Good Earth sowers

By: seminarian Rafael Cruz Dévora

Summer is always a time of joy for everyone. In truth, who doesn’t like to take a good break after arduous work or study days? Thus, seminarians, after the long school year, also took an academic holiday. After the course each leaves with the suitcase in his hand, ready to live various and enriching pastoral actions.
On this occasion I want to talk to you about one of the commitments the Lord sends us to in the summer. It is a deeply missionary experience, which breaks our comfort zone and moves us to intimately embody the exhortation to proclaim Jesus Christ to those most in need. I tell you about the evangelization that, together with a group of young people and adults, the morning seminarians perform in the largest of the wetlands of Cuba, the Ciénaga de Zapata.
Perhaps, when you hear the name Ciénaga de Zapata think of the tourist area of Playa Girón, or the well-known crocodile hatchery of Guamá. Perhaps the Caleta Buena or little Cayo Ramona, where we also frequent as missionaries, comes to mind, and you will be right. But I want to tell you about more distant and little mentioned places, where urbanization has taken time to arrive and where its inhabitants live as one family sharing their sorrows and joys.
I mean, first of all, the tiny batey Crocodile that borders the province of Cienfuegos. It is a settlement of little population, with an exquisite geography and worthy of contemplation to the fullness. In Crocodile is where you can really know what a marshy swamp is, because it is located a few meters from the courtyards of the houses. The inhabitants always welcome us with joy, their humility amazes us and although their material goods are limited, they spare no effort to share them with us.
Another small place we are sent to is called Guasasa and is closer to Cayo Ramona. In Guasasa we do find a lifestyle somewhat more similar to ours. A community of lumberjacks and coalmen mostly adult and with better living conditions. A small group of young people live in this place with a higher number of children. The little ones are enchanted by the visit of the missionaries whom they affectionately call “the Band-Girls”. It is, in your company, that we carry out most of our mission.
In Cocodrilo and Guasasa there are not many possibilities of transport, only a small guagua that enters the area from seven in the afternoon and does not leave again, until five in the morning of the next day. They are not places where there is electric light all day, because they receive it from a plant that only works a few hours in the morning and others in the afternoon and evening. Then they stay in the dark starting at twelve o’clock in the morning. These and other reasons put us in direct contact with parents who have seen their children leave in search of better conditions; is an anxious youth of progress and new horizons. We also find countless grandparents who love that terroir like their own lives and ask that that is where death finds them.
Maybe a young man thinks it’s not worth getting close to places like that. We believe that Christ is very present in these remote places and devoid of schools and health care centers, and that every time we approach these hopeless young men, those yearning parents of their children, those proud grandparents of their land; it is Christ Himself whom we approach (cf. Mt 25:45). As we visit the sick among the sick, as we prepare family members for the celebration of the baptism of children, we sow the hope of Christ.
We may not gather many fruits, but surely the next generations will, because the Swamp, despite being marshy land for the cultivation of plants, has become fertile land to welcome the seed of the gospel, ready to give one hundred percent for one (cf. Mt 13:8). Those of us who have known Christ in that reality have fallen in love with her and for that reason we do not care about the lack of light, mosquitoes or other deficiencies. We are happy because every time we share with them we discover that “there is more joy in giving than in receiving” (Acts 21:35). Ω

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