Vieux-Fort Mission Part 3

       At the end of my last post I was talking about how the paths a trails feel like you are walking in someone’s back yard so in this post there is a video attached. This may give you a little better idea of the feel of the cities here.

    Later Wednesday: In anticipation of working on Ms. Beebe’s house I brought from Castries some of the tools I have been able to purchase due to some of benefactors feeling led to send money for me to fix the basketball court and do work at the Marian Home. Some we have purchased ourselves, but the beautiful thing about Missions is that possession are not really yours, it is not practical to bring them home, so when we move on we are able to bless people by giving our stuff away! Praise the Lord! I was feeling the itch to do something constructive and noticed a small table falling a part and the Sisters had some plywood……                                

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This is Isaac’s first carpentry project with Dad!

Sr. Mary Lee has a friend who had her 75th birthday. Peter volunteered to make the cake while Sr. went to work and they delivered it when she returned. There are many Catholic Schools here and Sr. Mary Lee goes around to the schools in the southern part of St. Lucia and does testing and reading evaluation and improvement. Sr. has been taking one of the kids each day with her. What a blessing for our little missionaries!

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More from Vieux-Fort

A week ago, the Sisters welcomed us into their house. Normally the Sisters deliver packages to some of poor in the area with the local St. Vincent DePaul society, but they felt it would be too much for us just arriving in that afternoon. So yesterday we worked with Sr. Mary Lee to purchase, carry back to the convent (vehicles are expensive), then separate for the appropriate size of the families. In this post I will try to share how the week went. Here are some pictures of us exploring the                                            IMG_2374IMG_2347

the convent and choosing bedrooms. This is

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the living room and where the internet connection is. The kids have been enjoying games like Uno, Scrabble, and Rumikub. Also they have been enjoying the classic black and white Robin Hood TV series that Lora’s mom sent down for Easter. Directly below this room is the Chapel where we are say our morning and night prayers.

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We were originally told we would jump right into projects on Monday, but this did not happen, so we took this time to jump right into our Mission Team Retreat. The Scriptural theme I picked was 2 Thes. 3:1-5, especially verse 5, which says: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” and the secondary theme was the gifts of the Spirit as described in Isaiah 11:2-3 “ And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;”. Each member old enough on the team, took a gift and was told to study, pray, and be ready to share. (It is hard for me, as I write, to “keep the tense the same” as Lora keeps telling me, especially when some of it has not happened yet and I am writing as if it did.) The team has been doing very well at the sharing.

Later, we decided to see if we could find a path to the sea, Caribbean that is. This was interesting because we did not know where we were going but we could see water and figured if we kept going towards it we would end up at a beach but we ended up walking through one of the places we were told not to go, Shanty Town. We ran into a nice St. Lucian there though, who told us which way to go and to show how nice they are here Lora said I could include his parting words, “Sorry bout the weed, man” oh, Mission life is crazy.

Tuesday: we continued our retreat and also continued adjusting to life here in Vieux-Fort. Later that day Lora and I went back to tell Ms. Beebe her repairs would be delayed and I was able to take a ladder and inspect her roof.

Wednesday: Lora worked at a Charity Shop which is part of the fund raising efforts for a new children’s home that is needed in Vieux-Fort.  There is not a place for unwanted or abused children here, they roam the streets. The clothes in the Charity shop have been donated from England, Canada, America, where ever someone has connections in another country.  Peter, Mia and I walked up the street and noticed all the street venders. People here take a place on the shady side of the street, set up their stuff(mostly vegetables) sell what they can to make a living. Unemployment is around 25%. Sometimes it is hard not to buy just a little even when we don’t really need it or it is not in our budget. Later I was able to spend time with the children, cook, ect. until the afternoon when Lora came back. She rested for a while, we had some Retreat time, then out to explore the town some more. We found that after 4pm most stores were closed or were closing.

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This is the path we walk to go to the Charity Shop, it also leads to the new Health center. So many of the paths we walk on feel like you are walking on someone else’s property. This post is really long already so Wednesday will have to continue on the next post…..

