Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Go, You Are Sent!

Intake 2015 concluded with the Commissioning Mass at St. Theresa of the Child Jesus in Abbeville, LA.  

This is the same church that sent forth
Frank and Genie Summers decades ago.

The church flooded with tears of joy and eager anticipation as we officially became Catholic Missionaries - Thank you Jesus!! 

We all celebrated with music, dancing and of course some jambalaya.  

FMC operates under the authority of the Catholic church.  Missionaries are sent with the blessings of bishops here in the States and are received with the blessings of bishops abroad.  

While home for Christmas we were honored to meet with Bishop Reiss of the Archdiocese of Detroit.  

The Holy Spirit jumbled our plans a bit to allow us to be together on the Feast of the Holy Family. His Excellency shared a beautiful prayer of encouragement; that we're able to model the Holy Family in our mission in Peru.  We were blessed by the opportunity to venerate a 1st class relic of Saint John Paul II.

As our time together wrapped up, Bishop Reiss surprised us with some gifts.  He had exactly six rosaries left which he received personally from Pope Francis. 

He also shared the blessed holy cards that the pope gave him to pass out.  The backside shows the papal coat of arms and motto: "Miserando atque eligendo" which translates to lowly but chosen. This perfectly reflects our humble gratitude at being called to missions.

Having received our bishop's blessing on the Feast of the Holy Family we feel ready to go where we have been sent - Peru!!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

More Pictures of Rancho Visits in Mexico

"Hey, I know you're busy, 
but can you please go grab the camera?"  

While we were walking around the rancho inviting folks
to the chapel for prayer.
It was tough to remember to stop and take pictures at the ranchos. It seemed like our ministry required every bit of our attention from the minute we arrived to the time we left hours later.  

A home at the rancho we visited one night.
Often times, when we did remember to take a photo, the lighting was poor, the lens was dirty from the dust in the desert or somebody bumped the camera. We chose the best pictures we had for the newsletter, but we wanted to share some of the others - despite their poor quality.

A big, beautiful missionary chapel at the rancho.
Thank you Jesus!!

As a group, we led a powerful night of prayer at this particular rancho - praise be to God!! 

Several missionaries, including Karen, gave testimonies of their own faith journeys. 

Joseph Summers, the director of FMC, gave a captivating talk on the Feast of Christ the King.  It was inspiring to see how well he connected with them and related the gospel to their lives.  They were laughing, crying and praising the Lord together in a way that we hope to duplicate some day.  

Joseph invited the locals to give testimonies.  A 14 year old came forward to share: 

He recalled the missionaries that "came through" 
periodically when "he was a kid". 
He loved being invited to the chapel with his mom 
to pray, learn about Jesus and sing songs about love. 
When he was 12, his life hit rock bottom. 
He was involved with a gang, had dropped out of school and 
was addicted to drugs. He overdosed and ended up in the hospital. 
His "friends" ran. His parents were furious. The neighbors were scared. 
Laying in the hospital bed, he felt that 
the only person that loved him was Jesus. 
He wept as he recalled the joy he felt when 
"the missionaries would come through". 
More than anything, he desired that joy once again. 
When he got out of the hospital he completely changed his life. 
He spent his time reading the Bible instead of hanging out with his gang. 
He craved the Eucharist instead of drugs. 
He fell head over heels in love with Jesus 
and wanted everyone else to love Him too. 
Since then, this boy is committed to bringing others 
into a personal relationship with Our Lord and Savior.

As he finished his testimony I found myself deep in thought...praise God for Team Carmody.  I thank every one of you for making it possible for us to say "yes" to this call to missions.  I thank you for helping us to plant seeds that the Holy Spirit will water.  I thank you for making it possible for us to bring people (like this boy) what they need more than anything else - Jesus Christ!

After the testimonies, Chris and several missionary brothers rocked the house with Spanish praise and worship songs. 

We ended the night by praying over anybody that asked for intersession.  The people were eager because of all the miracles they've witnessed.  In our training we learned about the strong faith of the poor.  They have nothing else, so they "have to" rely on God, who definitely rewards their faithfulness!

