APUFRAM International is dedicated to supporting the vision of Fr. Emil Cook and APUFRAM: helping the poor help themselves through Christ-centered education at sites in Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
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La Barca Campaign
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Thank you for your participation. Simply by shopping and searching the Internet, you have raised over $350 for APUFRAM.
Together we are making a difference!
Ash Wednesday began before dawn in single digit snowbound Boston. Following late afternoon Mass said by Father Emil, the day ended with an evening meal and prayers at the APUFRAM Visitor Center. An abrupt transition, but a chance to begin the Lenten journey helping serve the mission of APUFRAM in a personal way.
As we did in 2013, the Board members of APUFRAM International (AI) traveled to Honduras for a joint meeting with APUFRAM's Board of Directors. The two boards have built a level of collegiality that has been greatly enhanced by these face-to-face meetings. This trip reinforced the fact that we work together with mutual respect towards the goal of ensuring the success of the children and families of APUFRAM.
Two of our AI board members had proceeded the rest of us. Roger Koziolek, with his daughter and son-in-law, spent about a week painting the exteriors of the girls' dormitory houses at Guadalupe. Karean Wagner was there with her group from Green Bay building a church close to the boys' school at La Villa. The work of the rest of us began the next day.
For several years APUFRAM employees have had problems getting visas to accompany Father Emil on his annual fundraising tour. We met at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa with the Consul General and two consular officers who explained the steps currently needed to successfully obtain visas. The following day we met with the Vicar General serving Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez. We explained that, although Father Emil now functions as a priest under Cardinal Rodriguez's authority, APUFRAM would benefit if Father Emil's status were clarified so that he would be able to present a letter of good standing on his visits to the States. The Vicar General committed to discuss this with Cardinal Rodriguez.
The APUFRAM Board of Directors is made up of an impressive group of APUFRAM graduates who hold significant positions in a number of areas throughout Honduras. Our meeting with the APUFRAM Board covered a number of issues that had been discussed between the two boards informally by email over several months. The APUFRAM Board is greatly appreciative of the generosity of our supporters. This school year saw an increase in enrollment in a number of APUFRAM's schools thanks to the increase in donations. APUFRAM is planning to reopen the student housing at La Barca, and is building a fund to enable the facility to be self-sustaining; our Board is directly participating in this effort. Father Emil, along with APUFRAM President Miguel Buezo and AI Board member Denise Mason, recently visited the Dominican Republic to check on the feasibility of groups from the U.S. working there while Honduras safety improves. AI Board member and Nebraska farmer Cindy Glaser has been working to explore with APUFRAM several agricultural opportunities including grape production. The APUFRAM Board expressed their interest in projects that could add to efforts at reaching complete self-sufficiency.
After the meetings the AI Board traveled to several of the APUFRAM schools, visited an experimental farm, and were lead in retreat by Father Emil at the APUFRAM guesthouse on the north coast. As I write this on Palm Sunday, the Lenten journey begun at APUFRAM continues. I reflect on our discussion with Father Emil of Pope Francis' call to each of us to meet those we hope to serve where they are. We are all fortunate that, by participating with APUFRAM in its service to the very poor, we are fulfilling the evangelizing role of meeting those whom we have the ability to help where they are.
A Letter from APUFRAM
Flores, Villa de San Antonio, Comayagua
Greetings this Spring and may God bless you!
We thank all those who support our efforts and projects by sponsoring children, volunteering, and praying; we are glad to share that we are all working to benefit those who need it the most.
Recently we had our brothers and sisters from APUFRAM International visit us in Honduras; during the visit there was a joint board meeting between APUFRAM International and APUFRAM Honduras. Board members were able to share ideas and projects, and it was a great visit for everyone. APUFRAM International board members traveled throughout Honduras with Wilmer Carvajal, Executive Director, and Fr. Emil Cook, Spiritual Director. As a result of our joint meetings, we came up with a series of ideas to become self sufficient.
The children enrolled in APUFRAM schools are enjoying some midyear vacations visiting their families. Those who don't have a family to go to stay with us; APUFRAM plans several fun and religious activities.
We continue to work hard to reopen Apufram's boarding facility in La Barca, and we are hopeful that all of our efforts result in this goal being completed.
Once again, thank you for all your support, and we invite you to continue assisting us in every possible way to move the project ahead.
José Miguel Buezo Ulloa
President, APUFRAM Board of Directors
Letter from Fr. Emil Cook
FLORES, VILLA DE SAN ANTONIO, COMAYAGUA
Greetings to you all in this Easter Season. I pray that all is going well with you and that the weather is getting into the warmer months. Here it is blistering hot, and we are in the middle of our summer temperatures.
