Summer Adventures

•August 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

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We are finally back at Big Woods after 3 months of intense travel!  In the past three months we have lived into our theme song “On the Road Again”, starting every new leg of the journey playing it out with kids singing along!  Between May 24 to August 23, our little missionary family has driven over 9,946 miles, spent over 167 hours in the car (of which Bridget drove about an hour and a half), slept in 24 different places (and only 16 nights in our own beds), driven through 19 states, visited Haiti, Canada and Mexico, saw 43 states license plates (including Hawaii) and most importantly connected with countless friends, family, mission partners and missionaries! What an adventure it has been!  We have felt the Holy Spirit’s presence with us each step of the way, blessing conversations and interactions, building us up and encouraging us, calling us deeper into the heart of Jesus.  Our kids have enjoyed every minute of it, often asking, “Who are we having dinner with tonight?” and “Where are we gonna sleep tonight?” They are real troopers! It’s been a blast, but in the words of John Denver, “Hey, it’s good to be back home again!”

We began our travels in May, heading to New Mexico for Erik’s aunt’s funeral.  We decided to take a little detour on the way to visit Erik’s Aunt Linda and Uncle Terry in Oklahoma and stopped in Houston to visit Bridget’s Aunt Peggy on the way home.  Lots of family time!

After about a week at home, we hit the road to Augusta, Georgia for Bridget to finish her School of Spiritual Direction.  Erik spent the two weeks having fun with the kiddos!

After the School we took a few days to visit Camp Hidden Lake, Covecrest, friends in Tampa and Miami on our way to fly out to Haiti.

We were so blessed to get to spend 2 weeks in Haiti with our missionaries there.  We put on a retreat for them in Port Au Prince and then went to their base and lived life with them for 10 days.  We celebrated Lena’s 5th Birthday while we were there!

After Haiti we flew back into Miami and drove back up through Florida, stopping for a quick visit in Pensacola with the Benzinger family.  We made it back to Big Woods in time to have a quick visit from Bridget’s sister Holly and her family.  We spent a week at Big Woods and then back on the road again!

This time we headed north to visit family and mission partners!  First stop was St. Louis with Bridget’s sister Julie and her family!

Big excitement in Michigan!  We got to attend Sister Peter Thomas’ final vows!  She had been a summer missionary at Covercrest in 2009 when Erik was camp coordinator.  Such a beautiful joy-filled day!  We even got a tour of the convent from Sister Peter Grace, another summer missionary from that same summer staff!  We had a blessed visit with friends and mission partners in Michigan and then traveled further north to Canada!

Growing up, Bridget’s family always spent their vacation at her aunt and uncle’s cabin in Canada.  Some of her favorite and most dear memories are from her times spent there in the rustic cabin with no TV or electronics, just spending time as a family, swimming, fishing, boating, hiking and playing games.  This year was the first time that we were able to bring the kids up to enjoy the same beauty, peace and family time.  After 5 days at the cabin, we drove to Ohio for a visit with the rest of Bridget’s family.  It happened to be Hall of Fame week in Canton, so Erik and the kids got to experience the Football Hall of Fame Parade for the first time!  Lots of family fun again and then on the road heading South to Mexico!

 

We traveled to Allende to lead a mission trip, which was so blessed.  After the trip we made several stops visiting friends before arriving home to Big Woods on August 23.  Hey, it’s good to be back home again!!

 

 

 

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Run Hard After Jesus

•May 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

pexels-photo-568027.jpegRecently I have gotten news of many sad, disturbing and devastating things happening in the lives of people who I have been privileged to know on this journey seeking after the Lord. Some really hard news, some really heartbreaking news…news that makes me question where God is in all of this?  These are people who love the Lord.  These are families who have given years of their lives to serve Jesus with total abandon.  And still bad things happen to good people.  How is it that even after trying to live countercultural lives, they are still finding themselves, their children, susceptible to the same things the culture breeds.  They fall right into the same statistics that they have lived so hard to fight against.  Why God?

As I am reflecting on these things: vocations lost, death, cancer, divorce, adultery, depression, attempted suicide, gender confusion…I can start to feel overwhelmed.  What is in my future?   If I am giving my life and my family’s lives to follow Jesus, will I just end up suffering in the same way?  I want to know the key to avoiding these things for me, for my children.  I want to find a way to peacefully continue serving the Lord, feeling safe from these deadly cultural norms.  But the reality is, that safety that I think I have is a false security. God is Good, and still bad things happen to good people.  People have free will and sin enters in.  Satan has a big red target on the backs of those who come to serve the Lord. But Psalm 34:20 says, “Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all.” And so, the safest place to be is running hard after Jesus and His will for me.pexels-photo-694587.jpeg

Where is God?  Right in the middle of all this mess.  Right there, offering healing, freedom, restoration.  “Behold, I make ALL THINGS NEW!” (Rev 21:5) As I’m mulling around all these pieces of bad news, I am clinging to the the Good News.  “The righteous cry out, the LORD hears, and He rescues them from all their afflictions. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed.” (Psalm 34:18-19)  I can trust in Jesus.  Not that nothing bad will happen to me, or to those around me, but that He will be with me when bad things do come.  And if I cry out to Him, He will rescue, heal and restore what the evil one has come to steal, kill and destroy (Jn 10:10)  Jesus, I trust in You!  Bring real healing to those who are suffering.  Help us to run hard after You!

Our Newest Missionary

•May 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

We welcomed John David into our family at 6:50pm on March 27th.  He weighed in at 9lbs 3oz and was 19 inches long.  On April 15th we welcomed him into the family of God through his baptism. He has been such a happy baby, and his older siblings are smothering him with love and kisses!  We are so grateful for the gift of his life!

