It’s been nearly a year since I returned to East Timor, yet when I pause to reflect on all of the experiences, gifts and blessings that I’m grateful for—they’re innumerable. It’s impossible to count or remember them all. Each of you, receiving this bulletin, is also one of those blessings. I’m not merely grateful for the support you’ve given me as a missioner, and to my students. This giving and sharing is part of a greater context, an infinite whole—in which we experience the unfolding GOODNESS of life itself.
At the risk of becoming philosophical, let me just say I’m grateful for your kindness, for allowing the graces of human virtue to flow through you. This is what touches me the most. As Mary Josephine Rogers, our founder said, “How much goodness there is in all, how much beauty that bears the likeness of the Creator!” She counseled us to look at others this way, and to give thanks for the ways God’s love touches us.
Now at the risk of sounding sentimental, let me just say I’m grateful for your help! Together, we have done a lot to support the education of many students, who are now in a better position to improve their own lives.
Receiving a visit from Pinto Pereira, one of my first students from the class of 2008. He is the one who inspired me to teach at the public school and opened my eyes to the real hardships that some youth face. His dedication to his own education, despite his poverty, hunger and lack of support, compelled me to help him pay for college. His story moved me so much—and over the years we’ve grown closer.
In 2014, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and recently gave me a gift in gratitude for the support. I wish each of you could have been the recipient and felt what it’s like to be on this side of your donations!