Every day large numbers of Venezuelan migrants try to reach Chile via Peru. The solidarity of the Focolare community in Lima with concrete gestures thanks to Providence that doesn’t wait.
“A few small gestures are enough to save the world,” says the writer and poet Edith Bruck. And this is what we try to do every day to help those in need, especially the Venezuelan migrants who pass through the Juan Carlos Duque Centre linked to the Focolare community in Lima, Peru.
On the way to Chile
C. is one of those who helps out at the Juan Carlos Duque Centre. A few evenings ago she was able to embrace her sister again after not having seen eachother for four years! She is on her way to Chile with her husband and child, hoping to cross the border through the really cold desert. We were able to give them a suitcase of warm clothes, which we received through Providence. There are many Venezuelans trying, not without risk, to get into Chile to join their relatives. The solidarity among these people is so strong despite the suffering that accompanies them.
So we can clothe Jesus
Another person who works at the Juan Carlos Duque Centre told us about a Venezuelan couple who were in Peru for four years and have been in Lima for almost three months. All they had was a mattress to sleep on, a bedspread that was not warm enough for this season’s cold weather (winter has started) and a small cooker they borrowed but needed to return. They needed sheets, dishes, glasses, clothes and size 12 shoes! To our amazement, amongst the Providence that had arrived we found a pair of size 12 shoes! We received so much Providence and it was just what they needed. “Now we can clothe Jesus so that he doesn’t suffer from the cold…” we said. Thanks also to donations from UNHCR (UN refugee agency) we have been able to meet this family’s needs. You can imagine their joy. Just 40 minutes after their request for help, we were back in contact with them and able to give them everything they needed.
Barbara, one of our group dies
But then we received a phone call from Arequipa: ‘We are really having a very hard time. Our tenant and great friend Barbara from Venezuela has died unexpectedly. She was about to turn 29. We were in shock but my mother, my brother and I immediately said our YES to God’s will in that moment that was so difficult when it is not easy to understand God’s plans. It was about loving this suffering and being able to pass on the Father’s Mercy and Love to her brother and cousins”. Barbara had visited our Arequipa office just a few days earlier to collect a heavy blanket and a kitchen kit donated by the UNHCR, and we had added something else. She was delighted with the Providence and we were sure that He would continue to help us from up there with His Providence that is never lacking.
And as we were speaking of Providence, the Juan Carlos Duque Centre’s bell rang again unexpectedly. It was the UNHCR giving us much more than what was requested for our migrants: 100 washable face masks; 216 bars of soap and 5 parcels with 72 blankets… the hundredfold!