He is a teenager. He is looking forward to going to high school. He is intelligent and kind. He lives with a serious medical condition. He is a devoted son and big brother. He sent us a message:
I hope you are well, surrounded by your loved ones. I hope when you read this you are in good health. I think you remember that I told you that I had been threatened. Later, after some time, in other words today, I received a telephone call from someone who said they had not met me but had heard that some people who I don't know are going to kill me. Not me alone but also my whole family. They are going to cut up our bodies into pieces: the hands, or the arms, or the head or whatever parts they want. We want to leave our community. Help us...
At first he thought his family could go far away to be more safe. Later he said it wouldn't matter.
Maybe these are idle threats meant to scare, to intimidate, to exact a payment for some perceived level of security.
Maybe these are real threats. Two teenagers we know have been missing for several months. Surely there are many we don't know who have been killed, disappeared, harmed or threatened.
The police hear "help us." The government, from mayor's offices to President Funes hear "help us." The churches and charitable organizations hear "help us." We hear "help us."
We have seen responses to the calls for help in action -- from mayors and pastors and aid organizations and volunteers and even President Funes. We have seen neighborhoods restored to peace. Yet peace in the neighborhoods is fleeting. Mothers cannot let down their guard. The threats and the dangers are constantly on the move.
How do we respond to "help us?"
I don't have an answer, but I am inspired by the mothers. Every day, throughout the day the mothers pray over their children. They give thanks for each moment of life. They pray for God to send angels to guard and preserve life. And they themselves act as angels of protection for their children. There is power in mothers who, rooted in love, join forces with one another to fight for the lives of their children.
Join your prayers today with the prayers of the mothers of R. and D., two young people who are still missing; and with the family who has been threatened and has cried out, "Help us."