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My Mesmerizing Maronites

A friend of mine told me once, my friends are your friends. I have been reporting about their missions for three years now. Everything is basically the same from the mundane and ordinary to the monumental and spiritual.

So, I asked Mr. George Nasr what was different this time around. And he said, well you know their eyes are not the same. I implored what he meant, and suggested maybe it was a post-covid aftermath. No, he exclaimed it is something else.

Looking back the first time I did a story on their mission, I went along with them as an observer. The next ones were in-depth interviews. However, the last and most recent one, I was able to have lunch with the twenty-member-team.

From my analysis, having seen the battlefield against poverty. Second, speaking with the so-called General. And third, breaking bread with the so-called soldiers of Christ, I became enlightened.

I suppose, Mr. Nasr was on to something. He related that when he went to the mental health facility the last time he was here, he exclaimed that it was a place deemed even unfit for animals, now it is a lot better. I saw a news story on GMA today that a cat was eating a dead cat in a cat pound.

Last Sunday, I was able to catch up with an old schoolmate and oddly enough, we chatted regarding the plane accident that occurred in Latin America. The passengers survived on the cadavers. Mother Nature and survival of the fittest, maybe. Beggars cannot be choosers.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The people who were waiting for the food rations were desperate. Simply put, their eyes were full of hope-- would there be enough for everyone though? Hoping against hope.

The Maronites were like real-life heroes without capes. Mr. Nasr and the entire team were just doing their job. However, to those poorest of the poor they were more than just that-- to them the Maronites are the answers to their fervent prayers --angels who are heaven-sent.

A team member, Mr David El-Hachem, shared that he witnessed the greatness of Dr. Wenny Olivan-Villegas, a local, in the dental outreach. Being in the same field, he regarded her as a “abu hakim” or to say that in English would be a great individual. Collaborations make everything much easier. Everybody shines. We need all the help we can get.

Inspite of the dire, depressing, and despondent conditions, the team had to face each working day: during our lunch the Holy Spirit was there, very akin to the Pentecost. The friendship and camaraderie filled the dining hall with love that empowered them to serve without regrets or even reservations. Giving until it hurts.

The Maronites on Mission 2024 delivered the succeeding assistance: 1) medical, dental & pharmaceutical necessities for 924 residents of Barangays San Rafael, Gawad Kalinga & Balatas, 2) medical & pharmaceutical necessities for 60 residents of Salongigi, 3) medical, dental, & pharmaceutical necessities for 70 deaf and mute children & their families assisted by Joseph Gualandi Sisters, 4) medical & pharmaceutical necessities for 50 abandoned elders assisted by sisters of Missionaries of Charity, 5) medical & medicines for 50 elders & 15 orphaned children with severe disability assisted by brothers of Missionaries of the Poor, 6) construction of a new home for a family with 11 children, 7) renovation of the roof for a home housing 3 families sharing the same, 8) feeding and visiting patients in the mental health facility.

Moreover, the total aid package breakdown is; 9k kg of rice, 4k packets of noodles, 6k sachets of Tang, 4k sachets of milk, 5k toothbrushes, 5k sachets of toothpaste, 2k cans of tuna, 2k cans of fish, 2k cans of beef, 1k bags of vermicelli, 10k boxes of medication, building materials for construction of 2 homes, school supplies, wheelchairs, mobility aids, hospital beds for the sick, and 10 x custom built adult-sized-cribs.

Another question I asked, Mr. Nasr was, what keeps them going. He explains, “As a father of two beautiful boys, I often reflect during my missions how hard these parents work to help their children survive each day. My heart breaks for them. My commitment is to never forget them and to return every year so they know that someone loves and supports them too.

Furthermore, Mr. George Nasr in his own words, says, “Thank you to MOP Brothers Naga/Manila, MOC Sisters Naga, Joseph Gualandi Sisters, Ate Lydia, Dr. Wenny, & Nurse Mariz for your hospitality during our stay in the Philippines. Thank you to Maronite Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay and MoM Chaplin Fr. Maroun El-Kazzi for all your support, well wishes and prayers. We came, we loved, we served. We, the missionaries, are the ‘hands and feet of Jesus’.”

The mission was accomplished on January of 2024. The 20 member-missionary-team from Sydney, Australia is strongly supported by the generosity of sponsors marked by an annual charity event where they gather to show their love for the poorest of the poor. We are sincerely grateful indeed. Until next year, friends of Jesus. Amen.

Special Mention to Father Nono, Monsignor Buentiempo, Rhea and Ate Rani. Any topic recommendation or just want to say hello? Send a message to: Email: | And, please do subscribe @jameszcarpio on YouTube. Thank You. May you be inspired by The Holy Spirit and God Bless!


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