martedì 30 giugno 2015

3/2015 Our time in Juba

Yes; it's been months since I have updated this blog… Sorry everyone.

As you know I've been here for six months now, it's not a sufficient time to understand - if it will ever happen - Juba or South Sudan or even Africa. Everything looks different until I realize and accept that it is ME who is different; everything here is normal. (what is normality?).

First things first: GOD! Yes; mission is foremost a deep experience of God and His presence in even in the farthest lands (go to the Whole world…. and I add: You will find me there…). There is hunger here and Death and misery and it's derty and it stinks in many areas and God is here. The Kingdom of God is silent and it grows from within the hearts of His people. We are here for His Kingdom who is Jesus the Son of God. The "feeling" of God here is so natural. People do no question His existence. God IS; therefore live consequently, as easy as that! God is joy, live your joy. I have the fortune to work a lot with the Youth and also with children. Just seeing their smiles in the midst of a land of war and you understand that also happiness comes from within. I wish I could publish some pictures to show you all their smiles but unfortunately if I add picture to this mail (I am posting via mail) then it would not go through; our connection is very bad, we only have some internet boundle on our mobile  phones and it is barely sufficient for whatsapp and instagram through which I publish picture on Facebook too - if you wish my instagram contact is "fratefederico" while for facebook "Freddy Gandolfi".

As most of you know I was ordained priest just few days my departure to this mission and therefore my only and little experience as a priest is in this land. I can't say whether it's good or not, yet it  has its advantages. First of all the priesthood is not for myself, but it's a service to the people of God. within the priesthood the main actor  is God and not the priest and this is what I am really experiencing here. I confess, sometimes for a long time and I do not understand a word of what people say in their tribal Language; then I absolve: Jesus understands and absolve and forgive and is presence through my presence as a minister. I cannot even say a single word from my heart as they would not understand. Nothing of me, only Jesus. It's not easy sometimes but I believe it is a grace which forbids me to possess my priesthood.

sometimes I go anointing the sick… I enter in slut where I do meet Jesus  on the Cross; again I have no words to say as they would not understand; but Jesus is there with his healing love. Again nothing of me; only Jesus.

I realize how many times priests put too much of themselves in whatever they do and it is  even worse when people go to some Church or anothere because there is a good priest…. In some way it's not totally wrong, we are called to be the presence of Jesus even with our normal activities and servicies which imply talking to people, consoling and being close to them with our person: "you canno love God that you don't see if you don't love your Brother that you can see". It is through  our humanity that God is present amongst His people. Yet we should all learn not to possess even the good that God does through each one of us. 

Well my friend, soon I will write about more concrete activities we do here; but for now this is not what I had planned to write but it is what has come out….

God bless you, well let's say it in the local Language.

Ti Nun kabulonit lo lin 'borone ta: Monye, Tore, Mulokotyo Loké. Amen

fr, Freddy

martedì 3 febbraio 2015

2/2015 - Some updates from Juba

Well, I've been here for more than 20 days now and they say it takes 21 days to get used to a climate change.... Let's see what happens tomorrow to my body.... We are over 45 c.d. Every afternoon and let me tell you it's a bit hard. Especially as we have no power during the day so our fridge (yes we have a fridge now) doesn't work... We drink a lot of hot water, well they its good for our health...

The situation of the country is still unstable even if yesterday they have signed another peace treaty between the government and the rebels, let's see what happen. Yet there's a great poverty among the people and many issues which should be needed to be faced at once. The country is very young and has many potentialities, let's hope for its good development.
The church here has a great role in terms of providing social services and more. As Franciscan we are still not running any special project, we run a pariah and seven out station plus we are also the chaplains in a refugee camp protected by the UN and where there are 27000 people (feeding all those people is becoming everyday more difficult as far as we have understood).

As for me I still do not speak the local languages but I'm trying to study everyday. In the afternoon I usually have a little walk around our block just to let people see me and to meet them too. Some of them has already begun to invite me into emir houses and we usually have a small chat. They are so poor and yet so generous. I think I have to learn a lot from them.

Living in this poor conditions I've seen with how little and few things we can live on, it's a grace from God to live with little and not desiring more!

As the connection is not working properly I'm still not able to send pictures, I tried but failed...

I'll send them in May when I'll be back in Italy for one month.

Take care all of you and God bless you all now and everyday.

Br. Freddy

sabato 17 gennaio 2015

1/2015 South Sudan - Juba

My dearest friends; here I am in Juba; a far land in space and time I would dare to say. I thought I would have been very exited the first day, but I believe I was more scared. It's not been easy at all stepping into this red-sand Country. I've been here four days now and I admit that it's getting better any day; thank be to God who called me here to meet me in ways I cannot understand yet or foresee. I trust Him and this is, should be, enough!

The internet connection is very slow and I can only access via mobile phone; no social networks; I will only try to update this blog once in a while.

It is five of us in the fraternity; one from Mexico but of American passport, one Australian, one from Slovakia and two Italians. We speak English in the house and I don't speak outside… J I will need to learn either Arabic Juba or Baari, the two main languages spoken in this Country.

The day after our arrival we went out for a recollection day to a village on the Nile river. Amazing. I had and still have no words. I was sitting by the river; the river that thousands of years ago and far away in a land called Egypt, saved Moses. I can only see a huge forest and some round huts made of mud and straw (not sure of this words). As soon as we arrive there some children come to stare at us; we are the different ones; we are "abuna" which means father.  There is a chapple which seems to be falling soon.

While sitting by the river I also think of the book of Genesis where Gods asks human kind to dominate over the earth and all the animals. Those people really live in accordance with nature and we shall learn from them. I feel my eyes "thirsty" of such beauty. Africa is dangerous. It calls and reject at the same time. Something inside me is already telling "this is your land", I'm to scared and I already miss my home Country and friends and brothers and family, yet… yet this is a place where I have been called to be and where the Church has sent me.

I have to be sort here as I want to send also some pictures; hopefully the connection will allow me to do it.

I please ask for prayers and sorry if I cannot contact everyone individually.

Take care all of you and God bless you

Br. Freddy