Every missionary has a “call to missions” story. It’s the time in our lives when we distinctly heard God say to us, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mk 16:15). We are going to share the short version of God’s call to us. Our story really has two components: our call to missions and our conversion to the Catholic Church.
When Beaux left active duty status in the Marines in 2011, we were seeking a lifestyle that was more family oriented. We didn’t want him to be gone months at a time. We didn’t like seeing him for just an hour at night. We missed him; the kids hardly knew him; so we moved to Colorado for Beaux to go to school.
After we moved to Colorado, we started church hopping. We spent months looking for a church whose mission statement matched what we believed. But we couldn’t find anything that fit perfectly. While we were searching, we started asking some pretty heavy questions. How did we know which interpretation of the Bible was correct? How could all Christians read the same Bible and have so many different answers? If God is the God of truth, then what is THE truth? Can’t there be only one truth? And if there is only one truth, who has it?
We decided to go back to the “beginning” of our religion and read what John Calvin wrote. We read The Institutes of Christian Religion and, ironically enough, he was the tipping point to our conversion! The more we read his work, the more we studied the Catholic Church. The more we studied the Catholic Church, the more convinced we were that THE truth was there. THE truth was in the Eucharist; it was in the sacraments and the Magisterium. We believed Jesus founded the Catholic Church and entrusted THE truth to her.
In 2014, after months of study, we joined the Catholic Church. But we were still looking for a family-oriented lifestyle that allowed us to serve God as a family. So we sold our house in Denver and bought a farm in northern Colorado, with the idea that we would breed show goats full-time and live and work as a family.
What we didn’t know: farm life was so expensive, Beaux would have to work almost constantly to pay the bills. He was working in North Dakota for most of the year; then he came back and was working 12-16 hour shifts most days. Once again, he was never home. He barely made it to mass on Sundays, let alone cultivate a family life centered around God.
I did my best on my own with the kids. We really focused on centering our home life on God, but we ran into problems when I wanted to serve with our kids. I called places around Greeley – homeless shelters and food banks and the like – and I wasn’t able to find an organization that would allow me to serve with the kids. No one wanted a 4-year-old, a 3-year-old, and an 18-month-old to tag along with me and help out. I was really struggling with figuring out how to serve with my children. I wanted to teach them to serve others. I wanted to teach them to perform the corporal works of mercy, but I couldn’t find anywhere to do it. Beaux was also struggling with trying to serve: his schedule was so demanding and erratic that he couldn’t commit to anything and when there was time off he had to focus on the farm and chores around the house.
All this, in a roundabout way, brought us to full-time missions work. I am going to leave out a lot of the smaller details here because my “short” story has turned into a novel, but essentially God placed the idea of missions work on Beaux’s heart and mine separately. Through the winter of 2015-2016, the idea of leaving the country and serving the poor became rooted in both of our minds. As a couple we pray daily that our children will grow up to be saints, that they will be faithful, and that they will go to heaven. And over and over again we heard God’s answer to us on how to make that happen: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
The funny part is, we hadn’t spoken this aloud to each other yet. We both thought, “This is too crazy, Alix/Beaux will never go along with this. THIS IS CRAZY!” And when we finally told each other, all the pieces fell together. During Lent of 2016 we decided. Yes, we will become missionaries.
And so here we are today. We’ve sold everything we have; we’re preparing to say goodbye to our family and friends; and then we’re leaving the country to serve the poor and preach the gospel.
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