Saturday, March 29, 2008

Our Novitiate Community in Nyankpala

Antiree!!(Good evening)
When John, Pascal, Wycliffe and Samuel formed community two Months ago we set for ourselves as community Goals-
* To discover ourselves and grow in union and communion with God, through our ministry, our community and our prayer.
* To seek God in our Brothers in community
* To foster the vision of Bl. Edmund Rice

Our greatest challenge has been striking a balance between community goals, ministry goals and personal goals. And although all three demand a great deal of time and energy we can sense that some balance has been achieved.

Our house is situated in a very quiet environment surrounded by trees and greens especially after the fall of much needed rain. We live among the workers of the Government Research Institute. Most mornings we are awakened by the ladies carrying big containers going in search of water. Water is such a big problem here that I wonder what meaning World Water Day holds for these women and children.

Our mission statement is to extend the love of God to our brothers and sisters on the margins. We are involved in teaching at St. Monica Primary and Junior Secondary School, we teach Catechism and animate the Youth of the parish, and we have started an Edmund Rice Group at the University of Developmental Studies (UDS).

We thank God for giving us this opportunity of being in Nyankpala. Our efforts at ministry are highly appreciated by the people we interact with. Initially it was not easy. The great poverty the people are experiencing can be seen easily. In School it is not uncommon to hear the students say, "brother there was no water”, “we have not had breakfast”, “my stomach is paining". It is sad to see young children having to go through this. Many of the children come to school with torn uniforms and tattered shoes. Despite all this they are wonderful kids and have given us much joy.
(Samuel Munyua Ngumi)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Life bursts forth from a parched Earth!!!

Brought forth from a dry and arid ground by one shower of rain some days ago plants have come to life, flowers have bloomed .... what promise they hold!! The fragile flowers and the tender fresh green leaves dare us to wonder at the mystery of life which burts forth with such splendour on a seemingly unsuspecting world!!
As Belden C Lane says, "So uncommon is it for us to grasp the beauty and mystery of ordinary things that, when we finally do so, it often brings us to the verge of tears. Appalled by our own poverty, we awake in wonder to a splendour of which we had never dreamed."

So on this Holy Saturday here in Tamale there are signs of New Life and Easter splashed all around us upon this Earth "crammed with heaven" where every common bush "afire with God" is proclaiming the gospel message ... He is alive!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Our New Congregation Leadership Team (CLT)

Congratulations to our Brothers who have accepted the responsibilty of guiding the Congregation over the next 6 years. For the first time in our history we have an African brother on the CLT.

The new CLT has Br Philip Pinto (Congregation Leader), Br Jack Mostyn (Deputy Congregation Leader), Br Francis Hall, Br Victor Dean Kamara and Br Peter Dowling.

I found the song by Joyce Johnson Rouse used to accompany the video on the CLT website very appropriate so here they are along with our message of active and prayerful support to our Leadership Team ...

"I am standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before me.
I am stronger for their courage; I am wiser for their words.
I am lifted by their longing; for a fair and brighter future.
I am grateful for their vision; for their toiling on this earth.

We are standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before us.
They are saints and they are humans;
they are angels, they are friends.
We can see beyond the struggles and the troubles and the challenge;
When we know that by our efforts things will be better in the end.

They lift me higher than I could ever fly.
Carrying my burdens away.
I imagine our world if they hadn’t tried.
We wouldn’t be here celebrating today.

I am standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before me.
I am honoured by their passion; for our liberty.
I will stand a little taller; I will work a little longer
and my shoulders will be there to hold the ones who follow me."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Our Novitiate Community at Gurugu Jalapa

Since the 15th of January we (Casimir, Julias, Jackson, Sonny) have been experiencing what it is to live in a Christian Brother community here in Gurugu Jalapa. Two months have passed and we have come to the realization that the objectives we had set ourselves though not easy are attainable as long as we, as each individual and then as a community, strive towards them and work together.

Our pre-set mission goals included:
*trying to be responsible for one another
*deepening the relationship among the four members of our community and the outside community.
*seeking to balance our prayer, community life, ministry and extra community activities.

We may be yet far from realising these goals to their full potential. Nevertheless, we are satisfied to have developed good dispositions toward them. It is worth having such an experience away from the novitiate house and the formators. In their absence we have realized what each of us is capable of on the one hand, and on the other we have been learning from one another.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

There is nothing better than the smell of wet earth!!

The signs of imminent rain were there for all to see ... the darkening skies, the howling wind blowing dust and the distant smell of wet earth. As the wind died down and the skies got darker the first drops of welcome rain fell on a parched land last evening. The rain continued throughout the night and well into today.

