Good morning my dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
My name is sis Malou Clarito from Toronto. We have been with the community since 1991, migrated to Canada in 2001 and my husband Jun became a FTPW in 2007 and I followed in 2011. Currently our service here in Canada is the Atlantic Region and outside of Canada we are taking charge of the whole of East Africa comprising of 6 countries namely Kenya, Tanzania, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. We are blessed to be able to experience serving God in the continent of Africa.
In 2007, we were all shattered by the storm that affected our community. I was at the lowest point of my life and in my service so I immediately said YES to go to Nigeria not actually to say YES to the mission but to get out of Toronto, one of the hardest hit of the crisis. But God has a great plan for me. As I was thinking of getting out of the community, God allowed me to experience being on mission outside of Canada. He rescued me and started to slowly ignite the fire in my heart.
It was providential that during the FTPWs retreat in Vancouver, we were able to meet a Kenyan priest who, upon knowing that we will be serving in Kenya, connected us to the bishops in the different areas in Kenya which paved the way for us to open CLPs in different parishes.
One of the greatest gifts we received from God was meeting bishop Philip Anyolo of Homabay who is the current Chairman of the Kenyan Bishops Catholic Conference and who experienced attending our 35th CFC anniversary in Manila and spread to the other bishops his experience seeing the global CFC. More areas were opened in Kenya and spread to another diocese in Tanzania.
We saw the great hands of God working again. We went to a parish in Usseri, Tanzania to conduct the very first CLP in that parish.
When I saw the people coming in the church and filling up every space available, I thought I was attending a Sunday mass. With the influx of people, overwhelmed, I prayed to God, “Lord tama na po baka hindi naming makaya.” (Lord, enough, we might not be able to handle it). The second day it rained very hard and it was very cold.
We were surprised that 271 still came and they came up to the last day of the CLP.
The fruits of the labour yielded 271 participants. There were 69 couples, forming 12 households, 112 Handmaids of the Lord forming 27 households, 17 Singles for Christ with 3 households and four Servants of the Lord creating 1 household.
Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar in Ethiopia had opened their doors to CFC for more CLPs this year.In one of the CLPs where I gave a talk in God’s love, one participant stood up and asked me, “How can you say that God loves me when we do not have food to eat on our table, my children are out of school?” I was speechless. I came to realized that God was telling me something. So we started our very first Child Sponsorship Program with 35 children coming from Soweto, Kenya.
We saw and rubbed shoulders with poverty. Children being thrown away or left in the footsteps of the church because they were mentally and physically challenged.
We saw children going to school without any food in their stomach…or had to walk many miles in their eagerness to go to school…we saw schools about to be closed because they cannot pay the teachers… God made us see all of these. At the start of 2018, our Child Sponsorship Program in Kenya and Tanzania had reached close to a 1000 from the 35 children we originally had.
We saw hope seeing more than 100 seminarians under the sponsorship program continue their calling to become priests…I was there to hand over the certificates to 26 out of school youth who graduated from our 1 year vocational course in Hotel and Restaurant Administration through our collaboration with the Franciscan Sisters. I saw hope in them.
Indeed, our two fold mission of evangelization and our work with the poor are but a masterpiece of the Lord, intricately planned. And this was affirmed by no less than Archbishop Isaac Amani of Arusha in Tanzania who commended CFC as a gift to his diocese. He further said that CFC is continuing the mission of Jesus of evangelizing people and at the same time not forgetting the poor… Evangelization involves more than convincing people to say the Lord’s prayer. It is sharing the good news of Christ—which includes helping the poor.
I was transformed because of the poor people I meet in the course of our mission as I was also once a sponsored child myself. I will not be able to finish my studies if not for the help of a generous Paulinian nun.
Our work with the poor is a reflection of who we are as CFC… compassionate, loving, generous. It has rekindled my passion to serve even in the most difficult and challenging times in my journey as CFC.
To end my sharing, I would like to share a short video on how our hearts are always rekindled to continue doing the mission. This video will show you the joy of serving the Lord. In the near future, one of you might be asked to serve in remote and poor areas somewhere around the globe but our hearts should always be joyful whether there will be hardships and difficulties. This video includes our missionaries, our volunteers as well as sponsored children from Kenya and Tanzania.
Had I said “NO” to this service I will not be able to see the beauty of our work in CFC. May God be praised.