Friday, October 30, 2015

Musical Miracle

The alarm announced the start of another day, so I rolled out of bed for my routine rosary walk.  It's tough to rise early, but I'm always glad when I do.  The rosary is an incredibly powerful form of prayer for me because I'm able to enter into such a deep state of meditation.  Praise God that my Guardian Angel also rises early and walks with me. 

A few weeks ago, I left the house intending to pray the rosary as I strolled along a beautiful nearby road.  I looked forward to welcoming the day as the sun rose over the bayou.  

At the end of the gravel driveway I realized the Holy Spirit had a different plan.  I felt a strong prompting to go left down the curved paved road, instead of to the right toward my original destination.
 The Holy Spirit spoke and I obeyed; not just at this decision point, but along my whole walk...even down a dead end road that I was unfamiliar with.  

Usually, after the 3rd decade, I turn around and head home figuring I'm half way.  Not this day.  When I stopped, the Holy Spirit insisted I continue walking.  This defied reason.  The further I went, the further I had to walk back.  When I reached home I needed to get myself ready, make breakfast and have everyone out the door by 8am...regardless, I obeyed and continued walking and praying.  

I came to a home that was noticeably nicer than the others.  I found myself lost in thought about wealth, possessions, attachments and how all that impacts our relationship with Jesus. As I rounded the bend I saw a HUGE pile of trash next to the road, behind the house where the yard meets the forest.  

Amidst the trash was a saxophone inside a case which was sitting open.  Did I mention that Chris had been wishing he'd brought his saxophone to Louisiana?  Did I mention that we had recently realized that if Chris wanted a saxophone, then we needed to pray for a saxophone?  After all, we knew that if the Lord wants Chris to bless people with his incredible gift of music, then the Lord would provide a horn....we weren't sure exactly how this would come to be, but we were sure it was possible.  

As I approached the pile of trash, I saw the proof that this was indeed a gift from God.  On the edge of the case was written "Chris".

I scooped up the sax and headed home.

When Chris heard the story and saw the horn he was in disbelief.  It all seemed surreal. Although finding a saxophone is amazing, it needed a lot of work which we didn't have the money for.

The Holy Spirit assured me that we'd be led to the person who would fix it for free.  Low and behold, that Sunday we went to Mass in a neighboring community with a friend.  The Knights of Columbus were hosting coffee/doughnuts.  We reached out to the brother Knights and asked if anyone knew of a horn repairman. Immediately a man offered up the services of his best friend from high school who is known as the #1 horn repairman in the area.  We took his contact information and followed the Lord's lead.

At Lafayette Music we asked for Raymond Goodrich, just as we were instructed by the brother Knight.  We shared the miraculous story of the saxophone's discovery, as well as the Holy Spirit's assurance that we'd find someone to fix it.

Last Thursday we picked up the horn, which had been restored to excellent of charge. Thank  you Raymond Goodrich.  All praise be to God!!

Just hours ago, Chris got to play the saxophone for our Friday night praise and worship.  He rocked the house - all for the glory of God!  

PS - I went by the house today to take a picture of the garbage pile (for this blog post).  It's all been hauled away, lest a few remnants. I believe that the Holy Spirit knew that I needed to go down that road on that day to find Chris' saxophone because it would be gone shortly after...truly amazing!!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

1 for Me, 3 for You - Happy Halloween!

Last Thursday felt like any other day until we strolled into the office to check our mail.  To our surprise and delight, a package laid waiting for us. The kids scooped it up, ran outside and quickly peeled away the layers of tape to reveal the contents.. HALLOWEEN CANDY!!! They burst with excitement.  The very thing they had been wishing for now sat before them.  (We're not celebrating Halloween this year so the kids assumed they wouldn't get candy.)  

We're supposed to pray before every decision; to truly seek the Lord's will and guidance in all things, big and small.  And so we did.... Luke 3:11 says, "Whoever has two tunics should share with the person who has none.  And whoever has food should do likewise."

There are very poor communities around us where kids will not receive any Halloween treats because the residents can't afford to provide them. The Holy Spirit spoke and we listened.

We set aside most of the sweets for others.  With what was left, the kids took turns selecting items they knew a sibling would like and gave it to them as the gift it was.

When we finished, Katelyn, Anna, Jack and Michael each had about 1/3 of a small jar:

"How does the pleasure of eating candy compare to the joy of giving others a gift?"  We talked about how quickly the happiness of eating something sweet disappears compared to the joy that dwells in the heart when we're generous to others.  However, I thought the kids would still be a bit disappointed.  I was totally wrong.  These were their responses:

Jack: "We need to give other kids most of our candy because we're supposed to decrease so they can increase."

Michael: "We can give the rest away, it's fine.  I don't need anymore candy." 

Anna: "I'm thankful that we have candy to give away.  The girl that gave it to us was very generous.  I feel so grateful for all that people have given us, to support us."

Katelyn: "I feel like God is getting us ready to go on missions by allowing us to have a little bit of candy when last year we had so much.  There's peace in my heart because the Holy Spirit told me I didn't need that much this year. God provides us with so much more."

During training, we've been learning about the necessity of not just "doing nice things for people," but bringing them Jesus.  How does that apply to sharing our Halloween candy?  The Holy Spirit told us to write a scripture verse onto 12 pieces of paper.  Then, attach 3 pieces of candy to each paper.  Anna, Michael, Katelyn and Jack will each have the opportunity to give 3 kids Jesus, a piece of candy and the opportunity to experience the joy of sharing when they in turn share the sweet message of Jesus Christ with two others.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Q: How Do You Get 500 Crosses From Bethlehem to Mexico?

