Glimpses of God in All Saints Parish: African Express

Glimpses of God in All Saints Parish: African Express

Photo supplied by Fr. Eugen Nkardzedze

One morning I walked into the office and Ann showed me these pictures that Fr. Eugen had sent her. They were pictures of these beautiful African children who were filled with joy and God’s love. You could see it in their smiles and faces. So, beautiful! Those children stayed in my mind’s eye for days. I was so moved. Then we had a staff meeting and following the meeting I told Fr. Eugen how wonderful those pictures were. He said to me, let me show you something else. He took out his phone and showed me a picture of this huge building that he andthe people had built. It was a hospital. And there was a school as well. He beamed with pride because of all the work he and his people had put into the construction of this building. I once again was moved by Fr. Eugen and how he spoke of his ministry, his love for God, and his deep commitment to the people he serves in Cameroon. I asked him how many patients this hospital could hold and he said the hospital wasn’t furnished yet. He said there were no hospital beds, he really emphasized the great need for “hospital beds.” I wondered how he was ever going to furnish this hospital after seeing the pictures of the children and their families.

I left thinking of all those faces and accomplishments, and when I arrived at home and was sitting in my armchair, I picked up the local paper to read it. As I looked at the paper, a square box of an ad caught my attention. In the middle of the ad two words jumped out at me: Hospital Beds. I reviewed the ad and saw that what was formerly known as the Skofield House had been sold. There was a phone number in the ad and I immediately called. There was no answer; I left a message. And a short t
ime later, Amy McLellan, the new owner, returned my call and told me she was renovating the building into 18 home apartments. She was holding a public sale to make room for her complete makeover. As I excitedly told her about Fr. Eugen’s work in Africa and his hospital…she also became excited. She invited me to come, take a look at the hospital beds and I could purchase some and she would donate some. I was so excited about this and tried unsuccessfully to reach Fr. Eugen to tell him the story and ask him to come with me to meet Amy. I could hardly close my eyes that night!

On Friday I went to morning Mass, and there, sitting in front of the tabernacle was Fr. Eugen. I told him the story and showed him the adver- tisement and invited him to join me after Mass to visit the Skofield House and to meet Amy. Amy and Fr. Eugen had much to talk about. Amy is a registered nurse. She gave us a walk through the building and pointed out items he could have. By the end of the tour, she had donated all of the hospital beds left over from her sale. The begin- ning of the week after the sale, we again met with Amy and she said she would not only donatscreen-shot-2016-11-23-at-10-22-46-ame all of the hospital beds, but also the sinks, toilets, tables and chairs, a washing machine, wall cabinets, bedside tables, lamps, armoires, sheets, blan- kets, curtain fabric. The “catch” was that the items needed to be removed quickly as the construction crew needed all the space emptied to accomplish their work.

Fr. Eugen and I talked about how everything would be shipped and where. He assured me that the items he saw would fit in a size 40 shipping crate. He would drive the items to Washington, DC and ship them from there…it would be cheaper to ship from that location. The cost would be around $7000. I again thought of the faces of the beautiful children, Fr. Eugen’s confidence in making all of this work, and I became more certain that we needed to find a way to help with this project. And…I knew that all of this was part of God’s plan. God wanted Fr. Eugen to furnish his hospital…as amazing as that might sound.

So, I next spoke with our pastor, Fr. Tom, about this project and what Fr. Eugen needed help with…a storage container, and shipping costs. I was nervous because we have our major project underway in the parish and I know we need to treat that as a priority. So, I discussed this with Fr. Tom, telling him the story. He reached the same conclusion I did… of course we will help with the shipping costs. I once again was so excited and could not believe I doubted the outcome of that conversation. After all, God was in the driver’s seat with this project…clearly. Everything has just kept falling into place.
Once the project was approved, I started working on locating a storage unit for placing things in until Fr. Eugen could get them to Washington. I found a company in Scarborough, and just as I was about to finalize a contract with them, I told them I needed them to fax me the contract so I could read it carefully before signing it and making out the check ready for delivery of the storage unit. As I hung up the phone, there stood Jere, our recently retired custodian. He asked me what I was up to. I told him, not much and he noted I was involved in another project. He had been over to Skofield House and Amy told him all about the project. I asked him about containers. He told me I should try to think of someone in Brunswick who might be able to help with that. I remembered one of our parishioners who had been part of our giant yard sale. He drove in one year with a massive, gorgeous, black, huge truck. His name is Peter Labbe of Ray Labbe and Sons. I called him to see if he had such a container or if he could help us locate the size container we needed. A few hours later, he called to let me know he was going to Bangor to get the storage unit (container) and we would have it the next day, for as long as we needed it, for no charge. That was his contribution to the project. There is God again, making sure everything falls into place.

Fr. Eugen will be speaking at two of our churches, sharing about his work in Cameroon, and sharing this story with parishioners as well. We are planning our first talk on Saturday, September 24 at St. Charles and Saturday,

October 22 at St. Patrick Church in Newcastle from 10 am to noon. Clearly God wants that hospital to be furnished. And, our parish has the opportunity to help Fr. Eugen get the furniture to Africa. Being a part of this miracle, God allowing me to work for and with Him, here in Brunswick, Maine for the people of Cameroon, Africa has been an experience I will never forget. I have been guided throughout this process. I also have learned more about trusting God as I have made phone calls and tried to put things into place. As evidenced by this experience, God is hard at work in All Saints Parish. Listen to your hearts… you, too, might hear His voice.

If you wish to help Fr. Eugen with the shipping costs for this amaz- ing donation that will furnish an African hospital, you can send donations to All Saints Parish, 132 McKeen St., Brunswick, ME Attn: Martha Corkery. The parish will prepare a check from the donations to help Fr. Eugen pay the $7000 in shipping costs.

– Marcy Brenner

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