Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Peaceful Waiting!

Wait for the LORD, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the LORD!  ~Psalm 27:14

Whew, what a summer it has been!!  We find ourselves blessed beyond measure while as we wait on the Lord!  God only knows why He has called us as He has!  Yes, we are called to missions, yes we plan to be very active in serving the poor both spiritually, and physically.  As word spreads, we think it is time to make it totally public that we are still in waiting, after a very long, difficult, exhausting, yet VERY fruitful couple of months, we have discerned that now is not the time for our family to serve Jesus in foreign missions.  This announcement truly makes my heart ache, but I know God has a plan, as He is still working in great big ways within our family.  

So, for an update on how we landed here...

Thank you for all of the prayers because without the support of our closest friends, and family this time of constant discernment would be even more difficult.  We have felt the grace of your prayers, so thank you!  Please, keep them coming!!  As we approached a hot summer, I was anxious to spend time with family and  friends, both new and old.  We had plans to do a lot of things.  However, our plans did not turn out as we thought.  As many of you know, going into full time foreign missions as a family of 6 is not an easy task. Especially, if you were like us, waist deep in a secular materialistic world, with lots of work to be done to rid our lives of the things that made us this way.  Plans were being made for how we were going to allow God to work with us to make this happen.  We started fundraising full speed, and were blessed to receive a few donor partners, and many many people who supported us with fundraising, we were making arrangements for how we would educate the boys, and we were preparing to mail out our donor letters to over 200 people when all of a sudden, our discernment and plans were shifted, and frankly, halted.  I stopped dead in my tracks like a lost sheep as we began making plans instead for doctor appointments, and expensive car repairs.  

In late May, we were referred to an ENT because of the chronic tonsil/throat/obstructive snoring issue we were having with Nicholas.   Just shy of one month later, at our annual check up with the boys we were given the shocking news that our sweet Philip might have an autoimmune condition called Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that disturbs cell growth in your nervous system.  So, as you'd assume, we, or I rather, was more than overwhelmed with all of the happenings in our life!  As the enemy planted seeds of doubt in my mind I became very distracted!!  We were also working on mending some family relationships that became very tense after announcing that we were called into missions.  Thank heavens for the Blessed Sacrament, where I found myself pleading with the Lord for direction.  We were so torn, as we knew what our hearts desired, but were not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  

Nicholas, now almost two weeks post opt is recovering from a bacterial infection as he begins the new school year as a first grader, and as for Philip, we will be seeing a pediatric opthamologist in a few weeks for help in confirming a positive or negative diagnosis.  Thankfully, our pediatrician doesn't feel as though Philip will meet enough of the criteria for a positive diagnosis.  At this stage in the game, if it were confirmed, the condition could be so mild that no one would really know of it.  With a positive diagnosis, there would be routine doctor visits with all sorts of specialist who deal only with Neurofibromatosis patients.  Yes, these things could be used by the enemy to distract us, but God is so much bigger than all of this, and we know that He has a plan.  We are seeing fruit from this journey in family relationships that are growing in a healthy, and very beautiful ways!!  So, here we are, waiting on the Lord!!  We will continue to discern this call into missions, but as inspired by our Holy Father, we will be more active as missionaries, right here, in our own family, and community.  Chip and I will be volunteering at St. Mary's parish this year, helping with youth ministry, at John Paul the Great Academy, at FMC, staying plugged in, helping them spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.  

Pope Francis' message for World Mission Day encourages words of both hope and challenge.  In many ways we are each called to a "missionary" life.  Your mission field may be as close as your home or half a world away.  Regardless, we all need an infusion of the power of the Holy Spirit to rise above and to face the daily challenges we experience as missionaries!  God is doing great things, thanks for your support, and please continue to remember our family in your prayers.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

God's Faithfulness

Lord, you have probed me, you know me:  you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar. Psalm 139:1-3

Seeking ways in my daily life to see God's faithfulness, I feel called to share with you a little bit about myself.  I want to give you an idea of how I got to the place in my life where it was very difficult to trust God's plan for me. It was very difficult to believe that He knew me, and that He wanted good and only good for my life.  Sure, trusting God's plan can be hard for everyone.  It was especially difficult for me because in my mind I believed that I had reason to not be completely trusting; although, I wanted His will and longed to trust Him.  I will admit that I like to be in control, I thought that I NEEDED to be in control because it guarded my heart.

