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Happy New Year! I hope that the holidays were a blessed time for you . . . a chance to get together with family and old friends. For me, one of the things that seems to make the holidays so special is the time they allow for us to reflect upon the many blessings we have in our lives — to reflect upon how much we have been given . . . how much we are loved. Perhaps that “Christmas awareness” — knowing how much we are loved — is what makes us want to make changes in our lives whenever a New Year begins . . . “resolutions” to make ourselves better human beings!
Live simply so that others may simply live.
Dear Mr. Doe,
Happy New Year! I hope that the holidays were a blessed time for you . . . a chance to get together with family and old friends. For me, one of the things that seems to make the holidays so special is the time they allow for us to reflect upon the many blessings we have in our lives — to reflect upon how much we have been given . . . how much we are loved. Perhaps that “Christmas awareness” — knowing how much we are loved — is what makes us want to make changes in our lives whenever a New Year begins . . . “resolutions” to make ourselves better human beings! Perhaps.
If you’re like me, nearly every January, you hear from friends and acquaintances telling of their resolution to give up smoking, lose weight, start exercising or make some other life adjustment. Sometimes the changes “take effect”; other times, they don’t. But whatever the case, I have to ask myself: do these changes really make our lives better? Or is there something else more profound that we are called to do?
Recently, I received a letter from one of our missionaries, Fr. John Aserbire, who works among some of the poorest men, women and children in the world in the Mukuru slums in Nairobi, Kenya. Fr. John wrote to me on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.
The slums of Mukuru are home to over 600,000 people. Most of these people left their rural homes because of poverty and came to Nairobi in hope of finding work. While some were successful, the majority of people have no skills — so they remain unemployed, uneducated and desperately poor. “The people here live in shacks made from cardboard or sheets of plastic,” Fr. John writes. “Others who are ‘better off’ have houses made from sheets of corrugated tin. Each one-room house is about ten by ten feet and has no sanitation or running water. Since there is no waste collection, most of the waste, household and other, runs directly into the nearby river. As a result, disease and bacteria-borne illnesses are rampant. That’s the depth of poverty that these people are facing.”
“There is no space for children to play. There are no recreation facilities for adults or children. Many turn to alcohol or drugs. It is a desperate struggle for survival!”
“There is a clinic run by religious Sisters who are working to make life better for the people in Mukuru who are struggling to live,” Fr. John continues. “The clinic has already set up a pharmacy as well as an intake and evaluation program for diagnosing diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV. The clinic also offers education and treatment for those who are infected. Needless to say, though, given the numbers of people they are reaching out to — the work is overwhelming! They need our help.”
“The Sisters need additional medical equipment to be used in more accurately diagnosing some of the diseases and infections that are affecting so many. Is there anything we can do?”
My friend, as I explained at the beginning of my letter, oftentimes, so many of us seek to make New Year’s resolutions that will benefit our lives. But imagine doing something that will not only make our lives better, but the lives of others as well. The quote at the beginning of this letter states it so well. Imagine living more simply, so that others may simply live! During this New Year, will you make a commitment to make a sacrifice so that others may know a better life? I am desperately hoping that we can raise at least $42,000 to help the clinic in Mukuru get the medical equipment it needs — as well as help support our other missions in their work with the poor throughout East Africa. These funds would make such an incredible difference in our work among those who have so very little — those who are struggling to survive. But whether your gift is a large or small donation, please know that ANY amount you send will help us help those who are simply struggling to live. God bless you for your continued kindness and generosity.
Your Missionary Friend,
Denis P. Pringle Director of Development