta believed that, “Together we can do something beautiful for God.” Together we have accomplished so much and I know that together we will do even more. Know that your prayers and support, both for Uzima Centre and Maryknoll Lay Missioners, have rippled out, changing the lives of people around the world, people like Christina, Stella, Kazimiri and Nyasuma. May we each, in our own way, help to create a more just and compassionate world. God bless you and your loved ones this Christmas season and in the coming new year.”

Meet A Missioner – Margarita Duran – Brazil – Class of 2017

Maryknoll Lay Missioners (MKLM) is proud to welcome new Missioner Margarita Duran -Class of 2017 – as she works alongside the people of Brazil.

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