It all began a little over 6 years ago when our marriage was blessed with the wonderful gift of life.  We had prayed for the blessing of a child, and were very open to bringing the gift of children into our family.  Only five short months after getting married, we conceived.  Life was great!  We were overjoyed to be partakers with God in bringing this life into the world.  Little did we know it would be a life that we would only know for a short while.  In my 5th week of pregnancy we miscarried.  With the news of the death of our baby, my heart sank.  I was sick.  Relying on my own courage, I dug deep, and tried to put myself back together.  My soul ached, my sweet baby, whom I didn't get to know was gone from this earthly life.  Eager to move on, we were quick to attempt pregnancy as soon as the doctor cleared us to try again.  God was so good, it was easy, we were pregnant in no time!!  Certain of God's goodness, I knew that He would not want me to suffer the lose of another child, right?  I demanded God to give me the gift of life, a life that I could know and love as my own.  He is a good God, indeed, I believed it!!  Unexpectedly, our once healthy pregnancy took a turn for the worse, or was it the better.  Only God knew His plan!!! His perfect plan.  We miscarried again; this time at almost 8 weeks gestation.  I was grateful for the short time that I had spent with our child, but I was hurting so deeply, a part of me would be gone forever.  God had a plan, but I didn't know it, and I didn't want any part of it.  I knew for sure that my will, interjected into the plan that God had for me was safe, secure, and good enough.

Life went on, after almost two years of telling God that I wasn't ready to give Him control, we found ourselves madly in love.  We had just given birth to our first child.  With great joy, I accepted the gift of love that God gives mothers for their children.  A love like no other.  Four healthy babies later, and never admitting it until about 6 months ago, I was still angry at God for taking my first two babies away from me. This anger, caused a division in my relationship with God. I trusted Him, and I did long for His will to be done, but I always played it safe!!  I stayed where I was comfortable.  As I mentioned in a previous blog my prayer for the last year, as we've been discerning the call to missions, has been for God to complete the plan He has for me.  He knows me!! Through the gift of my children and the faithfulness of my husband, I was able to see that I needed healing!  God did have a plan.  He desperately wanted to bring this plan to completion, only if I'd completely trust Him and give myself totally to Him.  Facing my fear head on, only with God's grace and His perfect timing, I was finally able to forgive myself for the loss of our babies.  God is familiar with me, He was gentle with me, the way that I needed!!  Only He could know that it was what I needed!!  I came to understand that my children are not my own.  I've known this for a long time, and have even said it to other moms before, but it became real to me.  I realized that I'm created for what I have now, in this moment, I have everything that God has in store for me.  Striving to live according to His plan, my life has been restored!

As difficulties arise in our journey to becoming missionaries, I am quick to depend upon my own will, as I did for so many years when I felt that something was owed to me.  In just a few days, I've been given many signs of God's faithfulness because God knows me!!  He is more familiar with me than I am with myself!!  I write; especially, to share with you a few stories of the simple ways God has shown me that He knows what is best!  One afternoon, pondering over what to cook for dinner, as our fridge was mostly empty of the things needed to prepare a full meal.  Thinking of how I needed to go to the grocery store, I hear a knock on our door.  It was Martha, our sweet neighbor!  She had brought over some extra frozen fish filets from her freezer.  I knew in that moment that God was saying, "I provide.  I know you, and your needs." Trusting on God to provide the needed things for us to go into full-time missions is difficult for me.  Martha and her husband know of our plans to become missionaries, but she didn't know of my particular need on that day.  God gave me some reassurance of His providence.  He is faithful, and as always, He acts in perfect timing!   Before the week was over, another little blessing came to me.  I received an e-mail form a mom who works at John Paul the Great Academy, the school our oldest son attends. She was replying to my email asking for garage sale donations. She mentioned that she felt like the Holy Spirit was leading her to forward my e-mail to every other mother who had children at JPG.  A little taken back, I waited to respond. Eventually, I did, saying thank you to her for heeding to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  Again, God was so good, He is providing.  A single mom, who works for the Lafayette Police Department, e-mailed me because she got the forwarded e-mail about our upcoming garage sale.  She said since she can't serve the poor in the way we feel called, and she can't help with much being she is a single mother, she wanted to sponsor our family with a monthly donation of $25.  Moved to tears, I was reminded of God's faithfulness. Longing for her courage, I thought to myself, could I do what she was doing, for someone I didn't know, if I were a single mom?  The demands of family life seem like mountains to climb, and we live on a frugal budget so that I can stay home with our boys.  The week when I doubted God's plan for me the most, He showed up and allowed me to see that I needed to let go of my control because He had a plan for me.  Oh, how He was familiar with me!!  The Lord knows us, and is familiar with our ways.  He knows what is best for our lives!!  Let us join together in trusting God's will for our lives!  Let us serve God together!!  We need your prayers.  We can't fathom accomplishing anything without prayer! 

