Last week, Jason and Jonathan went up to visit one of the farthest communities from us in Chonta Punta: Mango Playa, which means Mango Beach. They went up early in the morning with Fr. Freddy and two seminarians. It was a 15 min drive from Chonta Punta, then a 10 minute ride in a motor canoe. After that a 6 kilometer march through the jungle, up mountain sides and in the mud. They arrived bringing catechesis and songs to the community before Mass, while Father Fredy confessed people. After Mass the community blessed the five of them with – a monkey and blood stew!
It is a gift to be able to serve together and watch our girls growing into very sweet and generous little girls who are learning to love Jesus and each other.
One night we offered to pray over people after a Scripture reading gathering. A lady asked to be prayed over for abdominal pain that she had suffered with for years. We all laid hands upon her, and begged for the Lord to heal her of pain and in all aspects of her life.
As FMC has grown, there is more and more need for extra help and support at Big Woods. In January 2017 we began the Missionary Disciple Internship Program to help fill the need for extra support staff around Big Woods, as well as offering a time of formation and ministry for the interns who come.
While missions comprises much of our life in Family Missions Company, the context from which it emerges is the rich life of community we are blessed to share. Our family recently had the opportunity to witness this gift of community at work during the wedding of our close friends.
When people are discerning joining missions, some have reservations about selling all they have, wondering how they will be provided for. But when we put ourselves in our Heavenly Father’s care and protection and rely on God for our needs He is so faithful!
You can’t take the mission out of the missionary! Although we are currently missionaries-on-furlough (not actively serving at one of FMC’s mission posts around the world), we have had no shortage of mission activity. Jesus is constantly offering us opportunities for ministry and evangelization in our daily lives.
They call it Kilómetro 64, just known by the nearest kilometer marker on the highway where this dusty village sits, next to a long line of windmills, directly under major, humming power lines, in middle of the Mexican desert.
In 35 years of celebrating marriages, I have never experienced such a vibrant Catholic community participating in the wedding ceremony. Every hymn was sung with gusto, every prayer response was spoken with clarity, every person was highly attentive to the Word and the Sacraments.
Sometimes I ask myself why we are still here. Yesterday I was praying my rosary and asking God what He was doing. Our time here in Ecuador has been far from easy. I have rarely encountered so many obstacles in such a small span of time. Every step forward is hard and slow. People (including our pastor) do not fully understand why we are here.
It is a beautiful mystery that our Lord so sought solidarity with man that He left his heavenly realm to be a man. This time in Costa Rica and these three families have helped us begin to understand this beautiful mystery of God’s love for us, a love so great that He lived and continues to live in solidarity with man.
This is Madam Eliana. She has been a dear friend of the FMC missionaries in L’Asile, Haiti for years now, and is just as eager to spend time with us new missionaries as she is to share stories about those from three years ago. On our visits to her humble Haitian home, we sit on the front porch, the place she often chooses to sleep because she prefers the cool air and solid ground to the bed inside the dark front room.
Olivia and the other missionaries serving with her visited this pueblo and faced such great resistance and indifference from the people. She would often describe it as a “heavy” place. We later discovered that a very famous witchdoctor lived and worked there. People came from all over to be cured by her or to receive a spell. No wonder the place feels like such a heavy stronghold of the Enemy.
During our missionary training, when referring to the way missionaries are called to bring God into ordinary life, someone jokingly coined the phrase “gettin’ awkward for Jesus.” This describes the missionary attitude: sharing the love of Jesus whenever, wherever, and with whomever – even at the expense of one’s social standing.