On the one hand we live in a country where – according to some estimates – there are over 20 attacks per day. The danger is real and is just around any corner. Just as an example: the other day a woman came to give thanks for her son. The youth was traveling by bus within the city and got off at his destination. At that moment a bomb exploded inside the vehicle – killing and injuring the passengers, while causing an injury in her son’s hand. Had the bomb exploded a few seconds before there would been one more victim. If this young man had decided to travel a block further, he would not be alive now. The lady came to give thanks because her son had been “only” wounded!
The attacks strike anywhere, and there are almost no safe places. But besides car bombs (which are causing the most deaths and produce greater terror among the population) there are other methods used in this insane battle: assassinations by silenced weapons in broad daylight, entering specific houses to eliminate everyone in a family, abductions that end in deaths, Petrol bombs against businesses…
Over the past month more than 940 people were killed in armed attacks and it is estimated that there have been 40,000 deaths since 2004.
The numbers are staggering.
However, we must understand that for the people life goes on. They cannot live locked in their homes and so the daily activities are not interrupted: children go to school, workers to work, young people go out in the afternoons to hang out with friends, etc..
When we arrived here, almost three years ago, there was an explosion near our house. After 10 minutes, the children resumed their games in the neighboring school playground as if nothing had happened. It was just one more of the several explosions they hear every week!
This is why it is very difficult to explain how we are. We suffer with those who suffer, the madness of terrorism causes anger and sorrow, but we seek to support those in need, bringing hope to a place where terror is used systematically, and sadly, we unable to do more … But we’re fine. I would say very well.
On the one hand Christ tells us “Do not fear those who kill the body and after that can do no more.” (Lk 12:4). If we had to give our lives for our faithful, friends, the poor and the suffering, and even for those who do us evil, may God be blessed.
Moreover (to our relief!) it should not be thought that we are in constant danger. Someday something might happen to us, but we might live here 40 years without a scratch, because on the one hand we have a lot of police protection in the church, and we also take precautions to avoid risks (we go out only when it is necessary, avoiding the most dangerous places, etc..).
Meanwhile, the little good that we can do much outweighs all the evil that we see, because good is what counts, what has value. Evil is noisy but has no consistency; it is a failure, it is a privation.
The good seed produces fruit of eternal life, and fear disappears because “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
We ask all of you for your prayers for this suffering people and for our mission here.
God bless you!
Fr. Luis Montes, IVE