Saturday, August 31, 2019

Carmody Family featured in the Detroit Catholic Online Publication by Chris

While we were back in the U.S., we had a wonderful surprise.  We were contacted by Janet Sugameli-Biondo from Detroit Catholic .  Detroit Catholic is the new online version of the Archdiocese of Detroit's previously titled, Michigan Catholic newspaper.  It switched over to being online-only last year.  She interviewed our family at my in-laws residence in Ortonville, Michigan.  We were so blessed to see the article published on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, which happens to be our anniversary and was the day Karen and I celebrated 21 years of marriage.

Here is the link:

Hope you enjoy the article!

Yours in Chris,

We'd love to hear from you via email:

If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to support us financially 
so that we can continue serving those in need, please visit:

call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.

Thank you and God Bless!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Language School in Nairobi ~ by Anna

Hi everyone, it’s Anna! We’re at language school in Nairobi! The language school we’re going to is also a seminary for what are called the Consolata Missionaries. They are priests and nuns who are sent to other countries that are in need of religious to work to build up the church. This language school opens its instruction to outsiders, like us, which helps to fund their order.

Our language school is a compound that has the school building, theology building, kitchen, men’s and women’s corridors, 2 chapels, a farm and athletic fields.  My guess, for whatever it's worth, is that our compound is about 20 acres. It’s pretty safe here.

There is a guard at the entrance to the compound 24-7 and it’s off the main street and on a not-busy road.

This is the front of our language school building.

This is the back of our language school.

In the compound, there is a woman who cooks for everyone. For breakfast every day she makes Chai tea and we have a piece of bread.

For lunch and dinner we have rice, some kind of meat, beans, cabbage, lentils, noodles, a Kenyan food called ugali, and things like that.

The other night there was a special treat waiting for us - pig snout soup.

The seminary / language school compound is pretty much self- sufficient.

On their farm there are chickens, cows, pigs, goats, and rabbits... Yeah, we don't really know what they do with the rabbits but we're pretty sure they eat them.

We've been so blessed by having fresh milk from the cows each day.

Jack and Michael have been able to go for walks with their language teacher a few times to learn all the names of all the animals in Swahili.

Here is a picture of us with some of the other people that live here at the compound.  We play soccer and basketball with them in the afternoon sometimes when we're all free.

At first we split up so Jack and Michael were in one class, Mom and I were in another class together, and then Katelyn and my Dad were in their own class.

We did that for the first two weeks, but then we had to change because of a conflict with the teachers' schedules.

Now Jack and Micheal are in a class with Dad and Katelyn.

We have class for 4 hours each day during the week, but not on Saturday or Sunday.

It's been awesome we've had many good conversations about our faith with Agnes, our language teacher.

Here is picture of Mom and I in our class with Agnes.

Here is a video of Mom and I speaking in Swahili.  We wrote our script from what's in our minds, which is cool because we've only had two weeks of class so far.

Here's another silly quote of Mom and I working on memorizing our verbs.  It's so confusing because so many of the words sound alike.... kukufa, kukafuta, kufuka...ugghhh!

God works in so many wonderful ways! God was definitely at work when it was decided which of us would get which teacher because He had little plans for each of us.

Here are Dad and Katelyn in class with their teacher Patrick.

Here is a video of Dad, Katelyn, Jack and Michael introducing themselves in Swahili.

These are the two chapels here at our compound.  We've been very blessed by being here with this wonderful community.

Pray that God continues to open our mouths and minds to learn this new language so we can teach people about the GOOD NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!

Also please pray that we can make some friends because we'ave all been feeling a little lonely.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Yesterday, Today & Forever - Celebrating 21 Years!!

Years ago, at a social gathering, Chris and I sat across the table from an older couple whose tender embrace and warm smiles led us to believe that life had been “smooth sailing”. 

