These updates are provided by a team of lay missionaries helping the Missionary Oblates in Tijuana, Mexico.
You Are the Lawyers of the Neediest Persons
Francisca is a 74-year-old woman with Parkinson’s disease. Half of her body its paralyzed and she also suffers from dementia. Both conditions are progressive. Her daughter, Maria, is her caregiver. She was doing a good job but had to go to Sinaloa, Mexico, to attend to the death of her father. During the month she was gone, Francisca’s son took care of her. However, this did not work out too well as she hurt her back and developed several bedsores.
This is when our medical team got involved. Three of the bedsores were very bad and are being treated. Also, the team was able to provide Francisca with a special mattress designed to stave off bedsores. Our friends from Maximum Impact donated five such mattresses recently. Generally, these are too expensive for the people living in our parish, and often they do not know about them. The team has also taught the family how to treat the bedsores and provided medication.
Francisca always looks depressed and sad, but it is heartening to see Maria talking to her with so much love, patience, and compassion. Maria likes to kid her mom to get a laugh. Maria says that is as much to help herself, given the difficulty of seeing her mother in such a condition. Maria told us she struggles a lot about expenses since buying diapers and medicine puts a significant strain on finances. She thanks God that she usually manages without imposing on her brothers. We realize how hard it is for her to ask for help. Our biggest challenge sometimes to overcome is the pride instilled in the Mexican culture.
We remind ourselves of a quote the Oblates teach; “You are the lawyers of the neediest persons.” So, we talk for them and ask for what they need. Maria offered to provide advice to any other family that we visit who must deal with the same situation. She has learned a lot.
God Will Provide
Kasandra is a 39-year-old woman who has had arthritis for 20 years. Her hands and feet are numb. Because she has never been able to work, she does not qualify for government health insurance. Her husband must work, so is not available to help her during the day. Making only $100 a week, he also is not able to afford health care for his wife and their children.
We have been helping with food baskets. Kasandra says she is too embarrassed to ask for government help, and further does not like to go out in public because of her appearance. She mentions how great the Church has been and is especially appreciative of the fact that they are very polite and compassionate about her condition and appearance. Apparently, there are people, including some of her own relatives that have made fun of her appearance.
We have invited her to Church and have explained to her the various programs the Oblates have facilitated that she could benefit from, including the roof project and the scholarship and taekwondo programs that would help her children. Kasandra promises to get more involved with the Church, saying she does want the best for her family, and she believes God will provide.
The Oblate Family Was the First to Help
Maria Sanchez and her family attend our Oblate parish in Tijuana, Mexico. Recently her house caught on fire and everything was lost.
The Oblates immediately sprang into action to help Maria and her children. They provided them with food, clothing, and temporary housing. Then a wonderful blessing occurred. The Oblates, because of their generous benefactors, were able to build Maria and her family a new house.
During the construction, Maria slept on the ground at the construction site to prevent gangs from stealing tools and construction material. Today, Maria has a three-bedroom, one-bath house with a small kitchen and living room.
When sharing her story, Maria always makes one point crystal clear: “The Oblate family was the first one to help.”