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.