A Short Break, a Thousand Stories

Probably, you were wondering where has been the Priest of the Missing Backpack (still looking for his backpack?) or maybe you were very busy doing so many things for your family during the Christmas and New Year season that you did not have time to read… Well, actually I was so busy enjoying time with my family in Venezuela and I did not have time to write.  Since I was for a short period of time, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my parents; by the way, my dad is very ill due to Parkinson’s Decease. I have about a thousand stories to share related to this trip.  I am just going to share just a few stories because time matters and I think that I am good at summarizing and make long stories short.

I hope you remember that I shared losing my backpack the last time I traveled to Venezuela. This time I did not have any backpacks to travel with.  I just had an open heart and many gifts to give to family and friends back in the land where I grew up.

My first stop was in Bogota, Colombia.  After 9 hours layover in the airport, I bought some books to read while I wait for the next connecting flight.  I landed in the border town of Cucuta, Colombia.  I crossed the border to Venezuela walking with one of my cousins who picked me up at the airport. I was able to reach my parents’ house at about 2:00 am California time. 10:00 pm local time.  I just was tired.

One of my dreams I had in mind was to deliver some help to those who are suffering very much due to http://fortune.com/2018/01/11/venezuela-food-riots/shortages of food and medicine. I was praying the Lord to help me out channel some help to the poor of the poor.  I was planning to do something with some money I saved in the last few months.  My prayers were answered.  I received an invitation to participate in a blessing of a group celebrating the Epiphany of the Lord Jesus.  In Venezuela, one tradition that is known for the time after Christmas is called “Paradura del Niño Jesus” in which baby Jesus is taken from the manger for a procession and adoration. http://www.efemeridesvenezolanas.com/sec/his/id/150/?show=1

This “Paradura” was prepared especially for the elderly. They ate hallacas (kind of tamales),  pan de jamon and some chocolate. After adoration, they received just a candle in a gift bag.  My heart was broken at looking those old hungry faces, hungry for God and more food.  Some of them expressed that they haven’t eaten hallacas since the previous year 2016.  I was praying after delivering a short reflection about the Gospel of Matthew. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+14:13-21

I was inspired by the Holy Spirit to give these beloved elderly something else for them to take home.  I had a great idea: How about placing in their gift bags another invitation to receive some staples and food?  A friend of mine and myself gave a donation to feed for a few days 90 Venezuelan brothers and sisters in their sixties, seventies, eighties and even nineties.   I am attaching some pictures in which you can see the happy faces after an unforgettable encounter between the Lord and His People.

I feel blessed to share this story as I am preparing to share more in the future.  I have to save a few stories.  I want you to know the many blessing the Lord has provided me. My journey is full of wonderful memories, I want you to be part of it.  Enjoy the pictures I am sharing; I feel happy serving the Lord.  After this trip, I did neither lose another backpack, I did not find the one I lost.  I did find a lot of new friends and souls hungry and thirsty for the Lord.  I just wanted to be God’s instrument. Please keep praying for more blessings and more stories inspired by the Lord.

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11 thoughts on “A Short Break, a Thousand Stories

  1. A wonderful posting to your blog Father Juan. I loved hearing about all that you did while back at your home country.

    In the US we have so many riches and we squander them so often. I wonder if our Parish can adopt those elderly people that you wrote about. We could supply food, clothing, and monetary assistance. Maybe a mission to go there and provide physical assistance as needed.

    Just a thought that entered my mind as I read your blog. God Bless you Father for all you do.

    George J. Sliney

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Praise God!
    Thank you for sharing your story, looking forward to continuing to read and share in your journey.
    You continue to be a blessing in my life , a source of guidance and learning how God works through our cooperation and efforts.
    For God’s Greater Glory!

    Like

  3. Thank you for sharing Father. I’m glad you had the chance to visit your hometown.Your stories are humbling and help me to realize how much we take for granted in this great country. We are happy to have you back , God Bless.

    Like

  4. What a beautiful instrument of Our Lord’s Love and Mercy you are to his people Father. I pray he continues to shower you with his grace and you in turn share it with all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think this is wonderful! So many happy faces and for the little blessings they receive in life!

    I was wondering father, do the donated cans of food on Ash-Wednesday also go to the needy in Venezuela? I will be sure to bring my cans this Wednesday for the poor in Venezuela or here in America.

    Your sermon on Sunday 2/11/18, is also very true, Christians need to be more like Jesus and reach out to the poor more often. Anyway I can help or more postings in the church bulletin for out reach programs should help. Thank you for all that you do for us!

    Keep blogging

    Liked by 1 person

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