Easter was special because one of our school boys, Ivan Irakoze, was received into the church at the Easter vigil service. See photo below. He had been under instruction for over a year until the day came. We congratulate him on this big step in his life. May his faith become the rock foundation of everything in his future life.
(left) Ivan Irakoze
We had our usual Easter celebration at Mercy House on Easter Sunday, and thank St Vincent de Paul, Victory Park, for the lunch they provided for around 55 people. The joy at the usual Easter egg distribution can be seen in the photos below. As usual, we threw the eggs down from the roof and the young people had great joy and fun catching them.
We are continuing our Saturday morning extra lessons for any refugee scholars who need it. It is becoming known and new kids are arriving. Innocentia (in photo below) teaches Afrikaans and Zulu, and Mr Steven Wanyoike does Accounting, Business Studies and Maths.
Mr. Steven with scholar
Mrs. Innocentia with scholars
Ivan was also one of 4 young people, all from different countries, who presented the Way of the Cross on Radio Veritas on Good Friday morning. See photo below.
Two weeks before Easter we held our second Get-Away weekend of spiritual renewal at Maria Trost, Comboni Mission in Lydenburg. Father Rafael guided us as we explored Laudate Si, the Holy Father’s answer to the problems issuing from global warming. It was very enriching for all who participated. We plan to have another later in the year and would recommend it to anyone, even just getting out of the city hustle is a tonic in itself. Apart from our discussions, prayer times, lovely walks, we had great fun playing Rummikub till 11.00 p.m. We also could purchase vegetables from the vast vegetable garden! The weekend was originally planned for anyone associated with our Mercy work, but is open to anyone. See photos below.
Maria Trost Mission Church
Picking Brother Herman’s home-grown vegetables
Bertraud with Father Rafael
The vegetable garden
The providers of the eggs with guest house in the background
On March 21st, we welcomed the new Comboni provincial, Father Jude Burgers, to Mercy House. He offered up Holy Mass for us in our play centre. He said he wanted to hear Rwandese singing, and he got it! For the first time, we sang the entire Mass in the Rwandese, so the singing was understandably vibrant. As also the dancing at the Offertory Procession. Parish priest, Father Arnaldo, concelebrated, which made the occasion even more special to us. We welcome Father Jude and look forward to his association with our Mercy work. We also wish him well for his new responsibilities. See photo below.
At the end of March, Nozizwe, one of our very active co-workers, took Zeng and Moise to an international weekend conference for young people on topical issues, such as global warming, climate change, human trafficking etc. There were young people there from all over the world and it was an extremely enriching experience for our two boys. They even gave a talk to the large crowd on what it is like to be a refugee. We thank Nozizwe for arranging this and for all the other work she does for us. God chooses the best of people for our Mercy work! Nozizwe is a teacher at the International American School in Midrand. See photos below.
(right) Ms. Nozizwe
(from left to right) Zeng and Moise
On 27th July this year our beloved Sister Fidelis celebrates her 90th birthday. Sister was a most devoted and faithful co-worker at Mercy House for as long as 10 years, 2001 – 2011, until her community moved her to their retirement home in Port Alfred. It goes without saying that this was a great loss to us and until today she is sorely missed.
In honour of her service to us, on the first weekend of June, three of us from Mercy House (Eddie, Riccardo and Diana), went down to the Eastern Cape, to celebrate with her, having a special birthday lunch for her. We stayed with Father Robert, who used to live at Mercy House and who now works in East London. He took us down to Port Alfred where we spent a day of joy with her. The pictures below were taken on the happy occasion.
(from left to right) Eddie, Father Robert, Diana, Sister Fidelis and Riccardo
On the 12th of May this year, Danny arrived back at Mercy House. We had not seen him for about 4 years! This was a wonderful experience for us. Danny comes from Goma in the Eastern DRC which till today is a severely war-ravaged area. He was living happily with his family in Goma until one fateful night when he awoke to gunshots in his house. He realised that soldiers were invading their home and crept under his bed. When they searched his room, they did not see him. Once they had gone, he went into the lounge where his family had been watching TV. He found the whole family lying dead in pools of blood on the floor. Danny ran to his aunt nearby. Shortly after he got there the soldiers came to her house also. He watched them beating his uncle to death and assaulting his aunt. She survived, but fled as soon as she could with the children and arrived in South Africa some weeks later. This was in 2011. Danny ended up staying at Mercy house where he was warmly welcomed, while his aunt and her children stayed at a shelter for women. We got Danny into school where he did very well. Due to problems she had here, the aunt decided to leave South Africa after 3 years, and took Danny with her. We were very sad.
At the beginning of May this year, Danny called us and told us of the terrible situation in the Zimbabwean refugee camp where they were living. He begged to return to us. Through a series of amazing happenings this became possible and, with the aunt’s approval, he returned to Mercy House with David, his close friend, also an orphan from Goma, on the 12th of May this year. We are very happy to have Danny back.
By now Danny is in school, and is delighted to be there, studying really hard, to make up for all the schooling he has missed. As he is very strongly motivated, we believe he will do well. To our amazement, David even got a job within a week of arrival, cutting hair. We thank God and praise Him for this wonderful privilege he has given to us, in allowing Danny to return. Welcome Danny and David. See photos below.
Danny and David
We are proud of our excellent artist, Zeng, who has now completed his training in Multimedia and has even been offered a job. This does not surprise us, because he is an outstanding young man, with excellence as his aim in everything he does. He deserves this amazing good fortune of walking straight into a job – at a time when unemployment is rife in our country. May your pathway continue to be blessed Zeng, as you so well deserve. The graphic at the header of our update has been done by him, just one of the many he has designed for us.