A: Ask the Holy Spirit for help

In preparation for our short-term mission trip, we've been praying about what we can do for our brothers and sisters in Mexico. The Holy Spirit told us to take palm-size comfort crosses as gifts for those we're able to serve.

We found olive wood crosses, made in Bethlehem, for $1 each. Thanks to the very generous support of Team Carmody, 500 people will be blessed with a beautiful symbol of Jesus' love that they can hold on to long after we leave...literally, isn't that awesome!!

Our next task is to come up with the short blessing that we will say to each person as we give them a cross.  Oops, did we forget to mention it needs to be in Spanish, which we don't speak yet?   Please feel free to give your suggestions in the "Comment" field below.  We need all the help we can get!!

Thanks again for making this possible!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Prayer Request #1

At the beginning of November we'll leave the comforts of our new home in Louisiana and head for Mexico.  Our destination is General Cepeda, which is southwest of Monterrey.  During this short-term mission trip we'll minister to a variety of families, including those in the ranchos (small communities in remote areas of the desert that are often neglected by the government and therefore without basic services: water, plumbing, electricity, education). 

We humbly ask for your prayers ~ that the hearts of the people Our Lord is calling us to serve there are made ready for the love and Good News of Jesus Christ.

Our second prayer request is for those discerning our long-term placement ~ that peace fills their hearts as the Holy Spirit reveals where Jesus is calling us to serve: China, India, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, Costa Rica or the Philippines.

Thank you so much for your continued support.  May God bless you this day!!

Anna's Sunday Afternoon Nail Polish Party

"Hi, my name is Anna.  I'm 10 years old and my favorite thing to do is paint nails..."

Anna kept her polishing skills sharp by hosting the first-ever Nail Polish Party here at FMC.  The Community House bustled with excitement as ladies young and not-as-young "broke the ice" by digging into each other's nail polish past.  "Who has never had their nails painted by somebody else?"  "Who loves having each nail a different color?"  "Who prefers only shades of pink?"  The interrogating continued as polish patterns were intricately designed on Post-It notes for the upcoming memory challenge.

As the activities continued, the guests slipped away to visit Anna's Polishing Emporium for their personalized polishing session.

The grand finale showcased two talented teams performing their impromptu nail polish themed songs. 

To Anna's delight, the fun continued on throughout the afternoon.  Her guests marveled at the seemingly endless pallet of color choices and selected their favorites to decorate any unpolished nails left in the room.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Boils, Be Gone!!

We gathered at the Community House to find out what local ministry our family would be participating in each Thursday.

 ", each team will have a different ministry.  Some folks will facilitate the bible study at our local soup kitchen, for example, and others will visit the home-bound."  We waited eagerly to hear our names called.  As each ministry was described and assigned we felt an alternating sense of relief and disappointment.  "Our last group is the Carmodys along with Andy, Reagan and Angelica.  Ya'll are doing door-to-door evangelization."   My heart sank.  "Clearly  there's been a mistake," I thought.  "Catholics don't do door-to-door evangelization."    

A few short hours later we were walking from house to house.  Contrary to my initial assumption, we weren't trying to convert anyone.  The priest at the local Catholic church simply asked us to reach out to folks to see if there is anything they need, bring them the love of Christ and pray with them if possible.  Our first opportunity came when a woman with loud, snarling dogs answered the door.  "What did you say?" she yelled through a thoroughly scratched storm door, "Who are you?"  Moments later Chris was praying for the oil fields, although we weren't really sure why.

Next, we met Oliver, who graciously invited us in and happily talked for an hour.  As we were leaving he asked us to pray for his boils.  He'd tried everything, but nothing helped.  They were so bad that his mom insisted on taking him to the hospital, but he wouldn't go.  We prayed over Oliver and begged Jesus to heal him.  Realizing that our time was up, we headed back to church for lunch and figured we'd had a pretty good first day.  

Fast-forward to the following Thursday: "Hi ya'll.  Come in, come in." Oliver said excitedly as we approached his house.  After a short bit of conversation he told us that all of his boils were gone.  He attributed the healing to the gumbo file and egg he had rubbed on them, but we gave all praise to God and God alone!!!  In Acts chapter 3, we hear the story of the crippled beggar who was healed.  Peter says to the bystanders, "...why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?  The God of  Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified His servant Jesus...and by faith in His name, this man, whom you see and know, His name has made strong and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you."

God is good, all the time!  All the time, God is good!  Please continue to pray for us as we learn how to be instruments of His almighty love.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Tabasco Ice Cream

"Hi, my name is Jack Carmody and I am 8 years old.  I'm excited to teach people about Jesus and I'm also excited to live in new places so I can try new food; especially spicy food because that's my favorite."

This last weekend, Jack's dream came true.  We ventured out into Cajun country and toured the Tabasco factory that has been in operation since the 1800s.  We tried many different sauces, Tabasco soda pop and YES, even Tabasco ice cream - raspberry chipotle flavored.  Jack loved it!!!

A fellow missionary-in-training (Andy), who is from the area, has been enculturating us to everything Cajun.  We had lots of fun learning about some favorite past times: climbing Live Oaks, Spanish mossball fights and sledding Louisiana style.



We rounded out the day chasing an armadillo into a bamboo grove where the kids  learned how to climb the fallen culms.  As a side note, chasing armadillos has become Michael's favorite activity since he was banned from capturing snakes.