We have had some four or five groups come from the States to work in our mission outreach. Several of
those groups built a church in a nearby village. for which the parish priest and people are very grateful. Other groups worked in one of our APUFRAM sites to help us in our education work. The Americans working with the local people here have done much to create good friendships and understanding. It has been a wonderful experience for everyone. Hopefully, we will have a picture of the new church in the next APUFRAM newsletter.
The students have now finished their first quarter of the school year and are into the second quarter. It is
good to see so many students really enjoying the classes and the adventure of leaming. The poverty is so tragic here.
We pray and work toward the continued goal of serving more and more of the children of poverty. This really
opens up a future full of hope and dignity for them and their future families.
We are hoping this year to do a lot of campaigning to re-open our project for very poor children on the grade school level in La Barca. About two hours from here, this site is located halfway between the mission in Flores and the north coast. We began it after the last big hurricane (Hurricane Mitch) hit Honduras. We had to close it several years ago due to lack of funds. There is such a need for poor children to have the opportunity to study. Without this opportunity, the vast majority will just have a life of barely existing--never having enough money for food, for housing, for medicine or schooling. We have placed around 50 or 60 begging bottles in different places, such as banks, restaurants and stores. Also, we collect plastic bottles and cans to sell. Reopening La Barca will provide more space for these poor children, and it will change their lives for the better and for good. If we do nothing, more and more will try to go to the States illegally.
In a couple of months I am going to have to start working on my annual three months visit to the States. I
don't like to be gone for so long from the mission here, but it is totally necessary. It is wonderful, however, to see so many of our friends during those months. The trip will take place during the same three months as last year: August, September and October. I will also be getting cataracts removed during my stay in the States.
We now have the statues and crucifixes for which many people have made donations. In the next newsletter
we will have a couple of pictures of all these statues and crucifixes. The various villages are extremely happy to get
them, and they are very grateful to the people who donated them.
I will bring this to a close. We are all so very grateful for all the blessings and helps that you, our friends, have
given to our poor here for their material and spiritual needs. God bless you all, and have a great summer.
Love, joy and peace.
Fr. Emil Cook
Volunteer Experience - Terry Kerscher
To APUFRAM Supporters, Friends and Family,
In February a group of Northeast Wisconsin Catholics traveled to APUFRAM Honduras to work on a chapel in a small community outside of La Paz. Though we were able to complete the block walls of the church in the 12 days we were there, our journey was about much more than building a church.
For me personally, this mission trip seemed unlikely just a few months before. Commitments at work continuously pulled me back from fully committing to participate in the trip. Just four weeks before the departure date, during five separate occasions, God's gentle nudging during a wedding, a funeral, and a couple of weekend Masses gave me the encouragement and conviction to set aside life's other challenges and focus on my faith and helping others. With the blessing of a very faith-filled boss and a very understanding and supportive spouse and family, I was loading up on an airplane and off to Honduras with eleven others from all walks of life. I soon realized that most of the group was very experienced with mission work and APUFRAM in particular. Many on our team had been to Honduras several times over the years and seemed to know the routine very well.
Upon arriving in Honduras, after visiting the main campus of APUFRAM and unloading at our visitor center guesthouse (where we would stay for the next couple of weeks), it was obvious that we were in a special place. Many others gave selflessly of their time, talents, and financial support for years before us building school after school, church after church, dormitory after dormitory. The APUFRAM mission had been in the works for decades, founded, nurtured and led by Father Emil Cook (a living saint in my opinion) with the support of hundreds of others. Tens of thousands of children were and are able to get a faith-based education and move on to grow and support their communities in Christ.
Getting to know the team we traveled with, the children of APUFRAM, and those we were working with in the local community were the real blessings of the experience. Though we were all from different walks of life, we quickly established a special bond and understanding of each other. Within a few days we all learned our roles and worked together to do something most of us had never done before. Each day started and ended with prayer and an opportunity to dig deeper into our faith.
Having two deacons on the trip with us and several others well studied in their faith gave me an opportunity to deepen my understanding of Catholicism. Though I grew up in a Catholic family and attended Catholic primary and college level schooling, I found I still had many questions about Catholicism. Two weeks away, off the grid, wrapped by faith-filled people gave me an opportunity to focus on my faith at a whole new level. I thank others for the patience they had with all my questions delving into many topics from the history of Catholicism to the key drivers behind Vatican II. It was a chance for me to piece together some voids in my understanding of the Church, and I am very thankful for that special opportunity.
