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Calling a Few Good Men
U. S. A. | APOSTOLATE | NEWS
An emergency mission to El Salvador is leaving this January 3rd. Missionaries are needed in the wake of massive devastation.

The mission is from January 3 to 10, 2010.
A moment of prayer and blessing during the most recent mission to El Salvador. Missionaries are urgently needed to continue helping the local people.

December 13, 2009. Fr Edward Hopkins, LC, is setting up an emergency response mission to El Salvador, and young men and a few adult men are needed to do manual labor.

The mission is from January 3 to 10, in response to the widespread devastation left by the tropical storm “Ida.” The men who respond to this mission need to be ready to help build shelters for the people who lost their homes in the flood. Fundraising donations are also gratefully accepted, as are prayers.

If you are interested, please view this flyer, which has contact information listed or scroll down to the end of the article. If you have a friend who may be interested, please forward this article to him.

Disaster

Three weeks ago, Fr Edward returned from El Salvador on the 10th HELPING HANDS medical mission to that country. The missionaries were in El Salvador precisely when “Ida” struck.

The rains fell hardest in the middle of the night, and the flooding was quick, inundating entire communities with muddy rivers that poured in through the windows of the houses. People struggled to find solid ground in the darkness while entire villages were washed away, with the fragile houses of the poor completely submerged and flattened.

As the news came trickling in over the next few days, it turned out that the storm had killed hundreds of people, with several hundred more missing. Over 7,000 homes were washed away in the flood waters and in the massive mudslides that came pouring down the hillsides—including boulders and rocks dislodged in the storm.

It was in this context that the HELPING HANDS medical missionaries undertook their mission.

Providence

“We were there exactly when we needed to be,” said Fr Edward. “We changed our plans so as to visit and set up clinics in the hardest hit areas.
woman from El Salvador, bruised after flood
A woman covered in bruises after being dragged for almost a mile by the flood waters.
We visited at least 6 different refugee camps, all located in schools. Each housed anywhere from 300 – 700 refugees. Some help arrived quickly but most of it was delayed. Some slept without mattresses and some classrooms housed as many as 56 people. You might say we were among the very ‘first response’ teams.”

The team of missionaries and doctors spent the entire first day of the disaster treating people at the shelter in town. Funerals were arranged for people who had died in the floods.  The next day, they headed to one of the hardest hit areas, setting up a clinic in the parish church (after removing the Blessed Sacrament).

“We always opted to do the clinic in the parish church or within the grounds of the parish so that the people there would correctly identify our efforts with the Catholic Church and grow in confidence for their local pastor and team,” said Fr Edward.

Search and rescue

The missionaries traveled from town to town, searching for the most needy and setting up clinics to provide emergency care. In some places, they saw a wasteland of rocks and mud where up to three communities had been before.

As the HELPING HANDS surgeons and their medical teams handled the most important surgeries at the hospital, Fr Edward accompanied the rest of the team with the mobile clinics. Gabriel, head of the HHMM team hosting the missionaries in El Salvador, seemed to have a special gift for finding people in grave need of attention.

“This occurred on at least three or four occasions,” said Fr Edward. “I call Gabriel ‘our Good Samaritan.’”

In one case, Gabriel knocked on a woman’s door and found her laying in bed with both feet infected, one totally broken and almost detached from her leg. In terrible pain, she was
Fr Edward Hopkins with the El Salvadorian people.
Fr Edward Hopkins, LC, with the local people.
offering it all up for her family. Fr Edward was able to give her the sacraments of reconciliation and the anointing of the sick, and Dr Peter Danis, the director of the medical team and mission quickly determined that she needed to be hospitalized. Gabriel saw to it that she was immediately taken to receive the care she needed.

In another case, Gabriel saw the boy in tears, sat down to check what was wrong, and discovered a foot that was cut and so infected that he was in danger of losing it. The boy had been too timid to ask for help but Gabriel somehow knew where to look. Thanks to his fact action, the boy’s foot was saved and his extreme fever was brought under control. He also followed up to make sure that the boy, who had just quit school, continued his education.

Real missionaries

“Gabriel and the other Regnum Christi members do so much to make our missions successful!” said Fr Edward. “They give a great example of what it means to be a missionary: dedication to the individual person, to the whole person, beyond the limits of the mission itself or the present moment.”

“A missionary cares about the person and responds with all he can, generously sharing his values and faith. And the result is always the same, God touches and blesses this person in some real way (medical or not) with his love. Each experience is a healing of sorts. These people know that they are not forgotten or abandoned. God is with them and loving them in a special way through his missionaries,” he said.

And this is the sort of missionary he hopes to bring back with him on an emergency response trip to build emergency shelters for the El Salvadorian people who lost their homes. The mission is set up; only missionaries are needed.

Fr Edward’s
little boy El Salvador
One of the little boys helped by the missionary doctors.
appeal:

“I am looking for young men and a few adult men who are willing to take the time (Jan. 3-10), make the effort to prepare in record time and trust in Divine Providence, in order to be there to serve the urgent needs of our brothers and sisters. Please pray on this and decide on what you can do. I need at least a team of 10 to make this happen. A good number of young people in San Salvador (RC and friends) are interested in working with us if we come down.

Here are the different ways in which you can help:

  • Come as a missionary or help find missionaries who can come.
  • Send or help raise funds to cover building expenses ($1,500 per house).
  • Pray for this intention especially this week and during Christmas.

Cost: $500, not including airfare.

If you are interested in helping build shelters in the next mission this January 3 – 10, please contact Fr Edward Hopkins at (314) 422-8465 (ehopkins@legionaries.org) or Ed Johansen: cell (402) 968-0888 or office (712) 747-3413 (ejohansen@missionnetwork.org).


PUBLICATION DATE: 2009-12-18


 
 

Related links

Helping Hands Medical Missions
MissionYouth
St Rafael Guizar y Valencia Missionary Center


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