Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Video Snippet of Our Ride Into the Jungle

Each month our family takes a 4-6 hour truck ride into the mountainous valley of Bombonajillo to bring the Good News to people in remote villages.

In the past we've tried to capture the hilarity which ensues during our trips in and out, but snapshots don't seem to suffice; especially because we can only use our camera when we're not hanging on for dear life. We hesitate to take photos while crossing rivers, bouncing between huge boulders or creeping up ridiculously steep inclines, which means our pictures only illustrate the "good" sections of the road.

We hope you enjoy this video clip which provides a sample of what the "good" sections of the road are like during a dry spell. Keeping in mind that we're in the jungle, "dry" is relative. On our way in this last time the locals told us they hadn't gotten a "real" rain in weeks and felt blessed by the condition of the road. Who would have guessed?

After watching this video, we hope you better understand what we mean when we say that the roads are sometimes "impassible".  If it rains while we're in the valley visiting, we're stuck there until the road dries up and drivers are able to pass through.  The most we've ever been delayed is two days, but we've heard stories of people being unable to leave for weeks. Although that may seem like a big deal, it's not. We cherish our time visiting these communities and welcome the Lord's plan each and every time we go. Enjoy the clip...

We'd love to hear from you via email:

If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to support us financially, please visit:
or call Family Missions Company at (337) 893-6111

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Chris' Song - "Jesus My Friend"

"As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another 
as good stewards of God's varied grace. 
Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, 
let it be with the strength that God supplies, 
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, 
to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever."
(1Peter 4:10-11)

God has blessed Chris abundantly with the gift of music. He effortlessly expresses himself through the saxophone and piano. He enjoys playing the flute, clarinet and any other instrument available.  In the Fall of 2015, during formation with Family Missions Company, Chris utilized this gift to learn the guitar. Upon arriving in Peru, months later, he had an impressive repertoire which he selflessly played (over and over) for our ministries. As the months passed, Chris' new skills allowed him to express himself through the guitar as he has done with other instruments for so many years. Last Fall, the Spirit moved in Chris and inspired him to compose a song for Jesus, his friend. We pray that with this song, God is glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever! Enjoy...

We'd love to hear from you via email:

If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to support us financially, please visit:
or call Family Missions Company at (337) 893-6111

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Perfect Storm

Tucked away beneath the Amazonian canopy are countless little villages where people live tranquil lives growing coffee.

They don't worry about mortgage payments because their homes are built from the resources which surround them. They don't stress about car notes or repairs because their only means of transportation is the strong feet the Lord has given them. We never hear parents nagging their kids about turning off lights because the homes don't have electricity.

Michael discovered that the black tarps covered in drying coffee beans
made for a warm place to rest.

A couple weeks ago we arrived at one such community uninvited and unsure of what to expect, especially because it is prime harvest season.

At first glance it seemed as though everyone was gone working on their (coffee) farms; so, we made ourselves comfortable...

...and took the opportunity to praise Our Lord in song.

My eyes filled with tears as I listened to the sweet voice of my husband of almost 19 years ringing out over the mountaintops.

After finding "Main Street" our speculation was confirmed. The only people around were children left home alone during the workday: 3AM - 7PM.

Although there was the temptation to feel disappointed, we quickly recognized the gift of time we had been given to learn and practice new songs for our ministry.

As our voices filled the air a curious young man poked his head out the door of a nearby house. We learned that he was visiting the pueblo to collect a supply of coffee beans for a friend in Lima.

We shared a bit about our story, but quickly realized that he was more interested in Jack and Michael's Bionicles. As he clicked and turned the little pieces he explained that he had never seen such a fascinating toy. After they had been playing for a while our new Bionicle friend began asking the boys about why we're here in Peru. It never ceases to amaze us how perfectly the Holy Spirit finds His way into each situation.

As we wandered around trying to figure out how to eat lunch in a village without any restaurants, open stores or available adults we noticed the educational opportunities before us:

TOPIC #1: Erosion

What is it?   Why is it dangerous?   How can it be prevented?

TOPIC #2: Waste Removal

What are the different types of waste?

How do people manage waste in different parts of the world?

Why is it necessary?

What are the dangers of poor sanitation?

Morning had faded into afternoon and we were still unsure as to why the Holy Spirit called us to this community. We found a covered porch which offered relief from the blazing hot son. Gradually more kids appeared and Jack and Michael were invited to play marbles and soccer on the community field.

Knowing that we had to walk 2-3 hours uphill to the next village, where we had been invited to spend the night, some of us decided to be proactive on the energy management front and catch some ZZZs.

Nap time was interrupted by shrieks of panic as adults we didn't even know existed scrambled to scoop up their drying coffee beans before the black storm clouds arrived. We rushed to help our new Bionicle friend save his crop from the impeding doom.

Once the beans were safely stored away we returned to our little place of shelter to wait out the storm.

