Here's our story of a trip that changed our family for the better. My wife and I had made a decision to make a once in a lifetime family mission trip for 6 weeks. We wanted to go to Africa since we had contacts on that continent. At first it was not easy to find a good fit for our family of 7 kids but by God's providence a friend recommended we contact Canon Fragelli and see if he could use our help. He welcomed us and gave us all the necessary information and paperwork needed to make the trip happen.
We were picked up from our hotel by our wonderful driver and got to travel along the "delux" highways of Gabon. We had romantic images of Africa but soon the reality of life in parts of that continent hit us as we traveled those few hours to the mission. We had a wonderful welcome at the mission and immediately felt a sense of safety and peace.
Life on the mission is one of prayer, work and fun. The typical day begins with optional morning pray followed by a delicious breakfast.
Daily tasks were assigned and the day’s work began. We joked with Canon about the small digging job that seemed to be ever expanded with each of his passing visits. At noon the bells ring for the Angelus and then it's lunchtime. After lunch it's back to work until the afternoon Mass.
After mass is the evening recreation hour where everyone gathers on the large front porch for drinks and snack and laughter. This is followed up with dinner and then usually we went back to our rooms or stayed and talked with all of our new friends.
There were so many highlights of this time but in general I would say it is the local people that live and work on the mission the made the greatest impression on us. The rhythm of life on the mission centered on Christ and the love you feel that surrounds you is beautiful.
One of the greatest blessings for us as a family was that it helped to make us more grateful for the abundant blessings and opportunities that surround us as Westerners. Life is hard for so many people in Africa and especially for my children it helped to give them a new perspective on how privileged their life is. Having said this it also helped to reinforce the realization that Christ and His church are really all that matters in life. Even living in relative poverty compared to our life in the West we experienced great joy because we possessed the one thing necessary - Christ.
My wish and pray would be that other families could have the opportunity to have a life changing experience such as the one offer to us at this mission.
God Bless Canon Fragelli and all our friends at the mission.
The Lee Family