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Update on Mercy House - June 2005

Diana’s progress report

"Congratulations and thank you St Richards!

"This time your achievement is that one of your young parishioners, Claire Hensman, has just completed a two-month stint of volunteer work at Mercy House. Claire returned to the UK on 27 May, and she will be sorely missed as she has done great things for us. After a first weekend of feeling a bit homesick, she threw herself into our work, bravely driving the car of the nuns where she got accommodation down to Mercy House every day to help teach English to our 2 newcomers from the Congo republic. She also helped a crippled young Rwandese orphan, Jean de Dieu, whom we have got into Grade 2 at school, with his schoolwork. We felt sad that there was no one to replace Claire – but one of God’s interventions happened! A young German Comboni volunteer came and offered to do jobs right now – and especially teach English! Then, out of the blue, a young man named Alex was dropped on our doorstep. It’s quite uncanny! Already Alex has called a meeting and we listed maintenance jobs that need to be done urgently. So the news is very good – God cares!

"Claire was with Serena, from Italy, who worked for six months and left 'for good' but wants to come back!

"But an Irish volunteer, Elaine left 'for good' – and returned within two weeks, saying she just could not stay away!"

Diana warmly remembers Christmas: she thanks those who supported Mick and Penny Finn’s Xmas Fair – and Judy McGregor’s fund raising luncheon. Diana was 'deeply saddened to hear that one of our greatest supporters, Mr Gerald McGregor, had a bad stroke'. (We have assured Diana that Gerald is making a good recovery). Diana notes that their young people produced a Christmas play written by Richard, a talented man who arrived last autumn with a hip broken by Congolese soldiers. (He’s still in great pain – hoping for an operation.)

"Richard is pictured as an elder in his play which revolves around the huge stir Mary’s pregnancy caused in the community and how the elders resolved the obvious problem of there being no marriage. Our three local Comboni priests, with their new provincial, commended the play and how wonderfully it was improvised in the open.

The players erected curtains of sheets and room curtains. Their beards were African ladies’ hair extensions!

Just before Christmas, we had a wedding between Kaskil, our former houseleader and his fiancée, who were separated for four years by war until he found her through an email address. After his home nurse training was complete, we got him a job. He saved up enough to bring her south, to his immense joy. His wedding picture is accompanied by two little flower girls."

Diana’s present house leader, Eugene, who, with his brother and sister has been looked after at MH for several years, is gradually being reunited with more of his family. They suffered greatly as a result of the genocide. His father has come south to SA and at last, making the difficult journey, will be his mother. "It will be a very, very great day when that family can be reunited. We ask parishioners to pray that this lady may be able to get down to SA safely."

St Richard’s parish is yet another source of good news. Diana notes that an Englishwoman, Angela Squires, living in South Africa, went to UK to visit her sisters, Denise Kent and Norma, in her home parish – St Richard’s. "There she discovered that Mercy house exists about 10 minutes from her home in Johannesburg! Her sisters returned with her and visited Mercy House. Angela and her husband donated a TV stand, a carpet and two much-needed beds to us. We are immensely grateful to Angela and Peter and say 'thank you'

Life goes on at Mercy House, continually on the move and very demanding yet wonderfully rewarding: you kind of catch your breath from time to time when you see the chinks of God’s presence and affirmative action amongst us. Thank you St Richard’s, for your encouraging backup and tireless support.

Diana Beamish, Mercy House."