Inconvenience? Not hardly.  It was the perfect time to read our bibles...

...and pray for our team members.

Just recently we wrote each of our team member's names on large popsicle sticks.  We take these sticks with us when we travel so that we can easily pray in transit.

As the dark clouds continued on to the next village they took the gigantic raindrops with them. In the misty air that remained the most beautiful rainbow appeared.

As we looked up in awe a soft voice whispered, "Read the children the story of Noah's arc."

And so we did...

Realizing that this was the first time most of them had heard the story, Katelyn did a great job of engaging them with questions and examples.

When we first spotted the rain clouds our minds filled with dreary thoughts of the upcoming journey along a dirt road that would be more slippery and dangerous than normal. However, while Katelyn was reading scripture, I dispelled the evil spirit of pessimism and acknowledged the beauty of what was happening right before my eyes.

It was in fact The Perfect Storm!

Soon after Katelyn was done the blessings began to shower down upon us.

The school's religion teacher showed up and offered to help us gather the community together that night.

He rounded up some buddies and together they carried a huge generator into the communal building so that we'd have light.

They used the town's (really loud) PA system, which is also run by a generator, to invite everyone to our gathering. All praise be to God, we had a tremendous turn out.

As we concluded we asked if there was possibly a truck which could take us to the next village. We received a resounding "No" because the roads were just too dangerous, even for the most skilled drivers. We accepted the reality that we'd have to transverse the path on foot, in the dark, and began loading up our gear when all of the sudden an incredibly kind woman with several little ones in tow approached to ask if anyone had offered to make us dinner before we left. We had planned to eat some crackers along the way, but this was a much more attractive option. By the dim glow of a flashlight we followed her down slippery slopes to a humble home where she lived with her beautiful 9 kids and wonderfully faith-filled husband. While we were enjoying the delicious rice, beans and freshly harvested coffee they invited us to stay overnight. God is so good!!!  When we accepted they began rearranging kids, blankets and bug nets to make space for their unexpected guests.

In the morning our hosts inquired about how they might start forming a Catholic community in their village. Instantly, the burden of carting around bibles, song books, rosaries, and pamphlets on how to pray the rosary vanished. After sharing the resources that we had on hand they felt they had what they needed to begin inviting people to gather in the Lord's name.

When we arrived in this village we were totally unsure as to what the Holy Spirit had planned. Although we renounced the evil spirits of doubt each time they taunted us, we struggled throughout the day to rest in the loving arms of Our Lord. How many similar experiences will we need to have before we learn to just trust?? Our time in this pueblo was incredibly blessed because of the very thing that had caused us stress ~ The Perfect Storm.

Please pray for the success of our journey back to this community in June, that our travels are safe and that the hearts of the people are softened and made ready for the workings of the Holy Spirit.

We'd love to hear from you via email:

If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to support us financially, please visit:
or call Family Missions Company at (337) 893-6111

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mission Formation is Underway

Family Missions Company (FMC) is a well of wisdom that never runs dry.  Collectively, there are lifetimes of experience that we constantly draw from to aid us in the field. One example has been the implementation of Mission Formation here in Peru.

At FMC Mission Formation was historically 
held at Our Lady of the Bayou, which is 
their retreat house in Abbeville, Louisiana.
At FMC, Mission Formation has been a time dedicated to raising up local missionaries. Each week the FMC staff, along with folks from the surrounding community, would gather to praise the Lord, share testimonies regarding mission activity, encourage one another in the mutual pursuit of evangelization and enjoy a meal together.

Several months ago our FMC team leaders were inspired to start Mission Formation here in Peru to assist in our effort of raising up local missionaries. As such, Mission Formation is now underway. We gather on the first Saturday of each month at the Catholic church's retreat center.

Yesterday, nine people joined us for this time of encouragement and sharing.

Our priests' supporters in Spain have donated all the needed funds
to build a new church on the grounds of the retreat center in Picota.
This will be a beautiful place of worship for years to come!!

We began with praise and worship.

Next, we reviewed the kerygma, which is the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Our participants practiced sharing a 3-minute version of the kerygma during the role-play activities.

There was great conversation regarding the opportunities we have to share the Good News, along with some common challenges.  Our local missionaries were really excited about the instruction as well as their "homework" assignment to practice.

It still amazes me that we can get a plate full of
chicken, rice and french fries, along with a fresh salad
for about $2.

Afterward we usually share a meal on the retreat house grounds, but the woman who typically prepares the food was unavailable.

Thanks to the generosity of Team Carmody, we were able to take the group to a local restaurant for a yummy chicken dinner.

After dinner we were able to attend Holy Mass altogether in Picota, which made our celebration of Pentecost extra special.

We look forward to gathering again in July and would appreciate any prayers offered for the success of this ministry.

We'd love to hear from you via email:

If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to support us financially, please visit:
or call Family Missions Company at (337) 893-6111