During the night there was a great storm, the rivers overflowed and the roads were quite damaged, so, it wasn’t possible to go to Fas at morning. The rivers were really overflowing and the only vehicle of Utai was at the other side of the rivers. But a man came to tell me that he would make the best effort to take me to Fas. At two or three in the afternoon he arrived with a Land Cruiser of the deforesting company that was nearby.
Before going out, Gabriel, a youth of 18 years old came. I didn’t know him before, but he just told me that he wanted to accompany me during these two weeks… He seems very good. Someone told me that he’s studying in the high school at Vanimo and that there he is a friend of a priest whom he helps as an altar server. Today, in the trip we made on foot, he has carried everything and also he prayed the rosary quite good. It was really providential since his family is from Fas and he knows everybody there; he knows also how to be an altar server and how to prepare everything for mass.
We departed in the Land Cruiser. At the front was Fr. Fredrib and I was at the back of the van with others who wanted to accompany me, among them were some girls of the SSVM mercy house that are now on vacations. We were very packed; I was standing up… but, everybody was very happy. In the way I realized that the driver was a little drunk…! It was really a great danger, and even more because of these roads… I entrusted ourselves together with some other passengers to Our Lady of Luján.
After a half an hour journey we reached a place in which it is impossible to go ahead by car.
Going to Fas there are two ways; one was closed (the deforesting company closes it so that the people wouldn’t steal the gasoline), the other was block by a fallen tree that fell down the night before. So, we started to think what we could do. Maybe we could go back to Utai and return the following day; but after so many difficulties at finding a vehicle, it would be better not to take risk… and also I would have lost one or two days more. So, I decided that we would go on foot.
Immediately Gabriel, the boy who was accompanying me, took up the sacristy that was in a large and heavy baggage, and the others took their own things. We walked two hours among a very beautiful and mountainous landscape. I remembered the hikes at the Atuel’s canyon, and as usual, with the youth it was a very pleasant hike.
The same man who searched a vehicle for us was accompanying me while walking, but suddenly he went ahead of us. He didn’t stop for a second in order to arrive before us and to announce to the people that the priest was coming. Later I was told that he gave them some instructions and threatened them by saying that he will return to see how they have treated the priest.
After walking a while I decided to write all these things down. At the beginning I didn’t want to do so because it seemed to be a little showy or that it could vitiate the rectitude of intention: “O THE MISSIONARY!”… But this is the normal scruple of the one who isn’t humble and thinks that what he has is because of him and so he doesn’t want to show or share it. Along the way, going up and downhill with the slippers, holding the heavy backpack and with the entire cassock sweated, I realized all the graces that God was giving to me; the possibility of coming to such a place to preach the Gospel, the grace of undergoing these difficulties and travels with the only purpose of announcing the Gospel, of carrying forth the grace and salvation to these souls… I really don’t deserve all of these. It is an honor and an undeserved grace, and so, I have to share it. I don’t have to boast; on the contrary, if I didn’t share it, I would be a selfish and unjust fool, because I’m here as an IVE missionary. My joys and difficulties are also yours. In the future someone else will take my place and I will take his. This is not my work, but the work of Institute and of the Church.
We arrived at the sunset. The two towns and the small school are in the valley, and going downhill we had a very beautiful landscape of the place. It was possible to see the two towns, Fas and Figeri, separated from each other by two kilometers and both are at the riverside; and between them, on the other side, the little school with two humble huts for the teachers. A little forward is the house of the nurse with a small place for first aides.
They didn’t know that I was coming. But anyway, they quickly prepared a house, they tidied it up and they put a mattress and a motorcycle battery so I would have some light. We arrived and we went to the river to have a bath. This thing of arriving tired, dirty and very hot and going to have a bath in a river is very nice!, you relax a lot…
Maybe if you had to do it every day it would tire you, but in these circumstances is very relaxed. You take advantage to speak… Everywhere they have a marked place, the “wara man”, man’s water. Only they can go there, and they take the bath like Adam (naked)…
I was able to speak with the teacher of catechism, and he told me that immediately during the night he would go to the closest communities to announce that the priest has already arrive and that the following day there would be Mass in the morning. When I asked him if 7am was very early for the mass he answered me that there was no problem, and that everybody would be very happy and would come in any hour.
They told me also that in Figeri had done a very beautiful and big church, and that nobody had yet celebrated Mass there, so they asked me to go to bless it and to inaugurate it…
What a big grace for me and how much is the necessity of priest! They’d had this church ready since some while ago but there was no priest to bless it.