It wasn’t until our conversation drifted from small-talk into more personal topics that we considered the possibility that they were as close as they were because of the hardships they had endured together. At one point the husband laughed and said to his wife, “Remember the 70’s? Those were some rough years.” “You’re telling me,” she said with a sigh as she leaned deeper into his embrace. We weren’t sure if he meant the 1970s or their 70s, but either way, it was clear that he was referring to an entire decade. As we drove home we talked about this couple’s obvious love for one another and jokingly wondered how old we’d have to be before we too would start chunking our life into decades.
Prior to missions, Chris and I considered our marriage to be exceptionally strong. Although we recognized that we had some “issues”, they went unaddressed. Not only did our hectic schedules lack space for long, difficult discussions, but it also seemed unnecessary to make a mountain out of a molehill, as it were. “Every couple has issues, so what’s the big deal?” we'd say to ourselves as to avoid doing what really needed to be done. When we entered missions the distractions of our life disappeared: home improvement projects, music lessons, karate, homeschooling outings, family vacations, friends, family members, social engagements and everything else. Metaphorically speaking, the rug had been yanked away and every little thing hiding beneath it lay unexpectedly exposed. We could no longer deny the issues that existed, nor could we ignore the impact that they were having on our marriage and our kids, but where could we start? What should we do? As to continue avoiding the seemingly impossible task of repairing what had slowly deteriorated over the course of two decades, we chose to dive headfirst into the mission and focus on helping other people with their problems instead of worrying about our own. The “issues” didn’t go away, of course. Instead, they grew into real problems that were starting to destroy our marriage. Although it was really, really hard, Chris and I accepted the fact that we would need to leave Peru and return to the United States to receive the professional help that we so desperately needed.

The details of our healing journey are too many to recount, but there is one particular moment that stands out in my mind that I want to share. Last year, Chris asked me to watch a video with him on the sacrament of marriage. It opened with a collection of testimonial clips; couples whose relationships were albeit over until they surrendered to Our Lord and begged Him to “make all things new” as He promises in chapter 21 of Revelations. As I listened and watched my heart sank even deeper into the pit of despair because I was certain that our story was different, that it was somehow worse. In fact, I had fallen for the devil’s lie - that our marriage was beyond hope. Staring past the screen, I tried to imagine us snuggled together on a couch, like the couples in the video, explaining with twinkling eyes that our relationship was better than ever. I couldn’t even imagine us sitting close together, nonetheless joyfully proclaiming victory and thanking God for restoring our love for and commitment to one another.

On August 15th Chris and I celebrated 21 years of marriage and I’m SUPER DUPER grateful to say that our excitement to snuggle on the couch together has returned and we’d gladly share a bit of our testimony. As ironic as it may seem, I think I would probably start by explaining how much better our marriage is now than ever before. Like the wives in the video, I would give all glory to God for the miracle of healing and restoration, and insist that others who are struggling seek the Lord. Of course, our marriage isn't perfect, nor will it ever be, but with the Lord’s grace we’re able to accept the things we cannot change, we have the courage we need to change the things that need to be changed, and daily, we beg for the wisdom that we need to know the difference! Chris and I continue to celebrate the victory that we have obtained through Christ, but we also understand the importance of remaining vigilant. After all, "our opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We are committed to keeping our marriage as our top priority and hold each accountable for making intentional decisions that will build us up and breathe life into our relationship.

On our anniversay, Anna gave us a small bunch of flowers that she picked from a bush close to her dormitory. They have the most beautiful aroma, but that isn't what made them so special. Unbeknownst to any of us, the name for these flowers translates to "Yesterday, Today and Forever." There is nothing that could have been more perfect!!

Chris and I are SO appreciative of all the prayers that have been offered these last couple of years for us. We know how powerful prayer is and doubt that we would have made it through without the loving support of so many. 

