September 5th was instituted as the International Day of Charity by the United Nations (UN) to mark the date of Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s death. Her life was entirely consecrated to helping and supporting those most in need.
The date was set to encourage and recognize the work of institutions, governments and people whose charitable work alleviates humanity’s crises and sufferings.
The Fraternity – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF) has been working since 2011 in humanitarian missions, with the purpose of sowing love and peace among those in greatest need.
It is precisely by putting this teaching into practice that the missionaries of the Fraternity – Humanitarian (FIHF) are able to experience charity in their different missions throughout the world, as their testimonies demonstrate.
ANGÉLICA-Challenge, Transformation, Joy, Gratitude
As Charity Missionaries in Greece we fiercely embraced every task to make ends meet: either organizing and distributing donated items to the immigrants, or simply cooking and cleaning. “I was greatly challenged to be able to understand what those people were going through, thus to be able to assist them – it was a very intense experience,” she recalls.
Back in Roraima, she later worked in several assignments. Angélica is currently the Regional Manager at the Transition Shelter in Manaus (ATM). “Our experiences here are many and diverse. There are very tough moments when people are in great pain. But knowing we are doing the right thing is fundamental for us to sustain this mission beyond limits and on a permanent basis.”
Angelica expresses joy and gratitude for being able to serve: “Being part of this mission fills me with joy. It resonates inside me in a huge flow of gratitude. I very much appreciate this possibility of going through so many transformations.”
MARIA ALIDA-Internal Confirmation, Learning, Always do the best, True Love
In 2018, Maria Alida began to participate in some Missionary Experiences; before that, she had only heard about them and seen some pictures, but she recalls: “the very word ‘missionary’ already made something move inside me.”
In July 2019, when she first arrived at Roraima Mission, Maria Alida had a confirmation: “I felt that I had found my place in the world. It was this deep, heartfelt feeling that changed my life; for the first time I felt I was in the right place.”
Regardless of the work that lies ahead, Maria Alida’s attitude is always the same : “What I have learned and continue to learn is not to have any expectations; I only connect myself to my guardian angel and to God asking for help so that I can give my best every day.”
“Truly, the refugees are the ones who teach me about charity and solidarity, because they are very fraternal and supportive to each other and to everyone,” she tells with emotion.
Also about learning, Maria Alida explains: “I welcome and live this experience as a gift from the Universe allowing me to learn the true meaning of love. I didn’t really know how to love, not the way I experience it with my indigenous brothers and sisters. Never in my life had I felt such a strong love in the core of my soul.”
For her this experience is very remarkable: “this deep love and happiness brought me the profound understanding that there is absolutely no other way of living in this world.”
And learning to value life, she describes in dismay one of the most difficult scenes she witnessed: “I was in Pacaraima, the border was open, and it was like a miracle of God that allowed a very old brother to reach the shelter. He was so malnourished and dehydrated that he had to be carried in our arms like a child.”
PRISCILA –Abnegated Service, Giving and Receiving, Self-Surrender, Simplicity in Acting
“The service is wherever we are, the need is everywhere.” These are the words of Priscila, who has been living in the Light-Community of Figueira since 2013. In January 2019 she joined in her first mission. Priscila adds: “The need presents itself randomly and we place ourselves to serve in a selfless way.”
When dealing with situations severely impacting the neediest, Priscila makes it clear that “working in a mission for the most deprived people is not simply giving; it is, in fact, always an exchange: giving and receiving.”
The manifestation of charity lies, for her, in self-surrender: “it means leaving behind ourselves, our wills, our desires, and really act on behalf of others in need.”
And about helping her companions, she says, “Sometimes everyone is tired, but you notice someone who is even more exhausted. So you help him to gather the extra strength to go on. That is solidarity: to contribute in every way, always.”
Priscila remembers a very peculiar thing that happened in the Colombia Mission back in 2019: in a handicraft activity there was a gentleman who always kept himself separated; so she decided to approach him, and realized he was blind, and still she invited him to join the activity. He accepted and ended up managing to make a bracelet by himself. He was very happy. “He just needed a stimulus, to feel valued. Solidarity and charity reside and act in very simple things,” she points out.
All these reports, sometimes delicate, sometimes brutal, confirm Trigueirinho’s teaching: “Charity is like an energy that outlines the inner being, fills them with peace, blesses their immaculate and essential state, restores their lost balance, revives their soul, revives values, exempts them from guilt and opens them to new doors.”
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