We were all blessed with the chance to get to know and understand the people of this small village in central Honduras--a faith-filled and inviting group that was easy to get to know and love even though we spoke different languages. From the children at school in the missions to the adults and families in the community where we worked, there seemed to be no shortage of love for one another and for our team from Northeast WI. For me personally, a special connection with our jobsite foreman Edras, his wife Lesley, and their two young children left me with memories for a lifetime. Edras--an unassuming man of faith, a father, a musician, and, as we learned very quickly, a very skilled mason and carpenter--became a friend in a very short period of time. Edras was a gift from God for all of us since our planned group foreman from Wisconsin had to drop out of the trip just days before with the illness of his spouse. Edras stepped in within a couple of days and provided the guidance and direction we needed to accomplish our goal. He continues to drive towards the completion of the chapel and clearly is a pillar in their local community. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know Edras and the people of the community in the time we were there.
I cherish the time we were able to play football, Frisbee, and basketball with the children of APUFRAM. They clearly are learning and growing in a faith-filled community and will share that faith with many generations to come. Many of the leaders of APUFRAM were at one time students of the mission and are now giving back and paying it forward--an incredible model that is building more and more sustainability with each passing day. It was great to meet Edras' brother Miguel, who also was a graduate of APUFRAM and now is an attorney nearby who is heavily supporting the very mission that gave him a chance. What a blessing!
At the end of the day, what stands out for me most in the entire experience was the impact that one man has been able to make in a relatively short few decades of time--a humble, soft spoken man with a vision and a mission to provide opportunities for academic and spiritual education to the children of Honduras. I want to thank Father Emil for his dedication and commitment to the children and the support he gave to us so that we could play a small role in assisting in the mission.
God Bless! Pray for and support the missions in whatever way that you can!
Editors Note: Funding for the purchase of the materials required for construction of the Las Lomas church was made possible through the concerted efforts of dedicated individuals and groups, including Knights of Columbus councils, from the Green Bay Diocese in Wisconsin.
Here's a link to a good article about the building of the church!
Please pray for the children of Honduras and the Dominican Republic
Give us this day the graces to reach out to all of those in need--those who are weak, hungry, homeless, and suffering.
Help us to know that, with your love, all things are possible. With the support of others, we can make a difference in the lives of those in need, providing them with hope, dreams, and a future.
We ask these things in your name.
How can you help support the mission of APUFRAM?
Pray for us!
Plan a trip to Honduras or Dominican Republic - it's easier than you think!
- Sponsor a child for $30 a month, either individually or as a group
- Make a donation in honor of a special event - birthday, anniversary, holiday
- Make a donation in memory of loved ones
Want to make it a family event?
As a family you can adopt a student, pray for them, write to them, and receive letters from them.
Want your child to get involved?
Support Father Emil's bird project!
A child can sponsor a chicken, turkey, duck, or a goose for $3.00 a month.
La Barca Campaign - a Mission in Need
La Barca is a small facility located about halfway between Flores and San Perdro Sula that is owned by APUFRAM and can house up to 30 boys and a housemom or family.
Closed since 2009, La Barca could provide food and housing to boys from the villages in that area if reopened. The children would attend the local public school, transferring to Flores after the sixth grade. As with all APUFRAM projects, La Barca will focus on the mission of God, education, and work, providing students with a solid faith-based education and life skills through agriculture.
It will cost approximately $5,000 per month to operate La Barca. APUFRAM is working to ensure La Barca becomes self-sustaining by participating in a recycling program of plastic bottles and cans. Additional projects for the La Barca facility will include selling eggs, and raising and selling birds obtained from the Flores site (geese, chickens, ducks, etc.) with the hope of covering all maintenance expenses with these projects. Gardens will be planted to offset food expenses. Plans at present are to grow tomatoes, watermelons, peppers, onions, etc. at this site.
APUFRAM International's goal is to raise $35,000 to contribute to the current La Barca endowment fund which earns 10% in interest. Adding this amount to the fund balance would be a great help to APUFRAM as they strive to reach their goal of ensuring that La Barca remains self-sustaining indefinitely.
Donations can be made to APUFRAM International using postal mail or your bank's online payment service, or through PayPal either as a one-time donation or set up as a monthly donation.
For more Information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at APUFRAM International, P.O. Box 10085, Russellville, AR 72812-0085.
THANK YOU and please continue to pray for APUFRAM, Fr. Emil, and the children and mothers of Honduras and the Dominican Republic!
APUFRAM student receives recognition for his design of the APUFRAM International annual Christmas card. This student at Maximilian Kolbe Institute in Flores was presented with a certificate of appreciation from APUFRAM International president, Richard Landrigan.