Vieux Fort, St. Lucia

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     PREPARATION TO VIEUX FORT: Before FMC even approached Archbishop Rivas about our mission team serving in St. Lucia many mission groups have been coming to St. Lucia and serving. Most are short term like Good News Team from Wisconsin, and another group from Nebraska, and others. The group from Nebraska makes a trip annually, works on the Marian Home compound and stays on the first floor of the Carmelite convent, where we have been living. This year is no different so we get to go to the south. Even coming to St. Lucia with very few  possessions as we did, it is amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in 4 months. Sr. Anne gave us yet another huge  blessing by allowing us to store our stuff in one room and not have to pack it up and try to take or find some place to store it!

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                  This was the sunrise the first morning we arrived.

Two weeks before our trip we had a meeting with Sr. Mary Lee(one of the Sisters that we would be living with) and Peter Favrier(of the Family and Life Commission) to prepare us for our time in Vieux-Fort. This meeting left us all feeling like we would be on the run with busy Mission work; although we were hoping for some time for a Retreat and to reflect on the first four months at our first mission post and also to pray for the up coming activities for the rest of the Summer. We were more than willing to do what ever was asked of us as the day after we return a team of senior missionaries will arrive to help prepare for Family Mission Company’s first Summer School in  a Foreign country. Then 6 days later the SSME participants arrive and we will add a total of 11 people to our mission post for about a month. Thank you Jesus! We are so privileged with all that the Lord has prepared for us to do here in St. Lucia                                      IMG_2399             IMG_2342

                                     

Here is the Sisters of St. Francis’s house that they so graciously welcomed 13 more people when it is usually only the two of them. They are great. Both from Iowa and have known each other since the 5th grade.  For them life and their order had sent them to many places mostly the U.S. but not together. Sr. Mary Lee, finds this her first missionary assignment and Sr. Francis has been to Africa before coming here. Both being called into Missionary Life later in life. The Sisters are so very kind and caring and this leads them into home visits for many in the community. The evening we arrived, Sr. Mary Lee took us down to see Ms. Beebe, her friend, who we hope to help fix her roof. The picture above is where 3 people live in simple houses with no running water (the outhouse they share is to the IMG_2357right of this picture) and I believe one is Ms. Beebe’s sister. Ms. Beebe (her house is the one in the middle) has become blind in the last few years, but she does the best she can and has a granddaughter that helps her and brings her food. A couple of weeks ago we had a lot of rain here on the Island and this rain found the holes in the roof and ruined her mattress. I am not sure what she sleeps on now, probably the floor. When Sister heard I was a carpenter she was excited and planned for us to help fix it. This is inside Ms.Beebe’s house IMG_2355     as Sister is introducing us. St. Lucia depends on tourism and has very little infrastructure. This is something I pray about a lot. I am asking the Lord to send them meaningful jobs. It is hard to rebuild the family when both parents must work. We know many families who live in little shacks like this one.(Built in a day sometimes to avoid building codes. St. Lucian law seems to allow this)

Please pray that we will be able to help Mrs. Beebe and any others the Lord sends into our path. Please pray for us to not be overwhelmed by the needs, to keep the Joy of the Lord in our hearts, to Share the Gospel as we should and pray about supporting our mission work.

God Bless You!

The Eckstine Family

Visit to Canaries

    149                     Since arriving in St. Lucia we have had quite a few             opportunities to meet very wonderful people. About a couple of months ago, we attended a 100 year parish celebration of their Church building, in Chioseul, located in the south of the Island. During the reception we met Fr. Will.  Fr. Will, originally from Canada,  came to his vocation as a priest later in life and intended to be a hermit. As there is a need for priests, the Archbishop has placed him at St. Anthony’s in Canaries. We hope to have time to do some ministry with Fr. Will later this year. As a way to get to know our Mission Team, he came up to Castries and had lunch with us then took Sid, Mia, Peter, and I down with him for Mass, Bible Study , and a Supper. Father wanted to show us a nice beach on the trip down. Here are some pictures from the day.117122

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