Gloria’s Notes From the Fields

“Christ has no hands on earth but yours.”    – From a Prayer of St. Theresa of Avila


June 30, 2018

Migrant Ministry Volunteer
Our Saints-in-the-Making

I see it quite often, but it still amazes me how compassionate and giving the Drivers of Faith are with the farmworkers.
A few days ago, a camp asked if we could provide an electric stove for them since theirs was not functioning. With 16 men at this camp, having a functioning electric stove is crucial. I sent an email to our Migrant Ministry volunteers to be on the lookout for someone donating a stove and a driver readily stepped up and covered the cost. This person volunteers their time every Sunday driving the men to Mass.
This family is flexible with their time as well. This past Sunday they arrived in separate cars at the camp and they learned the usual 8 workers weren’t there. They hadn’t returned from the grocery store because the grower’s van had broken down at the store. Two workers were at the camp and were ready to come to Mass. They did not complain because they drove two cars to pick up just 2 workers; they understood their troubles.
I was speaking to another Driver of Faith volunteer about someone not being able to sleep at night because it was so hot in their trailer and he whispered he would like to help get an air conditioner for that camp. This volunteer drives every Sunday and has great love for the Migrant Ministry.
Another volunteer found out the camp we were going to for Mass and dinner during the evening did not have a grill; he bought one for them along with cooking utensils. He did it with such great love for the farm workers – it was great to see.
I strongly believe God is forming the Migrant Ministry drivers. They give of themselves, but they receive much more through the mercy of God.
May God bless this ministry and its volunteers!

June 19, 2018

Today has been a marvelous day.  I was having a cup of coffee before I left for work this morning before 8 a.m. and I received a call from Jose at one of the camps. 

 

They have a day off today because the heat index is going to be very high.   Can I pick them up, so they can volunteer in the parish vegetable garden?  Absolutely!   Nancy W. and I picked up 7 workers and they were so happy to help.  They worked so fast and for being out there for just 1 hour and a half they accomplished so much. 

God bless these men.  We gave them hats, toothpaste, toothbrushes, rice, beans, and of course zucchini and onions from the garden. 

They give us much more than we give them.

Blessings.

June 4, 2018 evening

Farmworkers from one of the camps are finally working!  They ended their workday at 8:30 pm.

Two of the workers have been ill for several days and they stopped by the clinic table during the Sunday Migrant meal to see the volunteer nurses, Rachel M. and Miriam C.  They were referred to the medical clinic through the Farm Worker Project and they have appointments set up.   Please keep them in your prayers for good health.

June 4, 2018.

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.  John 14:12-14

Octavio, one of our farm workers, is a devout catholic and is an usher at the 5 pm Mass.  He has a special place in my heart because he was the first farm worker I spoke with while transporting him to Mass in November 2017.  Octavio invited the other camp down the road (owned by the same grower) to Mass this year and ridership has grown.  Yesterday, we transported 12.

In speaking with the folks at the new camp, I learned they hadn’t been working since their arrival and the ones that had been working were no longer.  They didn’t have funds for daily meals or for supporting their families back home.  They were desperate for their families and themselves. The grower told them work wouldn’t be available until the plant matured and perhaps they wouldn’t be working for 2 or 3 weeks.  I didn’t know how we were going to feed 27 men for such a long period of time.

With Migrant Ministry funds, I shopped for the men twice and then God stepped in through various parishioners.  I got a call from Ray and De O. from the Fuquay Food Bank asking if Martha’s Ministry (food pantry) would like a food donation.  They had received double the amount of food from the Post Office food drive weekend and they didn’t have space to put it all.  Absolutely!  The Angel working at the office reception had an SUV and she and I went and loaded up for the pantry and the Farmworkers.  A few days after that the Food Bank gave two more donations for the farm workers.  Ray and De gave another donation after that. 

Denise F. heard about our plight and she and her neighbor Colleen M. organized a food drive in their neighborhood through FB.  She and Mike J. delivered the food directly to the camp.  They are so grateful to be doing God’s work.

Camp Agape donated food to Martha’s Ministry and I took that to the camp as well.  This is cooked food for a children’s camp and when they have leftovers they bring it to the food pantry.  Wonderful people!

One day I was speaking with someone who I didn’t know was a saint-in-the-making after she inquired how I was doing and I had just returned from a camp.  After I explained the camp’s situation, she pulled out her checkbook.  A day after that, I got a call from someone wanting to make a financial donation to the Migrant Ministry. 

