DDuring my first missionary trip to Sri Lanka in 1988 along with Manuela, who is a wonderful wife and mother of our four special sons and my companion of many adventures, something so radical happened that would revolutionize my existence for ever.
Indeed, the trip to Sri Lanka was the hardest and most extreme I ever made, having lived for ten days in the jungle with a tribe of aborigines, called "Veddah", without ever being able to enjoy drinking water and basic daily comforts. Despite the hardships and the constant pain caused by the torrid heat and the thousands of mosquitoes and flies that assaulted us, I began to see and understand the suffering and despair of the people. I was tremendously impressed by the "cries" of those quiet children, those men and women emarginated by the society and condemned to a slow and painful end.
Before then, I had already traveled to several countries improperly called "third world", without understanding what was happening around me. My ears had heard these terrible screams! I was no longer the same person. A relentless determination was born in me to "speak out" to the world the suffering of the world itself. Thus, in the subsequent years, with my wife, we began to respond to the cries: - Cries from the U.S. slums working class areas and emarginated groups, where Manuela and I had worked at the Teen Challenge center in Buffalo, New York; - Around us were the screams of thousands of people trapped by drugs in Italy, forgotten, abandoned and deprived of the joy of living everyday life. My family and I did voluntary work for 15 years in Milan;
- Cries of the persecuted Christians in China;
- Cries of Hmong women in Vietnam also persecuted, raped and tortured by the regime, guilty only of being Christian; - Cries of the Guarani tribe, Toba and Wichita, in the northern Argentina, abandoned and neglected by the government without a minimum of health care; - Cries of the Burmese people deprived of basic rights of freedom of expression;
- Cries of the orphans and widows left alone in Sri Lanka after the tsunami fury;
- Cries of the thousands of orphaned children in Cambodia, surely destined for brothels in Thailand and Cambodia; -- Cries of the orphans abandoned by their parents in India in the streets of the main cities;
- Cries! Cries! And yet more cries!
Seeing these pictures, maybe you'll notice that many of these people now don’t cry anymore. Many friends, men and women of good will have decided, along with Missione Possibile, to respond effectively to the cries of this world by supporting various humanitarian projects, sacrificing even their own holiday to share their love, their wealth and their joy.
We found that what is "unnecessary" for us in the western world, means "life" in many countries around the world. My hope is that a new desire in you can be born to love your neighbor directly, looking at the world differently.
We can and must make a difference around us!