3 July 2016
I want to share with you the following ideas on the current refugee crisis. It is excellent material for reading and reflection, both individually and in community. It comes from a group of young religious from various Spanish Congregations, including the Marists.
Here in Lebanon, Brother Miquel (a Marist) and I are working in two centres where a group of teachers give the refugees the basics of education to the bring them up to the level where they can start school for the first time. One centre is in Beirut and is attended by 65 children, mostly Iraquis, and the other is in Saida (biblical Sidon) where there are 120 children, mostly Syrian. We also attend to the needs of Lebanese and Palestinian children. We have started a professional training programme for ten young people who are receiving English lessons, and we are giving a course in manicure and pedicure to eleven of the mothers of our pupils. The aim is to attract them to our centre so that we can provide an education for the whole family as well. We have in fact sent our first cohort of 31 children to the official school, which is one of our main goals.s
Quite apart from the numbers, which are small when compared to the number of people who need help, the work that Gd wants to effect in Lebanon is making solid progress more quickly than was expected. We know that one life is worth everything, and that if we can help only one child, then all the trouble, work and effort will have been worthwhile. But we do not want to settle for that. We want to go further and as far as we can. Part of our vision is the closeness and inter-relationships that have developed not only between the Marists and De La Salle Brothers but also between our schools and the situations of the children and families fleeing from the war. We have a large number of volunteers helping us in many ways: teachers, Brothers, scouts, families, lay associations and religious groups (Christian and Muslim). It all makes us feel how good God is.
The hand of Providence is evident, and we can see how, when it comes to attending to the most urgent needs, God does not hold back from taking effective action. God’s weak point is prayer, especially when so many people are interceding for the most needy. The children, young people and adults who come here are happy when they arrive and even happier when they leave. Their hope is renewd by the unconditional kindness with which they are treated.
May the “great little response” we are trying to make to the situation inspire us all to act in accordance with God’s will in how we carry out our mission, knowing that we are doing no more than “what we ought to do – and we are only useless servants” (Lk 17, 7-10), in the service of our Lord and Master, Jesus, who loves us so much and blesses us by allowing us to assist Him in His work, the feature of which was and remains giving special help to the most needy.
If you want to follow our progress, especially by your prayers and intentions, you can see our activities by going to: www.facebook.com/FratelliLibano, https://twitter.com/FratelliLibano y www.youtube.com/c/FratelliLibano.
Mary, Queen of Peace, save our world! Give us patience, but hurry up! Do not delay, because many people are suffering.
United by prayers. May God bless you all.
With affectionate greetings.
Brother Andrés Porras
Estoy a tu puerta y llamo (pdf – 13 MB)
Carta – Estoy a tu puerta y llamo (pdf -29 KB)