The Wind: When I was 19, I spent a summer working as a Wilderness Guard for the Student Conservation Association in Creede, Colorado. My job was to hike the US Forest Service trails in the Weminuche Wilderness and give a report on the condition of the trails to the trail crew; were they washed away? Still covered in snow? And are the markings clear and easy to follow? What a dream job! To spend 10 days at a time, all alone on the top of a 13,000 ft. mountain 30 miles away from the nearest town and the only thing you can hear is the rustle of the gentle wind in the trees and the water pouring over the rocks in the creek.
One beautiful clear calm day; as I stepped to the highest point, I looked out at the vastness of mountains and forests as far as I could see. At that very moment a gush of wind hit me so powerfully that it knocked me down. As I stood up to find out what happened, I was shaking all over and had this burning feeling rising up my body. It was at that instant that I experienced our living God; an indescribable filling up of love, a love that is boundless, one that fills every space imaginable and still overflows. A love that makes you drop to your knees and weep uncontrollably at the very thought of ever parting from Him. This is God and He is more than enough.
Marriage: I’ve always wanted to be a foreign missionary and I married a man who wanted to be one also. Being the obsessive planner I am… I began researching and planning mission life for our family! After our 1st child, I told him of my plans for us to go into missions. My plan: raise our children in missions (living a simple life and trusting God to provide for our needs). Lou’s plan: build a business, sell it, retire and then go into missions so we could support ourselves and not worry. Oops, not the same plan, I guess we have to wait a little until he is ready to trust God will provide.
Researching and planning: In the meantime…Research, Plan…Research, Plan… While I waited, I gained certifications and experience in areas I felt was needed to help others. (How to help people out of poverty, plans for sustainable communities, effective educational systems, trades training, sustainable food systems, naturopathic healthcare, housing, etc…) I also had stacks and stacks of notebooks filled with research and planned communities ready for the day God said GO! By living a simple lifestyle, extensive planning and service in areas we felt drawn to, my desire for mission life increased.
25 years later…
The Waiting: Lou was not able to achieve his goals for financial sustainability. Discouraged and then humbled, he realized that it just wasn’t what God had planned for us. When Lou finally surrendered we began to give away everything and were waiting and waiting… and waiting for God to tell us WHERE to GO. We were literally packed and counting down the days before we needed to move out of our already sold house.
“Hello… God, it’s me. We have sold our house, given away almost all of our belongings and we were just wondering if you could let us know where you would like us to serve you?”
“Hello Mary, glad you have freed yourself from your material life, you are almost free to serve me, but there is something else you need to give up”
“What Lord, Lou’s tools? Because we didn’t know where you wanted to use us and he thought we might need them but if you want us to get rid of those too we can, just say the word?”
“No Mary, I want you to give up something more valuable to you”
“What Lord, family photos and memory boxes?”
“No Mary, something even more valuable to you”
“What Lord, tell me what could possibly be more important then family memories?”
“YOUR WILL Mary, I need you to give up YOUR WILL, YOUR DREAMS and Preconceptions of the way YOU think I need you to serve Me”
“Lord, you really can’t be asking me to get rid of all those years of researching and planning, do you? I did that for your people. Its plans of how to help them out of poverty, you can’t possibly be asking me not to help people out of poverty?”
“Mary, the greatest poverty is hopelessness, people who don’t know My love. There are plenty of people who can feed the hungry and house the homeless but I have so few who are willing to tell them about Me. I need you to feed them the Bread of Eternal Life”.
“Lord, I’m not qualified to teach your Word that is for the people with theology degrees”.
“Mary, you do not need a degree to tell people of My love and when you tell of My love it will give real hope, the one that satisfies the soul, not just the body”.
“ Lord, I want to do whatever you ask, but what you ask is not something I really feel comfortable doing or know how to do, wouldn’t I be more useful in something I already know how to do?”
“Mary, I can’t compete with your pride and your fears, I’m going to ask you again. Do you love Me?
“Then FEED MY SHEEP!… TRUST, empty yourself and I will give you everything you need.”
As I sat there shredding my stacks and stacks of hard work in research and planning, all I could do was weep because I realized that I was only willing to serve Him on my own terms and that I was putting human limitations on what God could achieve through me. God had to wait 25 years for ME to surrender! I know God will use every bit of who I am (my intellect, personality and interests and even the ability to serve the physical needs of people) to achieve His Will but now He will be able to use every bit of who He is, through my intellect, personality and interests.
By offering up Our plans for our lives, and entrusting ourselves to God’s Will for us, God removes the human limitations that restrict His ability to work through us and in turn creates in us a life that is beyond all dreams that we could achieve without Him.
Family Missions Company: Now with our surrender to God’s Will, He has been able to move through us more quickly. He led us to a foreign mission organization that is totally Catholic, invites families for long-term missions and doesn’t require college degrees; just an overwhelming desire to serve Christ and live among the poor. God’s graces in preparing our hearts and learning to trust have been poured out for us.
We invite all to join our family mission team through your prayers, sacrifices and financial support as we bring Christ’s love and hope to all who hunger to know Him.