As a small token of our appreciation, we're dedicating this upcoming year to praying for others who are struggling in their marriages.  Each morning Chris and I spend about an hour praying together. We’ve decided to use a portion of that time for intercessory prayer. Daily, we’ll petition the Lord for His help in restoring what has been lost in your marriage or perhaps the marriage of a loved one. We know that Jesus wants to “make all things new” (Rev 21:5), but we also believe that He waits for us to invite Him into our difficulties. If you'd like us to add any married couples who are struggling to our prayer list, simply send us an email with their names:
If you include a brief explanation we’ll know what specifically to pray for, but it’s not necessary. We promise to hold any/all information we receive very close to our hearts in complete confidentiality.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for anything and everything you've done to help us arrive at this joyful celebration of 21 years together. We're looking forward to 21 more! 
God bless you, Karen

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Our First Participation in Holy Mass

St. Massimo Catholic Church is usually filled on Sundays,
all praise be to God!!  As a rough estimate, we think there were
over 300 people in attendance, which is awesome!

Mass here at St. Massimo Catholic Church in Mikinduri is the same Holy Mass that is celebrated around the world; however, it's beautifully unique AND significantly longer. For 3-4 hours we clap, sing and dance, which is simultaneously invigorating and exhausting.

Each week a different Small Christian Community choreographs and performs five different dances for the Mass.  One is done as an entrance celebration, another proceeds the gospel reading, a third accompanies the offertory, the fourth is done after communion, and the final dance is the exit processional.  As it happened, the Small Christian Community that we're a part of was scheduled to perform at Mass the second Sunday that we were here in Mikinduri.  So, we attended the ONE rehearsal to learn all of the moves that were decided on during that same gathering.  It was very humbling to jump in and attempt to learn the moves that they've been doing all their lives.  We all laughed a lot, to say the very least.  Here's a video clip of our entrance dance:

In addition to the dances, the Small Christian Community is also charged with doing the readings and petitions.  Chris bravely volunteered to read the first reading - in English.  He did a great job of going slowly and annunciating each word.

We've learned that everyone in our area learns to speak Kimeru as children. This is their tribal language and is referred to as their "mother tongue".  In the beginning years of primary school, the kids who live in developed areas learn Swahili, which is the universal language of East Africa.  This allows them to communicate with their fellow Kenyans who speak any one of the 44 different tribal languages here in Kenya.  Knowing Swahili also allows the Kenyans to communicate with other East Africans who speak their own respective tribal languages.  Around age 9 or 10, the kids who attend well-funded schools begin learning English.  If they pass the comprehensive incremental exams administered by the government they continue their studies and will eventually become fluent in English.  Those who are less fortunate leave the education system, begin working at a very young age, and never attain fluency.  Our observation so far is that those who speak English have access to good-paying jobs and seem to live relatively comfortably based on local standards.  Those whose circumstances seem more difficult only speak Kimeru or possibly some Swahili.  We're eager to learn Swahili so that we can communicate with the average folks and even hope to learn Kimeru so that we can minister to the poor and uneducated in this area.

Anna is on the far left of the line of parishioners.
During Mass Anna was one of the people who stood in front of the church to offer petitions.  Like Chris, she spoke very slowly and clearly so that the people could understand her.  She prayed specifically that all couples trying to conceive would be blessed with children, that couples who are struggling in their marriages turn to Jesus for strength and guidance, that families be more united, that teens and young adults embrace their faith, that those who have chosen to walk away from the faith have the courage to return, and that they would have their children baptized.  Anna's prayers were incredibly sincere and her humility before Our Lord allowed the people a glimpse of her inner-beauty and strong faith.

Although our participation in Holy Mass was intimidating, especially dancing in front of everyone, we knew that it would be a powerful witness to our desire to be part of this community.  After the service ended, several people approached us to explain how happy they are that we're here.  We ask for your prayers - that we're able to remain open to the Lord's grace, that we make time to celebrate the small victories, and also that we're able to endure the difficult moments with confidence and hope.  Thank you for your willingness to journey with us.

We'd love to hear from you via email:

If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to support us financially 
so that we can continue serving those in need, please visit:
and indicate that your contribution is for The Carmody Family 
call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.

Thank you and God Bless!