PARAGUAY, Johana Goodacre and Horacio Chávez •
Villa Oliva is a small town in the department of Ñeembucú, a very large territory where the houses and families are separated into companies with 37,000 inhabitants located 86 kilometers from Asunción, Paraguay’s capital. Several months in advance, we began preparing our hearts for the family mission in Villa Oliva. We took off on our first mission with great expectations, with a group of youths, a couple, sixty people in total, and Fr. Oscar Saldívar. –
On July 10, we arrived at the town’s school, where we concentrated on all the logistics of staying there for six days until Sunday, the 15th. Along with our family, the Chávez, we were assigned to a company forty-five minutes away with some asphalt roads with dirt in some sections.
On July 11, we left the school toward the direction of the Estanzuela Company with six daring youths, and no clue of what we would find. We took four Rosary Campaign Pilgrim MTAs. Before departing, all the missionaries met in a circle for a blessing of sending forth. There the Frutos couple reminded us that we should take a picture of the family altar, which consists of a picture of the Holy Family that tries to rescue praying as a family. This is a project from Mexico and Chile that they brought from the Family Work gathering in Ecuador. When the talk ended, we undertook the trip with a missionary spirit— a joyful heart and singing.
We went to meet the area’s families
On the way, we passed through some beautiful scenery. God was already showing us the gift of nature, animals and vegetation that led to something beautiful. We arrived at Estanzuela with 6º C, and we parked in front of the San Blas Chapel and a small health stand, where Mrs. Cristina, a nurse and person in charge welcomed us.
We were divided into three groups of missionaries, and we went to meet the area’s families. Our group, comprised of two youths, and our six year-old daughter, remained conversing with Cristina. In the talk, after reading the gospel, and praying for the intentions that we carried in our hearts, we commented that a couple, the Frutos family, had an apostolate of giving an altar with a picture of the Holy Family and the Blessed Mother to those families who are interested in praying as a family. She was very touched and told us that it was a gift from God that we were there that day; it was exactly what she desired in her heart.
The great surprise was that all these humble families opened their homes and hearts to us. We talked with them, each one prayed for some very special intention— the majority of them for work, family, and health.
It was gift from God and the Blessed Mother
Fr. Oscar Saldívar accompanied us on the mission’s second day, and we presented the first altar to Mrs. Cristina, who received it with great emotion in the San Blas Chapel. She tearfully expressed her gratitude, commenting that she left the city twenty-seven years ago to serve the Estanzuela community, which then, was such a poor place, without water, electricity, and very unstable. She has continued to help in building dignity for the area’s settlers, and she affirmed that the mission and the visit to the brothers/sisters was a gift from God and the Blessed Mother.
The Villa Oliva Family Missions were lived with great joy and love, but at the same time with a great commitment to help out after the mission in order to build a nation of God in Paraguay where justice, equality, and above all the love of God will reign in the heart of every Paraguayan.
Original: Spanish. 21 July 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA