December 2022 newsletter
Kathy Bond and Flávio Rocha, Brazil
Dear friends and family,
Advent greetings from the northeast of Brazil.
Time flies and now Maya has finished a cycle in her life. At her high school graduation last month, it was a joy to accompany her excitement. She hopes to be studying international relations as freshwoman next fall in the Class of 2028 in DC, Chicago or Baltimore. We will keep you posted on her final decision, which needs to be made by May 1.
This time of year is always special for me because the cashew nut trees are loaded with blood orange fruit. Before arriving in Brazil almost 30 years ago, I hadn’t ever given much thought of where cashews come from beyond the Planter’s tin. To my delight, we have a huge cashew tree on our street.
Seeing the trees overflow once again reminds me of how much I have learned living in Brazil. My co-worker, Fatima, gave me a bag last week that quickly became a yummy juice.
Advent is a season of joy. Helping women acquire new skills to complement their income while sharing with others brings me much joy. A big accomplishment this year was offering my first 40-hour formation course in Shantala for 11 health care professionals at AFYA Women’s Holistic Health Center, my main ministry site.
One of the participants, Maria Auxiliadora da Silva, is a nurse at the local public health care post. After completing the course, she shared, “I am grateful for this opportunity as I plan to teach the pregnant women and new moms in the women’s circle this baby massage. I think it will be a wonderful activity for them to do with their babies to promote bonding.”
I use some of the ministry account donations that many of you send in to give partial scholarships to professionals like Maria Auxiliadora.
I am preparing myself for a new cycle in my life next year when Maya moves to the U.S. Her efforts during the college application phase to get all the documentations and essays done made me proud. When people ask me how Maya is doing, I always respond that she is ready to fly and I remember myself at this age.
Kathy and I continue facilitating eco-retreats. Our last one (see top photo) was in a small fishing village 100 miles north of João Pessoa. During the two-day gathering, we had 16 people reflect on their connection with nature and how this can help us in our relationships with ourselves and others.
These retreats have provided an important tool for some to help them cope with the COVID reality, as they provide a space for community and grounding activities. A few people have come back three or four times this year, and we already preparing our schedule for 2023.
In gratitude for your prayers and financial support, we wish you a merry Christmas and a blessed 2023.
May the God of Life bless us all with abundance, health and joy!
Flávio, Kathy and Maya
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
P.S. We are only able to receive regular mail at this address:
Katia Bond & Flávio Jose Rocha
Rua Banc. Amaury de Souza, 58
João Pessoa, PB BRASIL 58051-380
Please consider making a special gift to Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ “Walk With Us” campaign, which raises money for the recruitment, training and ongoing support of all of us lay missioners. We can only “walk with” the people here because you are “walking with” us. Now and through Dec. 31, thanks to matching gifts, every $100 given to the campaign in effect becomes $150. To donate ONLINE, click the “Walk With Us” button below. Thank you so much for your generosity!