Please continue to pray for us!  Some of our immediate needs are to sell Chip's truck.  We need to sell it in order to pay down our family car to sell it later this year.  Another common question that we've been asked recently is where are we going to end up?  Well, we are still discerning this along with the directors of FMC. We may not know of our post until we complete our "Intake" training this fall.  Please pray for this to be made clear to both us and our directors.  Also, we have begun raising the proper funds to cover the expense of our three month training.  It will cost approximately $6800.00 for our family of six.  The cost covers our living expenses for three months, materials needed for our study, visas, passports, and a three week mission to Mexico.  I ask you to prayerfully consider how God might be asking you to serve.  We need partners in prayer.  We also need others, like the single mom, to make monthly donations to support our missions in the field.  We will commit for two years (hopefully longer!), embracing gospel poverty, the cost of living will be approximately $600-$800 per month for our family of six. Maybe God is asking you to serve the poor through us? If so, you can make monetary donations online at be sure to leave our name, Gauthe' in the memo portion online or if you are writing a check.

Be assured of our prayers, and God Bless,


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

To forgive or not to forgive.....

    Making the decision to become a missionary family has certainly been adventurous, but it can have it's moments of challenge.  Overwhelmingly, people have been very supportive of our decision, but there have been some who have not.  What's strange is it can come from those who are closest to you. Maybe it's because they are worried, misinformed, or just plan think your crazy!  Either way it can still be very hurtful.  This does not change God's call for our lives and when He calls we must go.  
    What these moments in this journey do call for is forgiveness!  I mean the kind of forgiveness that does not seek an apology or even a kind word back from the other person.  This can be tough because you want to hear another person acknowledge that they were wrong, but when we forgive it should be totally.  I have given quite a bit of reflection on this lately as Bernie can attest!
    The reason we forgive shouldn't be because they are our sibling, best friend, or even our parents.  We should forgive because that particular individual is made and created in God's image and deserves love.  No matter how awful they have treated us they still deserve to be loved!  I will admit this is way hard, but what a testimony to everyone's missionary call.  To be able to be the face of Jesus to those who have treated us poorly and to give them the example of our unwavering yes to His call.  What a gift has been given to us!!!
    God's call for us to evangelize is a gift.  His call for my family to enter into missions is a gift.  This includes the difficult times as well!  I can say that even in our short time since making this decision God has already stretched me in so many ways, His grace has abounded in so many way, and we haven't even left the country!   So to forgive or not to forgive really is not the question that should be asked at all.  Rather, how willing are you to love?

In Christ,


Monday, April 15, 2013

Our Journey Begins!

Whew, our blog is finally here, and so is our first post!

"Then He told them:  Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation" 
(Mk 16:15).  

As a family, we have discerned that God is calling us to be missionaries.  That means all six of us!!!!  We are very excited about what God is calling us to.  What a blessed and fruitful Lent, and Easter it has been!! Indeed, God will complete the work He has begun in us!!  As the story goes...11 months ago, we began to entertain the idea of  going on "one" single mission trip.  Our life was very busy, we were preparing for a big move, and the birth of our fourth son.  It was too much to think about, much less do.   The idea was just that, an idea that went forgotten about for a couple of months.

