|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.
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
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.
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.
in this context that the HELPING HANDS medical missionaries undertook
“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.
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.”
|A woman covered in bruises after being dragged for almost a mile by the flood waters.|
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, 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.
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.
“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.
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.
|One of the little boys helped by the missionary doctors.|
“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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ed Johansen: cell (402) 968-0888
or office (712) 747-3413 (email@example.com).