I November 2012, All Saints Day
“ Dancan, what do you hope someday that you will be able to do? “ “ One day I hope I will serve my God forever.” “ Dancan, what is the meaning of your life?” “The meaning of my life is to stay good with people and pray to the Lord.”
– Words of Dancan when he was learning to love God more.
Greetings of peace and love from your brother and family here in Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa. We pray for you every day and hope this letter finds you doing your best. Life has been very difficult for us. The death of our beloved Dancan on September 4th has been very painful. He was only 22 when he died in a terrible car accident. His body was thrown from the car and I had to identify him at the morgue, arrange for his post-mortem, look for a funeral home and make all the arrangements. Because Dancan was like a real son to me, all this was extremely difficult. I celebrated his funeral Mass here at St. Michaels where I had baptized Dancan in 2008 and where the Cardinal had confirmed him. His burial was 8 hours into the country where Dancan grew up. I celebrated another funeral Mass there in rustic conditions. Mass was outside with chickens joining us and the cows looking on. Dancan was then buried outside the home of his relatives where many tears were shed. Unfortunately the night before Dancan’s first funeral, his brother Peru was coming home from work on a motorcycle when a drunken driver hit him head on breaking Peru’s right hand and leg. Peru was taken to the hospital where I attended him till 4:00am. He was not able to come to his brother’s funeral because he needed surgery, so he was not able to see his brother before he was buried. I have been caring for Dancan, Peru and their younger brother Clinton for many years now. Thanks again to those of you who helped us with these extra expenses. Dancan was extremely close to me and his death has been very painful. Dancan was a most kind and loving member of our family, always helpful and smiling. He loved to play with the little children to sing and dance, and he liked wearing the Rosary. Dancan’s quotes at the top of this letter indicate the depth of his faith. I used them as part of his funeral homily.
In July, the United Nations declared that 2.2 million Kenyans needed relief. Our food prices continue to be very high. More than 2 out of 5 Kenyans are under the age of 15, that is, 43% of our population is below the age of 15. Children are neglected and poverty becomes worse. In the slums, where most of the children I care for come from, there is not enough water. Sewage comes right to their door step. We continue to suffer from violence: grenades thrown into packed churches killing many and injuring others. In our Tana Delta area, 108 men, women and children were killed in raids because of livestock and property disputes and 12,000 were displaced. We do need your prayers and help so that we can survive.
I have now been in Kenya over 9 years (I worked 2 ½ years in Uganda before coming here so now I’m in East Africa for 11 ½ years). I have been teaching at the seminary of The Contemplative Evangelizers of The Heart of Christ, one of the many religious congregations here in Africa. On October 16th, 5 of my students were ordained deacons and 9 other students were ordained priests. We thank God for the gift of vocations! I continue to work with the Missionaries of Charity (the Sisters of Mother Teresa). Besides offering Mass and Confessions for them every week, I also give them spiritual talks as well as doing the funerals and burials for their crippled children. I also assist the parish of St. Michaels which is situated next to the biggest slum in Africa: Kibera Slum which is 1.5 million people in 630 acres with over 100,000 orphans. The sisters live next to the parish and we work together to help those in the slums. I have a home not far from that slum where some of those youth can have a better life. Our family now has 46 members: Wairimu and her 2 children, Teresia and Andrew: Monica and her 2 children, Bridget and Teddy (who is named after me); Justin and Binah and their daughter Dorothy ( who is named after my Mom); Ben and Eddah and their daughter Whitney; Gilbert and Lillian and their children David, Frank and Dorothy (also named after my mom); Teresia and her son Kamau; Patrick and his son Daniel, Job, Abuto, (who has joined the seminary), Joshua, James, Haron, Isaac; Johnstone and Debra and their daughter Clara; Titus and his daughter Joy; Edigar and Faith and their children Brian, Habrahan, and Daniel Ted; (named in honor of Dancan and me); Alex, Peru and his brother Clinton, Rogers, Joe, Morey, and three in high school; Jamlick, Eddy and Mary.
The gifts that you send are used to help these youth and others to have a better life. They are all deprived and have suffered much. We continue to have plenty of corruption and violence in Kenya, so I ask you to pray very seriously for us. Without your help, we cannot go on. We thank you for your kindness in supporting these youth and others. May God bless you more and more!
My Mom continues to do her best in the Lutheran Nursing Home in Mendota, Il. She celebrated her 90th birthday on September 13th. I wish I could have been there. It was only three days after I had buried Dancan. I did get home in May/June and we had many good times together, but never enough time to see everyone. I was able to do some preaching for our mission work here in Africa, and I am very grateful to all I met during this time and for the kind support that was offered. Thank you so much! We are praying for you!
For sending financial contributions; USE ONLY: Fr. Ted Hochstatter, c/o John Visintainer
2329 Ruby Drive, Augusta, Ga. 30906, USA. John will deposit your gift in my account and then he will wire it to me here in Kenya. *** It is never safe to mail money directly to Africa ***
My dear friend Casey Ladowski has set up a web site for us: www.frtedskids.org They have done a good job and I am really proud of their work. You can also donate on our web site and it will be wired to me.
My Masses and sacrifices are offered everyday for all of you. Please know that we also need your prayers. In praying for each other, we are united in doing God’s Work. Thank you again for all you are doing for us here. We greatly appreciate any help you offer to us. As we prepare for the Birthday of Jesus, let us share His Love with all we meet through the Heart of His Mother Mary. We love you!!!! God bless you!!!! You are the best!