After our arrival in the wonderful, joyfully Catholic community of Lafayette, LA we immediately began seeking a ministry to serve in, this time, as a family.  We've served the Church in various ministries in the past, but never as a married couple or a family!  Excitedly, we began our search...will it be marriage prep? NFP? College ministry at our church parish of Our Lady of Wisdom?  Surely, it wasn't going to be youth ministry, we have been content with youth ministry being only an expression of a previous chapter of our life. Never committing to any particular thing, our hearts were restless.  Yet again, we found ourselves serving the young church, volunteering occasionally for a friend who was in need of some experienced help with her youth group. With attempt to avoid committing full-time, we decided to give an entire weekend serving at a confirmation retreat.  Hesitantly, we drove our four energetic little boys to Our Lady of the Bayous Retreat Center in Abbeville, La.  Ann insisted that we do this as a family, bringing all the little ones.

Away from the hustle of our new city life we came upon this old convent, excited to be extra, "full" hands and "busy" feet for our friend (we did just bring our four boys on a weekend retreat), we easily did what we've always known, youth ministry.  It came natural, we introduced ourselves to the many teens on retreat, as our kids were excitedly hanging on teens whom they had just met, but already loved.  We had great peace about serving the teens that weekend, as a family. It wasn't one half hour after we arrived that Chip came to me and said, "this is it, this feels right, this is what we are supposed to be doing."  I said, "Hmm...ok," and we parted ways without giving any thought to what was said.  We went on to talk with the beautiful young missionary family who was staffing the retreat as kitchen staff for Family Missions Company.  Sammie, his expecting wife, and their two small children had just come home from serving in the Philippines.  Again, our lives crossed, Sammie and Bernie had served on Service Crew for a Steubenville South Youth Conference.  Our eyes and hearts were opened as we were reminded of the hundreds of  thousands of people in the world who have not been afforded an opportunity to know Jesus. Their love and joy for serving the poor, was contagious.  Our hearts began to burn!  We have served the poor before, but our hearts were being prepared for a something more. Bernie had served on two FMC short term mission trips, organizing one of them while in college, and also at Abraham's Tent (a food pantry in Lake Charles').  Chip also has a great love for those less fortunate than him, especially the homeless. He'd often visit and help a homeless man he had met outside of a church when he lived in Jackson, MS.  We've taught our boys to be generous with their things, giving away toys and clothes every year before Christmas.  Seeds had been planted, and have begun to grow.

We began Lent, open, begging, and trusting that God would complete the work He had begun in us.  Seeking some direction, as we prayerfully discerned the possibility of going on a a mission trip, or becoming full-time lay missionaries we began to attend Mission Formation nights (an evening of prayer, worship, fellowship, and a meal).  Go!  God was calling us.  To which capacity, we did not know.  There was an upcoming mission trip, Easter week.  After doing our homework we realized that it was virtually impossible for us to get two expired passports, and four new passports plus all of the other items lined up in just a few short weeks.  Instead, we decided to go on a Come and See with Family Missions Company which is a four day retreat for people discerning a life of missions, part or full-time.
We entered into the weekend with open hearts, as we had started our Lent, seeking clarity and exact direction.  We were expecting God to move! Our burning hearts began to burn even stronger!  We were already seeing our lives change, our hearts were full!  We heard God speak to us through various people, scripture after scripture, and through the words of Blessed John Paul II's encyclical,  Mission of the Redeemer.  Our restless hearts were beginning to be at peace, the concerns and questions we had were being answered.

Resting, and catching up at the end of a long day of physical work and prayer, I asked Chip, "why can't it just be easy to say yes?  It is such a simple little word, yet it is so difficult to say," before Chip could answer me, we heard our sweet sweet Nicholas; belt out, from across the house, at the top of his lungs, "Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Yes, yes, Lord."  There, we had the most clear sign of all, from the mouth of babes. It is that simple!  We are called, and we must go!  We know the journey will be both joyful and difficult, but this is where it begins. 

"I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things."  ~Mother Teresa