2019 FHMB Update
The year is flying by and a lot has happened for which we thank God for His generosity through His wonderful people, our donors.
Our year started with an anonymous gift of $50,000. We were, and still are, overwhelmed and grateful for this gift and Thank God for their generosity.
We ask God to Bless them abundantly.
March 3, 2019 was our annual Pasta dinner at St Brigid Parish Hall. We again served about 350 meals thanks to Julie Misleh, Claudio Lombardo and their faithful crew.
We had super raffles with 70 silent auction items. The Dinner at the Fire House for four started a bidding war to $650, but the biggest surprise came when the winner turned around and gave the dinner to the 2nd place bidders, Jean and Chris Freeman. Music was again a highlight for the evening with the Rey Vinole Big Band. Hope you all got to see our favorite server and cleaner-upper too, Nolan Browne, a 3rd grader who has helped for the past 3 years.
The financial success of the evening meant we could send over $17,000 to the school Julio Matevello for scholarships as well as $7,000 to pay for the covered community area on the second floor of the school the Fr PJ Hughes went to Guayaquil to complete.
Former Hansen's patient Carlos graduated from University in May with his degree in nursing.
Damien House also benefited from the dinner and gift with funds sent to pay for two areas to be completely reroofed with structural steel beams and insulated material. The old wood beams were termite ridden and the work was necessary. Next year the other 3 areas will need to be redone (after the rainy season). At present the greatest need is food and medicine, so, FHMB will provide funds for that.
August 17, 2019, Betty and Katie arrived at Damien Fundacion for our annual visit. Bienvenidos signs greeted us and lots of hugs (the Best part).
When Padre Santana saw us, he said, next year we are to bring a huge suitcase and stay 5 years! Guess they like us!
This year our shopping was for a red patio table and chairs for the men’s patio, garden supplies and flowers to rehab the men’s and women’s garden areas. One of the newly diagnosed patients, Antonio, is a tailor who makes men’s trousers. Hansen’s disease has caused some sensory loss and he needed a new sewing machine so he can continue to support his family. One of our generous donors provided the funds, and Antonio is back in business. As usual, God Provides!!!
We also went out to the countryside to visit 2 families who need our assistance. Luis and Viviana have 5 beautiful children, who, this year, not only got lots of food, but soccer balls, backpacks and soccer T-shirts as well. They gave us plantains directly from the trees. Theodoro’s family also is thriving, and building their concrete block house. They thanked us for the food supplies by sharing plantains and the sweetest, freshest bananas we have ever eaten.
Damien house resident Carlos makes these crosses, note his hands disfigured by the disease.
So far we’ve just shared about stuff done. Let me share about Carlos, a former Hansen’s patient who wanted to become a nurse. Through the outreach of so many, Carlos graduated from University of Guayaquil in May with his RN degree! He is also studying English so that when he is hired by Damien Fundacion next year, he will be able to speak to all of the groups who visit and become the voice for the Hansen's patients. Then there is Justino who takes enormous pride in his home, that he gets out the paint brushes and revives the fading murals all around his home. When the workers are hosing down the patio floors, Justino gets a broom and sweeps the water into the drains.
And my other Carlos, the cross maker. When he first came to Damien House he was young, and the older men taught him wood working to give him something positive to do. Now Carlos makes and sells crosses, his way to show his love for God.
Last year we visited Srs. Gladys and Fanny in Duran. We returned this year to see how they were doing. Well, they continue to prosper by selling clothes and bedspreads and now dolls as well. We have added them to our mission sites by providing funds to build a retaining wall for protection from thieves and water run off from the road being built nearby.
Their afterschool program thrives and a new carpentry shop has been built as well as a garden to grow the herbs etc needed for healthy meals.
As usual, we support the small HIV/AIDS group in Guasmo, our first parish community where Missionary Fr Ed Veasey asked us to always help them. We are faithful to that promise even though Fr. Eddie has gone to God.
Thank you all for your ongoing support for our missions. We can do all things through God who strengthens us, but He uses your financial support to strengthen us.
God Bless you all, Katie
Sr Annie with Sr Fanny and Katie with the dolls made by the women in Duran who are learning to sew to earn money to support their families.
Justino painting the fading murals all around his home
Justino sweeping the water down the drain.