Not only did the rain bring much needed relief from the heat but it provided water for so many people. I am sure many people who would have walked and cycled in search of water will be spared the ardous journey today. Our own tanks are well near full with the harvested rain water.

There is a freshness in the air. Plants and roofs so long covered in red dust are now washed clean. The air thick with dust only a few days ago is now clean and clear.

There is something beautiful about the fact that following the rain all is still and the smell of wet earth still hangs in the air!

The pictures show our rain soaked compound!

Our Sympathies to Phelix and the Odera Family

On the 26th of Januray we received the sad news that Mr Dickens Odera, the father of Phelix, passed away after a brief period of illness. He had suffered two strokes in January. I will let Phelix take up the account from here ...

"My dad gradually accepted his soul to join our ancestors. The first stroke effected the right side of his body and the second his left. Before he went to his final sleep, my Dad had made the necessary arrangement with the family and so when God finally called him, despite the political problems in Kenya at that moment, dad's body was laid to rest peacefully in our family compound on the 7th of Feb.
The requiem service was conducted by the Anglican church. I wish to thank the brothers, the formation team and my fellow novices for the fratenal love shown me during that time when I needed it most. Thanks to the brothers of the East Africa District for the support given to me from the time I landed in Kenya until I left back for Tamale.
The presence of Brs. Tom Kearney and Herman Odhiambo when my father was lowered back to mother earth was a great sign of brotherly love and concern."

We continue to pray that the soul of Mr Dickens Odera rest peacefully in the gentle embrace of his loving God, and we assure the Odera family especially Phelix's mother Mrs Beatrice Odera of our constant prayers and support in this time of grief.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ghana Independence Day

Today Ghana celebrates its 51st Independence day. In 1957 Ghana was the first black African country to become independent. On that day in her message the Queen of England had this to say, "The hopes of many, especially in Africa, hang on your endeavours. It is my earnest and confident belief that my people in Ghana will go forward in freedom and justice."

Dr Kwame Nkrumah was the first Prime Minister of independent Ghana. In 1960, Nkrumah declared Ghana a republic and himself president for life in 1964. He was deposed in 1966 by a military coup while on a trip to Peking. He later died in exile in Romania in 1972.
There followed a period of unstable government with one coup after another, culminating in 1992 in a referendum on a multiparty system. Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, who had already led two coups against the government, was elected president.
His supporters credit him with stabilising a turbulent political scene and leaving a legacy of democracy.
He retired in 2000 and President John Kufuor was elected. (Information taken from the BBC website)

Today, as we greet the people of Ghana we also keep them in our prayers. We pray for continuing peace in the country and we pray for its leaders that they may uphold the ideals of peace, freedom and justice. This is an election year too where the country will elect a new President. We pray that the lead up to and the elections themselves go peacefully and that all parties accept the mandate of the people.

Though the country has achieved much, much still remains to be done. Here in the Northern region making drinking water available and readily accesible to all should be a priority. It is a common sight here in Tamale to see hordes of people everyday either walking, on bicycles or motorbikes carrying 20 litre yellow containers as they go in search of water. A resource that so many take for granted.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Looking in the eyes of a Child

One day I was watching the children playing with clay soil and I was amazed by what I saw. I looked at one of the children and what I saw in his eyes was determination and courage as he was manipulating the clay soil. I was impressed by his power, vision and ability in handling the soil. Because each brick the child was making from that soil was important so he had to handle it carefully. I noticed that he was focused and determined to perfectly achieve his mission.

From this short experience, I learned to be focused, determined and courageous in my work, I believe it takes the whole village to raise a child; all the people are involved. And my involvement with children especially those who are under privileged demands an open heart and love to do the work.

Children are a precious gift from God and we are privileged to play a part in making the future better for these children. As we all minister to these children in different areas, my prayer is that we may also be ministered to in our involvement with the children. It might look as if we are doing it in a little way but that same small way might make a big impact in the life of a child.

Jackson Mubela

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dare to be Disciple: Passion and Possibility

In the recent African Province Circular, Br Richard Walsh had this to say,

"There is such richness and such excitement in the four key words of that theme:
· Dare
· Disciple
· Passion
· Possibility.

There is nothing static about those words which are key to a deep appreciation of Jesus and the gospel.
Anyone who thinks that Jesus was not daring, passionate, creative, risk-taking and possibility-exploring, has not understood Jesus of Nazareth. What a pity then that so often Christians are seen as being ‘safe’ and the Church as ‘conservative’."

Now as the delegates for our Congregation Chapter gather, we keep them all in our prayers. We pray that this time will be one of grace and blessing. We pray for the courage to dare... to be open to possibilty... for the heart that seeks with passion and imagination.