This is a wonderful ministry and I’m so blessed to see God at work every day.  I’m a perfectionist (somewhat), and I worry about the Farmworkers and the ministry and have found the more I worry and hold on tight, even in my personal life, the harder it is to see the hand of God in everything and everyone.

Let Go and Let God.

P.S.  I’ll let you know if the 27 are back at work today.  Leaving for the camp in a moment.


May 9, 2018.  

One of the camps hasn’t been active in recent years, so I was pleasantly surprised when the contact person, David, answered my text. Currently, there are 4 farm workers and should be fully populated sometime in June.
Their top request was quilts because they get cold with the air conditioner running at night. I’m sure after working in the hot sun all day, their bodies aren’t used to cold temps. Denise and I drove out to the camp yesterday while they were working and dropped off quilts, pillows, rosaries, image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shirts, prayer cards, and invitation to come to St. Bernadette for Mass.

This camp is unique. As we drove off the main road and onto a dirt road/path, we passed a large dog kennel with dogs stamped with numbers. The road/path opened to a clearing and two trailers connected with a half trailer were nestled next to dense woods that gave a lovely shade. To the left of the trailers was a nice hammock tied to two trees. The hammock seemed like it was brought from Mexico (multi-colored red and yellow/orange).

This is a perfect camp for Fr. Fernando to hold Mass with plenty of parking and cool shade! Plans are in the works for a Thursday in June. Blessings!


April 24, 2018.  

Rainy day today so farmworkers are not working out in the fields.  I visited a camp to welcome a newly arrived worker with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, rosary, prayer card, clothing, and blanket.  He is armed for work!

The men live in neglected trailers with overgrown weeds around them and one would think these men are not happy to be there.  The grower takes them fishing and spends time with them when they are not working so the men don’t mind living at this camp.

 


April 22, 2018. 

I visited a camp and the men were very happy because they finally started to work for the grower.  Their hours are long, from 7 am to 7 pm.  I will not complain when I need to work beyond my normal hours.

Drivers of Faith has many saints-in-the-making.  I learned one of them helped to donate a new microwave to a camp today.  The driver saw their need and while the workers were attending Mass, the driver went to the store and purchased one for them.  Blessings.


April 18, 2018. 

Denise and I visited a camp in Angier today at Leo’s urging. Unfortunately, they were working in the fields and couldn’t speak with them. One of the grower’s staff members said we could go into the kitchen and leave things there. Normally, we have to tiptoe around grower personnel because we are not welcome.

This grower is refreshing. When we walked through the kitchen door we noticed festive ribbon hanging from the door sill and a white poster board taped to the inside door. The poster board welcomed the workers to their second home (in Spanish).  The dining area was pleasantly furnished with dark wood chairs and upholstered. The tables seated four. There were about 4 refrigerators with white poster board signs on each welcoming them again and instructions to take what they needed. All signs written with colorful markers.

On the other side were stoves and cabinets.  All very clean.

God Bless this grower and his family.

We also visited another camp and learned 8 workers arrived on Saturday. They haven’t been able to work because of the cold nights we have been having. They have a little rice, beans, tortillas, and meat to make soup to make it stretch. The grower will take them grocery shopping on Friday but they haven’t been able to work so funds are low. I’mgoing on a Costco run tomorrow for them. We at least left them with toiletries, quilts, towels, etc.

Polo has been coming to St Bernadette for 20 years and has taught himself English using an App. He spoke in English to us and he was terrific!  He asked about Linda  and Rob L. He didn’t know Linda’s last name. He remembers the nuns in the early years of St Bernadette and the Masses in the social hall.

I asked him for a testimonial.  Nice gentleman. If you have a moment, please visit with him during the dinners. He is 46 yrs old but this hard life has aged him. He is a gentle soul.


April 12, 2018.  Thanks to the generosity of St. Bernadette parishioners, we provided supplies and rosaries!


April 11, 2018.  Today I went to a camp to meet the 8 Migrant Workers who arrived on Sunday.

 They aren’t working yet, so I brought them quilts, towels, shampoo, clothes and some food.  They were very grateful for the necessities, but they were most excited and their eyes really lit up when I gave them Blessed Mother candles and 3 crucifix!!! 

Muchas gracias!!!