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Once again, on 6 August, Mick and Penny Finn hosted a lunch in aid of Mercy House in their home and beautiful garden .Christopher Dwyer enjoyed the lunch, took the photos and sent his impressions.
"This year the aim was to help with the cost of schooling for a refugee well known to readers of this website: young Shadadi , who arrived there when just 5 years old, fleeing with his cousin Bina from the war in Burundi."
Diana recalled " He was in shock and didn't speak at first". Since then, with the sustained love and care from Diana and her team, his school career shows great promise."
Diana reports he has done well at his Dominican Convent school and, with the help from parishioners today, is going on to higher education.
Chris notes: " The weather was not so kind to us this year, yet fifty guests arrived. There was a wide assortment of cheeses and plenty of delicious puddings, and of course the conviviality was as good as ever. Our thanks go to Mick and Penny for their hospitality."
Mick and Penny's good news will bring delight to Diana at Mercy House.
On the day, guests contributed no less than £786, and there was a separate donation from Joe Finn's Charity Project group at the Prebendal School - for the first time
It came about when the school heard of the work of Mercy House: they responded to an idea by Joseph Finn to make the Catholic Johannesburg centre one of their charities for the current year. Year 8 students were asked to choose a charity to suppport. They gave a presentation first to each other, and then to the pupils and teachers. The school chose three charities. Backed by Joseph Finn, Mercy House was chosen as one of the three and given the Lent Term in which to hold 'adventurous fundraisers'.
Joe knew about Mercy House's help for young war refugees through his mother, Mrs. Lena Finn, who is manager at St Richard's parish.
Joe and his team decided to host a “Prebendal’s Got Talent” evening, a very topical subject at the time! Each entrant was charged as were people wanting to watch. In total there were 10 Acts and many many more spectators than anticipated!! "It was a bit of a squash, says Joe, but great fun!"
The evening raised £600 which was sent to Mercy House. As an added bonus The Prebendal School also donated some of the funds raised at their Summer Fete this year to their charities, an additional donation of £380. This was added to the £786 raised by Mick and Penny's lunch, plus a transfer from the Friday project fund by Fr Kieron, enabling Mercy House to receive no less than £1,500; and to add to timely parish generosity, another £2,000 from the Friday Project has been sent to the Cafod Fund for flood relief in Pakistan.
"I have seen those lovely photos on the parish website of the garden lunch on 6 August. How kind of God to let the rain stop so that it could proceed! It seems to have been a lovely occasion and we would like to thank absolutely everyone who supported it in any way. I am sure that you have heard about the grand total raised and also of Father Kieron's generosity in topping it up very magnanimously. Thank you Father and also all the organisers and hard workers - those "backroom boys and girls!"
"BA Pilot Stefan Bartkowiac visited us again on Lucky Friday 13th August. Stefan first visited us on Friday 16 July and that was not a lucky Friday, as that very morning we had a 4.00 a.m. burglary. But he revisited 4 weeks later on Friday 13th August, and this time it was a lucky Friday and a very happy one. Stefan worked like a Trojan the whole day, showing our boys (who have not grown up with dads who teach their sons about practical things) how to fix and do many things. He installed two sensor lights in our garden."
"He can be seen doing just that in the photo, at the top of the ladder he bought for us - something we needed badly. Then another photo shows our youngest little orphan boy, Moise, following Stefan's great example, and trying to fix his own bike!"
"The children look so cute having their supper together."
"We would like to publicly thank Stefan for his remarkable committment to our work and wish him and all our benefactors many blessings in return for their kindness to us."
"Glory be to Him whose power working in us can do infintely more than we can ask for or imagine."
Every good wish to all
But, as a postcript, to show that not only talented professionals are helped at Mercy House, Diana tells of Jacinto "who asked if there was any way they could help him and his girl friend, Teresa (both Angolan orphans), to set up a hair salon in the dirty and disused garage on the property where he lives. Both are very good at doing hair styles for their respective genders! It seemed like another mission impossible but I did pray about it and remembered a gentleman who had said that he was willing to help someone to set up a small business.
Abracadabra and it was done! Amazing, he was so magnanimous about it too, sending through a large amount very specifically for this project."
"It was quite nerve-wracking, but we got there and they opened their little business yesterday! If you could have seen the place when I first went in there to inspect and think of possibilities: paint peeling everywhere, dirt and etc! I went down today - it is totally transformed as the photos show, and there were even two small boys sitting waitingfor haircuts!"
" Jacinto and Teresa are so thrilled but we can be too, because again, through the kindness of God working through the generosity of others, a dream has really come true for 2 young people who have had very, very tough lives. This is the rope which God has let down for them so that they can support themselves and find a means of survival."
"Glory to Him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask for or imagine"- St. Paul."
Diana reminds us also of successful new professionals, helped by Mercy House, who are so important in African society.
"We are very proud of our former house leader, Eddie, who this mid-year completed his four-year degree in Electrical Engineering and in fact has just started his first job with the company that sponsored him. He is seen in the picture with Moise, one of our youngest residents at Schoenstatt in Bedfordview."
"I end where I'm telling Moise that he really is the most wonderful little boy in the whole world!"