As people were leaving we passed out comfort crosses to any that hadn't received one. They were incredibly grateful!!

This picture captures one man's excitement in such a beautiful way.  We were able to give him a crucifix for his home AND a rosary- both of which he longed for but had never had.  

Thanks again Team Carmody for all you're doing to bring the love of Christ to the nations!


Desert Day is a Must for Team Carmody

Decades ago, when Frank and Genie Summers (the founders of Family Missions Company) left their life here in the United States to become full-time foreign missionaries they didn't know exactly what to do.  There was no manual to follow or even others to learn from.  However, they did know one thing - they wanted to emulate Jesus as best they could in all things.  This desire to live like Christ shaped their lives one decision at a time.

Photo of the hill country in Jerusalem.  This shows
the type of deserted area that Jesus may have gone to pray.

Mark 1:35 gives us insight into Jesus' prayer life: "...He left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed."  In the Bible there are multiple examples of Jesus seeking private time in isolated places to pray.  

Frank and Genie concluded that they should be doing this as well.  They began a weekly "Desert Day" tradition, whereby they went to deserted places, for extended periods of time, to read scripture and pray.  This tradition has survived the decades and continues to be a vital part of Family Missions Company today.

Michael reading his Bible during Desert Day in Mexico.
In Mexico we actually got to go into the desert, like Jesus, and spend time alone in prayer.  Reading scripture completely uninterrupted quickly became a favorite part of our routine.

This private time of prayer, away from the distractions of life, has been incredibly powerful for our family.  We look forward to our Desert Days in Peru and encourage you to carve out time in your weekly schedule for isolated prayer. 

Field Training in Mexico...Thank You Jesus!

The mountain in the background was our challenge for the day.
At lunch, as we scooped up our last bit of rice and beans, Michael asked, "Hey guys, could we go mountain climbing today during our free time?"  Chris and I exchanged a quick glance that said, "Why not?" and began making plans. 

We'd have to leave soon.  The closest mountain was a decent size, we didn't know where exactly to begin since the mountain was surrounded by people's private ranches, and free-time only lasted a few hours... 

This is a picture from atop the mountain.  We could see the dirt road
we came in on.  
From there our van looked REALLY small parked
by the rancher's barn, 
which meant we'd climbed REALLY high.
Can you see our van?
We headed out of town on a small dirt road and ended up at someone's ranch.  The owner smiled and welcomed us with a greeting we didn't understand.  We pointed at the mountain and acted out "hiking" as if we were playing charades.  He laughed and agreed, so we set out.  

Our friend Shelbey carefully choosing her next move.

Although we've hiked many mountains as a family, navigating through a vertical cactus labyrinth was something new.  

We eagerly ascended singing songs of praise to Our Almighty God who gave us such a majestic world to enjoy!

Periodically, as we boosted kids up over large boulders surrounded by intimidating vegetation, we considered the challenge of the descent.  However, the excitement of reaching the top washed the apprehension away and propelled us upward.  The kids led the way and chose the least cluttered route.  

Inch by inch we found our way to the peek, which was glorious...

The Carmodys along with our missionary friends - Shelbey, Mariam and Michael.

Despite our crunched schedule, we spent time atop the mountain reading scripture and praying. Standing so close to heaven (elevation = 6,000ft) we felt especially open to the Lord's voice. Among the many things we've learned during our training, we've learned to always make time for prayer..Thank you Jesus!!!

We had a brief tutorial on climbing down a (steep) mountain, which is significantly different than climbing up... especially when the route is cluttered with painful obstacles.  We mentally prepared ourselves for falling into at least six cactus each and decided it would be a blessing if we encountered less. We talked about redemptive suffering and the importance of offering up our hardships for others. We've been taught to praise the Lord for all the difficulties we face because we know they are opportunities to grow in faith and dependence on Our Loving Father.  This was such a practical application of all we've learned...who would have guessed?  

Thank you Jesus for this unexpected field training.