1 November 2013, All Saints Day
“ONLY IN PARADISE WILL WE REALIZE THAT WE OWE A DEBT TO THE POORlt; BECAUSE THEY HAVE HELPED US TO LOVE GOD BETTER.”
– Words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
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 continues to be a difficult challenge for us; yet in the midst of it all, we see God’s blessings. On January 3rd this year, Michelle was born into our family from her parents Justin and Bina. On January 21, Clinton (the younger brother of Dancan who was killed last year) made his First Holy Communion. On March 4th, our presidential elections caused some violence and killings, but nothing compared to our last election (2007/8) when 1,133 were killed and 650,000 were displaced. That violence of the last election is being tried at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. May justice prevail. We were happy to share in the great joy of Pope Francis’ election. His good works for the poor have so much encouraged us.
Now the bad news: from mid-July to August 6th, Joshua was kidnapped and mistreated. From the end of July to August 7th, Joe was also kidnapped and mistreated–he had to be taken to the hospital for two days immediately after he was found. Both of these were difficult cases. On August 30, Eddah gave birth 3 1/2
months prematurely. She and Ben named their son “Ted Hochstatter”. Ted only lived for 9 days in poor hospital conditions. We buried him on September 10 exactly one year after we buried Dancan whose 1st year death anniversary we painfully remembered on September 4. Monica’s son, Francis, was born on September 20. He was named after my Confirmation name and of our Pope. The next day, September 21, the El-Shabaab terrorists attached a shopping center near where we live. None of us ever go there so we thank God we were spared. But 67 were killed, almost 200 injured (including 5 US citizens) and over 1,000 became hostages in this 4-day siege. On October 4, five of my theology students were ordained priests, and it was a great joy to celebrate with them. On October 8, Peru had his second surgery to repair his leg from being hit by a car last year when he was coming for his brother Dancan’s funeral. Twelve days later, still on crutches, Peru was kidnapped for three days with almost nothing to eat. Finally he forced himself to escape. The next day, Joshua had a seizure while he was on the road and everything was stolen from him. Then Justin was falsely accused by our corrupt police as a ploy to get money. This is just part of our difficult life here in Nairobi.
Last year, the United Nations declared the 2.2 million Kenyans need relief. Our food prices, already very high, continue to increase. More than 2 out of 5 Kenyans are under the age of 15, that is, 43% of our population is below the age 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 doorstep.
We continue to suffer from violence: grenades thrown into packed churches killing many and injuring others. And there are many other acts of violence. We do need your prayers and help so that we can survive. This year more than any other time that I have been here in Kenya, it has become very difficult to survive. We are operating on very little. Whatever you can do to help us will be so much appreciated.
I have now been in East Africa for 12 1/2 years (10 years in Kenya and 2 1/2 in Uganda before coming here). 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. I continue to work with the Missionaries of Charity (the Sisters of Mother Teresa). Besides offering Mass and Confessions 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. Michael’s which is 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 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 45 members while remembering Dancan and Ted who have died.
The gifts that you send are used to provide food, shelter, medical care, tuition and other needs. It costs roughly $7,000 per month for everyone (or about $155 per youth per month). Our youth 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 of Mendota, Il. She celebrated her 91st birthday on September 13th. I did get home in May/June and we had many good times together but never enough time to see everyone. I was very honored to join my cousin, Fr. Jake Rose, for his ordination and his First Masses. He is a great priest and I know he is serving God with all his heart. I was able to preach about 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, especially in Evans, Ga.; Mendota, Henry, Lacon, Macomb, Geneseo and Rock Island, Il. and San Antonio, Tx. 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 US account and then he will wire it to me here in Kenya.
My dear friends have set up a website for us:
They did a good job and I am really proud of their work.
You can also send a donation to: Fr. Ted’s Kids Mission in Kenya, Ltd.
1200 Gleneagles Court
Lake Geneva, Wi. 53147 USA
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 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!!!!