Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The community in Kanvilli

The Community in Shekinah

The Community in Nyankpala

Comings, goings and happenings!!

The novices left for their community pastoral placement on the 3rd of Jan. Tomorrow Denis and Vivek cross the borders of Ghana. Denis heads off to Lusaka, Zambia for a week long meeting of novitiate formators. Vivek heads across the seas to India for his home leave. Henry will hold fort along with Con Cerejo who is moving to the novitiate for a while.
There are lots of projects planned for this time when the house will be relatively empty. The roof in the new block is beong replaced. The tiles that were used to roof that block proved to be a disaster with extensive leaks during the rainy season. So now we replacing the tiles with metal sheeting. We are also working on refurbishing the kitchen. Work is already underway there. The mosquito netting for two of the three buildings has just been completed.
The harmattan dust has started to blow with a vengence. It had been mild for a while but now we back to the dust and dry air. Looks like it might get worse before it gets better. Wonder what is worse ... 4 inches of snow or dust blowing the whole day!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The New Country - Henry Nouwen

You have an idea of what the new country looks like.
Still, you are very much at home,
although not truly at peace, in the old country.
You know the ways of the old country,
its joys and pains, its happy and sad moments.
You have spent most of your days there
even though you know
that you have not found there
what your heart most desires,
you remain quite attached to it.
It has become part of your very bones.

Now you have come to realise
that you must leave it and enter the new country,
where your Beloved dwells.
You know that what helped and guided you
in the old country no longer works,
but what else do you have to go by?
You are being asked to trust
that you will find what you need in the new country.
That requires the death
of what has become so precious to you:
influence, success, yes, even affection and praise.
Trust is so hard,
since you have nothing to fall back on.
Still, trust is what is essential.
The new country is where you are called to go,
and the only way to go there is naked and vulnerable.

It seems that you keep crossing
and re-crossing the border.
For a while you experience a real joy
in the new country.
But then you feel afraid and start longing again
for all you left behind,
so you go back to the old country.

To your dismay,
you discover that the old country has lost its charm.
Risk a few more steps into the new country,
trusting that each time you enter it,
you will feel more comfortable
and be able to stay longer.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Missioning of Novices

This evening we had a missioning ceremony for those going on community pastoral experience. It was a pleasant evening which began prayerfully.

We focused on the call to Abram and the on the invitation to Peter to walk the waters with Jesus. In many ways both were called to embark on the unknown and they had to trust implicitly in a beckoning God and believe that they would be cared for having risked to step out of that which they were familiar and comfortable with.

The missioning liturgy invited us to be adventurous enough to embark on the sacred journey, to be bold enough to risk facing the unknown, and to be open to the invitation to new life remembering always that in 'our knowing and in our unknowing, we are escorted into tomorrow by Love, who gives us everything we need.'

It remined us that we stand on the edge of our hopes and dreams and ask in trust to be led and supported by a Love and Energy much larger than we can imagine. It called us to walk 'in courage and integrity, as we attempt to discern the voice of God amid the cacophony of our doubt and fear.'

We go knowing and believing in God's assurance - "I will walk with you in places of the heart beyond your wildest imaginings. Dare to be my disciples. In you I am doing something new!”

Celebrating Brian's birthday

Happy Birthday, Brian!

Today we celebrate the first birthday of the New Year. Brian Chipango celebrates his 23rd birthday(officially!). We wish him every blessing for this year and the years ahead as we give thanks to God for the gift that he is not only to his family but to us here in community as well.

Novices setting out for Community Pastoral Experience

This morning the novices transported their belongings and necessities to the houses that they will be going to this evening following the missioning ceremony and the celebratory dinner.

The pictures might suggest that our novices going out are a far cry from "Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick." But they sure are close enough to "Abram took his wife Sarai, his brother's son Lot, all the possessions that they had accumulated, and the persons they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan."

We hope that during their three month experience they may risk the sacred journey and ...
"Choose life…
only that and always, and at whatever risk.
For to let life leak out,
to let it wear away by the mere passage of time
to withhold giving it and spreading it
is to choose nothing."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Years Supper

Braai's are become almost customary in this house now to celebrate the big occasion. Our social committee have got it down to an art now! So this night was no different as we treated to a wonderful meal of grilled meats, salads, vegetable rice and fruit salad. It was a far more quiet and relaxed evening. I think all the celebrations and events of the previous week caught up with most of us and for many it was an early night! It was wonderful to have Br Rupert and Br Con join us for this celebration.

We have one more celebration to look forward to on the 4th before the novices go on their three month community experience on the 5th of January. The next few days though will be busy with getting the necessary shopping done for community experience, for taking down the Christmas decorations and to make the house ready for the time that the novices will be away.

In many ways it reflects the time of the year ... it is both a time to look forward with hope and enthusiasm for what lies ahead, and to celebrate with hearts full of gratitude that which has been.

New Years Lunch

On the 1st we went out for lunch as a community. It was enjoyable time for all just to sit around the table and enjoy the meal and each others company in a different setting. We were even entertained for a while by a man who claimed to be the 'Best Newspaper Vendor' in all of Ghana.
This was the fisrt time we went out for a meal as a community. So 2010 already has a first for us as a community!


The ability to see is both strength and a weakness. The more we struggle to see ourselves more clearly and closely, especially at the end of an assignment, or life phase, the more we question the primary reasons for our existence. Hence we wish to withdraw ourselves into a ‘desert’- the desert where surely we will have an experience with the Divine. Here we hope to get a sense of surety of our direction, because we fear entering into the new and feel comfortable with the present. On the other hand we as brothers and sisters to one another are constantly encouraged to withdraw into our community where the divine will present us with the new in the ordinary, and will speak to us through the other people we stay with when we live as a sacrament to one another. A life fully lived in a community helps us to jump together the life hurdles of the whole year, hence we see every New Year, though different, as a gift. But above all our community living demands we take ourselves, thank the Holy One for our giftedness, break ourselves, and give ourselves to others. This is the journey we all walk, especially at this threshold of entering in to a new gift of the 2010th year of our Lord.
When we begin to understand our own spirituality of community, we become aware of our interconnectedness and realize that without intertwining ourselves to one another, we will be able to clear the 2010th year’s hurdles raised high above our individual jumping ability. When we understand this spirituality of community, we become aware that our communion with one another is first of all based on our deepening bond to Christ and that our purpose is to hold each other’s hand and draw each other to the centre of life where each person’s values will count and the meaning of our co- existence will matter more than individual convenience.
The fact is that simply living together will not constitute a unique community from the past year, people live together in prisons, dormitories and hospitals but they don’t make a community unless they live from the same reservoir of same values and centre of love. For us to survive this New Year the cost we have to pay is to share the same vision, want good for one another and struggle to be something greater than ourselves.
As a community we need to promise ourselves to live by one resolution, which is, thanking God for our giftedness, breaking ourselves for others so that together we may have life to the fullest.
(Nicholas Linus Odhiambo)