Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CHS '84 Benefit Lunch for Amatongas

The Catholic High class of 1984 gathered at DeAngelo's on Lee Drive in Baton Rouge for a benefit lunch to support our new project in Amatongas, Mozambique. It was great to see some men I haven't seen since graduation. The support is incredible and I am truly humbled by the response from my classmates. Thanks to all who came and to those who could not make it today, but offered support anyway. It looks like this will not be the last time we get together. Stay tuned for our next lunch. God Bless

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who's Going?

Many people have asked me about the other brothers going to Amatongas. I have included below the announcement message from our Superior General.

At its meeting of June 10, 2010, the superior general in council, after having received the approbation of their respective superiors, named four Brothers to the first missionary team that will go to Amatongas, Mozambique. Those selected are Brothers Luc Favreau (Pictured above on Left) of the province of Brazil; Ángel Monge Ormaechea (next picture), Spain-Peru;
Fabian Jongwe (next picture), Eastern and Southern Africa;and Chris Sweeney (Above Right), New Orleans. These Brothers will establish a general secondary school and a technical school, which will include a residency department.

If all goes according to plan, Brothers Luc, Ángel, and Chris will arrive in Amatongas at the start of February 2011. Brother Fabian, who will pronounce his perpetual vows this summer and who will complete his degree program at Tangaza College in Nairobi next May, will join the others in Amatongas in May or June 2011.

We congratulate these Brothers on having been selected. We will accompany them in prayer so that their ministry among the young people of Mozambique will be fruitful.

The superior general in council thanks the twenty-two Brothers who volunteered to be part of this first team and hopes that every Brother in the Institute, with enthusiasm and fervor, will keep this endeavor in Amatongas in their prayers.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rosetta, Smokies, and Brazil

It is a week before I travel to Brazil to take classes in Portuguese. I will be staying with our Brothers in Marilia until the middle of December. Thanks to all who have offered support through prayers and resources. Though I don't know exactly the specific needs in Amatongas just yet, you can be sure they will be great. From day one we will be putting up a new roof, repairing electrical and plumbing infrastructure and such, as well as preparing the school with desks, beds and many other needs. I have included at the bottom of this blog where to send donations for those who would like to help, just make sure to include "Amatongas Mission" in the notes section.

I have been using Rosetta Stone for a little over a month. Many people have seen the advertisements all over the place and have asked me about my experience. As you may know Rosetta Stone is very expensive, but is worth the cost. It's as close to immersion as you can get. However, I think you need to spend 2-3 hours a day for it to be effective and some days I have spent the time, but many others I have not. Also, there is no translation at all in the program, so I went out and bought a good dictionary. It was just so frustrating at times not picking up the word. I think I at least have a good head start.

Finally, last week I went camping and hiking in the Smoky Mountains with Br. Frank Fleming. We went to Cataloochee Valley, a rather remote area of the park where many people don't go. The temperatures were cool and the beauty of the place was awesome. The highlight though was the experience of seeing many Elk which were reintroduced to the park in 2001. The time in the valley reminded me of the beauty and grandness of God's creation, something I often take for granted. Please enjoy the picture of the buck below, and yes we got this close.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How long will you be there?

If there is one question I get asked at least once a day it's this one, "How long are you going to be there?" It's a natural question I suppose, but as I think about it, why is everyone so fixated on this?

What's really strange is I keep thinking back to my experiences in Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. I have been making short mission trips to St. Anne's Mission in Klagetoh, Arizona for the past 10 years or so. Br. John Hotstream has been out there for the past 15 years doing some really great work in the parish. Anyway, I guess the Navajo have seen missionaries come and go over the years and one of their first questions is "So, are you going to stay?" Of course, this question tugs at your heart because my answer is always, "I wish I could?"

Now you can see why I get a strange feeling when I try and answer the question, How long? So, my answer has typically been 3 years, 5 years maybe forever. Who really knows other than God right? I put it in Gods hands. There are quite literally hundreds of things that could happen. I go there not thinking about the end result only today. God in the present moment.