We Are The Missionaries Of Africa
“O come, let us adore Him!”
As I write this letter to you, the words of the Christmas carol, “OCome All Ye Faithful,” are scrolling through my mind. To be honest, I cannot really remember the first time I heard the hymn . . . I just know that it has been a part of Christmas for as long as I’ve been alive. I’ve heard it sung in churches, on radio and television -- I’ve even heard the melody playing in malls as shoppers have hurried from one store to the next.
But lately as I’ve listened more closely to the lyrics, I’ve come to realize that
the hymn is offering an invitation -- an invitation not just to come to see
the baby in the manger -- but to see Christ in the faces of those in need.
To see Him in those who are hungry, thirsty and oppressed.
Recently, I received a letter from Sr. Veronica Adeduro -- a missionary living in the Osun region of Nigeria in West Africa. There, Sr. Veronica and the other Sisters working with her reach out to some of the poorest men, women and children on earth -- providing medical care by means of a mobile clinic that travels from one poverty-stricken village to another.
It is an incredibly difficult, tiresome and challenging ministry -- especially in rural western Nigeria.
In much of Nigeria, clean water is almost non-existent. As a matter of fact, the situation is so bad some officials report that less than one-third of the people of Nigeria do not have access to clean water. In stead of sanitized delivery systems, much of the water that is available comes through old, rusty, broken pipes which pass through open gutters and even pools of waste. As a result, medical officials explain that more than seventy percent of the men, womeand especially the children who come to hospitals and clinics or who are treated at mobile health stations like the one that Sr.Veronica operates -- have been infected with illnesses contracted from drinking polluted water.
“It is the lack of clean water which is responsible for so many of the illnesses we encounter,” Sr.Veronica explains in her letter. “If each village had a reliable source of clean water -- such as a bore hole well -- then their health would greatly improve. Their lives would change dramatically!”
“We are willing to do whatever labor is necessary,”she continues. “But we need help drilling the well. That is something we simply cannot do ourselves.”
“We also need cement, iron support bars, gravel, pipes, valves and other materials to finish the entire project. The complete cost of drilling and the materials for just one bore hole well is $8,928. And there are dozens of villages that need clean water. Is there any way you can help us?”
My friend, as I read Sr.Veronica’s letter I could not help but think of the words of Jesus in St. Matthew’s gospel: “When you did this . . .” (fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty)“. . . you did it to me.” And once again I heard the words from the Christmas carol: “O come, let us adore Him!”
This Christmas, will you join with us in answering the invitation “come let us adore Him” by providing clean water for those who have none?
As Sr. Veronica writes in her letter, the cost of just one new well for a remote village is nearly $9,000. And there are dozens of communities throughout the region in need of safe, clean water. While my prayer is that we can raise at least $45,000 to be used for Sr. Veronica’s village and for other water projects throughout Africa, please know that ANY amount you can send -- large or small -- will be a kindness that will never be forgotten.
Without a doubt, your gift for a poor thirsty child will be felt in the heart of the Child who slept in the manger. Have a blessed and holy Christmas!
Your Missionary Friend,
Denis P. Pringle
P.S. You and your loved ones will be remembered in the thoughts and prayers
of all of the Missionaries of Africa throughout the Christmas season.
Thank you again for all you continue to do for those in need!