“Various circumstances forced us to leave Venezuela, our country. Armando had been fired and a letter from Perù had sparked a glimmer of hope. It seemed that God was calling us there.” With these words Ofelia and Armando started to recount their adventure, forced to leave behind their already adult sons Daniel and Felix, to find a home, work, and a future for all in another country. “Without a dime we started to prepare ourselves. We also received a sum to allow us to cover the costs of the journey. It’s traumatic to leave one’s own country. Our daughter had already left for Peru in October, but at the frontier they had taken away her PC and money. On this premise we headed off for the border.”
Armando and Ofelia left everything but brought along a photo of Domenico Mangano: a person of great faith, committed to the Focolare community in central Italy, and a pugnacious politician who died in 2001 and for whom cause for beatification had been initiated recently. “We asked him to take care of our journey.”
«Crossing the border incredibly did not cause any particular difficulties. We crossed over almost as if we were invisible, and a young woman, like an angel, instructed us on what we had to do. After just one check on our baggage we passed, without the pressing crowd that had amassed at the border the days before. We could hardly believe it. We thought that it was due to the help of Domenico, and once again we entrusted ourselves to him. Due to a slight mishap we arrived in Quito and spent the night in the women’s Focolare house. Some members of the local community brought us to dinner and a walk in the day time. After a journey of seven days, we finally got to Lima.”
In Lima, Ofelia and Armando were hosted in the house of Elba and Mario, besides receiving clothing, a food bag and cash. “We visited both focolare houses, and went to Centro Fiore to help prepare Christmas lunch which the communities of Lima offer to girls saved from white slavery, and are guests of the nuns. They were happy. We also met again, Silvano and Nilde, who had left Venezuela before us. Everyone received us with love, and we felt like a real family.”
“On Christmas day a family invited us to their home and after lunch we went for a walk. Now we pray to the Lord to help us find a house and a job. We have undergone so many experiences and we know that Domenico and Chiara Lubich continue to help us from above.
“One night, while we were sleeping,” continued Ofelia “a barefooted girl holding a babe in her arms knocked on our door. It was not our house, but we decided to open just the same, since it seemed that Jesus himself was asking our help. It was the neighbour on the floor above, whose husband was drunk and maltreating her. She told us that up until then she had never dared to knock on another door of the condominium, but that she had seen us some day earlier while we were going down the stairs, and in her heart thought that she could trust us. And now there she was before us.
Armando went to speak to her husband, while I tried to console the young woman. A few days later she was able to return to her apartment and now Armando and that man are continually in contact. We are overjoyed in having loved Jesus in that family. As to us, God will guide us to understand what he wants from us.” But with a renewed hope: “We are certain that the detachment from our family, our country and friends, will bear fruit.”