Dear Friends and Sponsors,
It is always a privilege to send a message of Christmas greetings and sincere thanks for your support for the Chiapas Education Program. Everyone at
Mission Teaching Foundation and at Yashalum (our Mexican partner) will be remembering all of you in special prayers at this special and happy time of year.
So many problems beset the people of Mexico: increasing violence and political uncertainty; economic crisis and devaluation of the peso; local problems with the coffee blight (La roya); and rising prices. For most, this would surely result in a lack of hope and a dampening of spirits, but for people of faith, that is not an acceptable response. Christmas, with the birth of The Baby, is a time of hope and re- commitment to the challenge of building a better world. Participation in the Feast of Guadalupe on December 12, the Posadas novena and the Christmas and New Year’s customs bring plenty of opportunity to walk side-by-side with the children, to embrace them and to be inspired by their contagious hope and joy. It is a family time, and family gives us strength and calls us to look toward a better future.
For us at MTF, we are also inspired by the male and female students in the scholarship program as they continue their journey of preparation. Each of the Mayan students is burdened with many obstacles: inadequate primary education in the mountain villages; their own and their families’ health and economic problems; corruption in the government and the school system; lack of necessary tools such as books, computers and Internet. The list goes on and on, but what the students do have is dedication. They believe that every step forward is worth the sacrifice. All of us who work with them and become involved in their lives are encouraged to move ahead with them, to believe in and with them and to hope and celebrate their successes.
MTF is heading into the Christmas season with sadness in our heart. Our long time secretary and co-founder, Virginia Nelson, passed away at the end of October, just one month shy of her 85th birthday. She had been a vibrant part of the journey since the beginning and “madrina,” Godmother, to many of the students over the years. She never failed to send a handwritten, personal thank you for every donation we received, and she keep track of all donations in her handwritten ledger. She left MTF a special gift in her will that will enable 9 students to attend college for a year. There is no doubt that Virginia continues to do her part as the Chiapas education program moves forward.
There are always rough spots in the road – some even life changing. But the people we help are the reason to keep going and to always strive to improve. Thank you so very much for your support and sponsorship, and your prayers. Blessings at Christmas and Happiness for the New
Fr. Gary Riebe, Staff of MTF, Scholarship Students and Members of Yashalum
PS. Because of Virginia ́s passing, there is a new central address for MTF at 8121 W 25th St, Los Angeles, CA, 90018-1934
Donations should be sent to MTF at P.O.Box 29, Carmichael, CA 95609-0029
If you have auto pay funds being sent to the address at 12000 Mitchell Ave, please change to the Carmichael address above.