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Ricardo and Silvia Miño - Bolivia, Cochabamba

 

Santa María de los AndesPersonal experiences

As birds that rise in flight in search of freedom, so we leave our land of Ecuador, moved by a dream, a desire, a love, and a call: Go throughout the world and announce the Gospel...” This prayer, this command, converted from our first youth into the force that gave dynamism to our lives. Yes, to be a missionary! Yes, like you Mary! Yes, like you, our Mother and Friend!

The missionary vocation full of desire to announce and share the message of our friend Jesus, his Kingdom of justice and love. We arrived in Bolivia filled with illusion. A mixture of fear, trust, doubts and strength. We left looking for the God of the Life and He came to us. He received us with open arms and with a heart full of tenderness.

Songs, dynamics, celebrations, retreats... courses, workshops, classes, meetings....these were all e the means of giving real and concrete answers to this beautiful mission. As members of the Church we had the joy of knowing and sharing with many missionary Brothers and Sisters. All with the same ideal, all with the same love: Jesus who calls us to live as brothers with the Brothers, following the wish of God.

Amongst the many gifts that the Lord gave us, we were able to get to know a group of men of faith: approachable, friends, welcoming, workers, cheerful and simple. Lovers of Mary and with a total dedication to children and deprived youth. They were Mary’s Brothers. Soon friendship was born and in a family spirit and with simplicity we share the mission: To make of the youth and children “Honest Citizens and good Christians.

Little by little, amid the work and sharing their life, we were discovering in the testimony of these Brothers a concrete way to be and to live, spirituality, a charism, a gift. And the source of all of this a founder, a great saint, a man of God called Marcellin Champagnat. We began to read, to meditate, to contemplate and to pray about this great mans life. It captured us, it disturbed us and it built up hopes. We discovered in his life the testimony of values such as his love of children and deprived young people and of all his Brothers; the faith in God that accompanies us and always protects us; the love of work that dignifies us and makes us share in the creation; the love and trust in Mary, our Good Mother; the family spirit that welcomes, accompanies and supports; the audacity and creativity to find answers to problems; the zeal to take their mission ahead; the audacity and stability to make possible what seemed impossible; the simplicity and humility to live everything as the work and manifestation of the love of God. If the Lord does not build the house…. How much life, how much passion, how much love!

And this is Marcellin: Father, witness and model. He is a gift of God to the Church and todays world. His life challenged us, he invited us and he encouraged us to discover today the Montagne boys, to announce to them how much God loves them, to promote the dream of a better world.

Little by little, with passing of the years and when sharing the life with the Brothers, when sharing the work with the children, young people, teachers, parents and community. When celebrating the Sacrament as the centre of our Christian life. When we overcame the difficulties and problems characteristic of any work team. While we prayed the life illuminated by the Word of God. When looking for and asking one another: What does God want of us today? When we went to Mary in trust every time we began a new mission to commend it to her, to her protection. When making an effort to live in a simple and coherent way. When loving, more every day, Jesus Christ, putting him at the centre of our life and of our family. When leaving our house in Santa Cruz to go to San José de Chiquitos to work with the Brothers, looking to see that the education that we offer to our children and young people is filled with love and is of the best possible quality. When we visited the families or shared with the children the student dining room Good Mother. In the catechesis, in the infant and youth groups, in the experiences of solidarity, in the retreats and shared groups, in the shared meeting that we had with the students and teachers. Little by little we discover our vocation, the call to be and to live as lay Marists.

Today we feel part of a family. Friends and brothers of Antonio, Reinaldo, Nacho, Melchor, Mitsu, Saturnine, José Antonio... Marist Brothers with whose life we have shared. And equally we remember Lily, Hugo, Mirian, Alberto, Yolanda, Oscar, Pepe, and Karlos... lay Marists with whom day by day we opt for the life and happiness of ourselves and of our Brothers. Today we feel content, happy and grateful because together, as Brothers and lay people, we can share the same spirituality and the same mission. A new experience of Church has been born today.

We dream that one day in the not very distant future we can leave our Latin American land to fly to new horizons and new lands. The Spirit received in baptism, like a flame that embraces and does not fade, maintains the missionary ardour and it moves us to live with passion every day, being creative in our educational and pastoral service and audacious in discovering the new calls that the Lord makes to us.

We are Silvia Pérez and Ricardo Miño, we have been married for seventeen years, and we have four daughters: Laura, Libertad, María Auxiliadora and Doris. Our biggest strength is found in daily prayer, in the Eucharist and in the Marist community. We wish to collaborate so that this world becomes a better place. We have lived in Bolivia since 1990. We feel very happy and grateful because God does great things for us. God called us and he sent us.

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Ricardo y Silvia Miño, Bolivia
Marist Province of Santa María de los Andes