My God Provides

•May 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

This morning we were having a prayer time with our family, and we were singing a song by Housefires called “Build My Life”. There are a couple lines in that song that really struck me and confirmed what God has been speaking to me lately. In the chorus it says, “open up my eyes in wonder, show me who You are, and fill me with Your heart and lead me in Your love to those around me.” It goes on to the bridge where it says,” I will build my life upon your love, it is a firm foundation. I will put my trust in you alone and I will not be shaken.”

A couple of weeks ago we were leading a short term mission group here in Abbeville. It was a High School youth group from New York of about 30 people. We were responsible for finding the work projects and home visits, as well as leading this group spiritually throughout the week. As we were visiting potential work projects, I was led to this gentleman named Mr. Wayne. He was partially blind, barely seeing out of one eye, and soon the doctors said he would have to be placed in a wheelchair. He was living and taking care of his brother, Mr. Terry, who looked like he possibly had a stroke, all the while still taking care of his two daughters and their children.IMG_20170420_125607

The first time I met Mr. Wayne he was sitting outside of his house, sunglasses on, with some of his friends gathered around . I could tell this was a little bit of a rough crowd in a rough neighborhood. When I shared with Mr. Wayne why we were there, that we wanted to help him build a wheelchair ramp, he turned to his friends and emphatically continued to repeat with confidence, “My God provides, I told you my God provides.”

IMG_20170420_172939The Joy in this man’s face, and the confidence in His voice is still etched in my mind. I can only imagine the conversations they had prior to our arrival. “I’m going to be placed in a wheelchair soon.” “How you going to get into your house?” “I don’t know, but I know my God provides.” “Yeah, yeah, right, let me know how that turns out.” Blessed are the persecuted for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

IMG_20170421_115729As I reflect on that mission week, and specifically Mr. Wayne, my eyes are opened to His wonder, His providence. That week I encountered Mr. Wayne’s unshakeable trust and faith in a God who is Love. In our current season of life, in the waiting and watching to see how God will heal us of our Lyme disease, I’m reminded that when we hope in the Lord and we build our life upon a foundation of His love and His trust, then our eyes too, shall be opened to His wonder. Our hearts will be filled with His, and we will be lead in love to those around us who need it, to the Mr. Wayne’s of this world who are tucked away in every town watching and waiting to say, “I told you my God provides!”IMG_20170421_115911

Summer Adventures

•September 26, 2016 • Leave a Comment

img_20160802_155721Since coming back to the States in April, God has had us on an unexpected adventure.  We came back for this season because the Lord was inviting us to return for healing, restoration and rest.  While it hasn’t exactly looked restful, we have experienced the rest of retreats, family time and deeper prayer in this season of grace.

We started this summer finding out that we were expecting number 4, and 10 weeks later learned that Jesus had decided to take our Faustina Rose to be with Him in heaven.  While our hearts are sad, they are also filled with joy knowing that we have our own little saint interceding for us.

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We feel spoiled to have attended healing retreats and spiritual direction courses for our own personal formation this summer.  We also took the opportunity while we are in the States for awhile to visit some family and friends.  This summer we drove over 7,700 miles through 19 states, spent the night in 14 different places, and visited with countless friends and family!!  What a gift and a blessing!  The kids had so much fun seeing cousins and grandparents and making new friends along the way, but we are grateful to be back in Louisiana again, helping out wherever we can with the missionaries in Intake and in the field.

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During our time with Erik’s parents we were able to be seen by a doctor who specializes in Lyme for an evaluation.  He has a 6 month waiting list, so we have an appointment in February for Erik, Joseph and I to begin our treatment, which should last only a few months.  Please keep us in your prayers!

Family Retreat in May

Visiting a farm and the Zoo while Mommy was at the School of Spiritual Direction in GA

Surprising the Ohio family for Father’s Day and Celebrating Lena’s Birthday

Visiting Family and Friends in Oklahoma, Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico, and driving through Yellowstone National Park

 

 

The Lord gives, the Lord takes away – Blessed be the Name of the Lord

•August 25, 2016 • 1 Comment

Dear friends and family – we wanted to share with you our sad news that we lost our sweet baby. On July 20th, at 15 weeks, we went in for our first check up and ultrasound and found that the baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks. We are sad, but trusting in God’s perfect plan for us as we rejoice that we have a little saint, Faustina Rose, in Heaven to intercede for us and our mission. Please keep us, and especially our kids, in your prayers.

Divine Mercy

•May 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Two years ago our Mexico team started a project building a little chapel in General Cepeda for the people that live too far to walk to Mass.  Someone had donated a plot of land to the Church, and Father wanted to see a chapel built there, but there were no funds.  So, when some friends came to visit and heard about the chapel, they asked their men’s group to fund the project.  In a weekend they were able to raise all the money that was needed, with the request that the chapel would be dedicated to the Divine Mercy.  We later found out that the woman who had donated the land had a great devotion to the Divine Mercy!

flagsThe bell was finally purchased the week before the Feast and was loud enough you could hear it from our house!

Dave Quinn drew up the plans for the chapel, and he and our construction workers, Gonzalo and Pancho, built the chapel.  The bishop came and blessed the grounds, and there it sat. Over the next year and a half, nothing happened with it.  When we returned to General Cepeda in February, the newly assigned priest had a few things that he wanted us to focus on, and one of them was the Divine Mercy Chapel!  He asked us to go door to door inviting the people in the neighborhood, to start praying the Divine Mercy chaplet every day during Lent, and try to get a feel for what time they would like to have Sunday Mass there.

door to doorInviting door to door

inside ranchoA group from a rancho with a special devotion to the Devine Mercy came to visit and led the community in singing the chaplet and praying over the sick.

After meeting with of the Mexican missionaries and our team, each family committed to taking one day a week to lead the chaplet at 3pm in the chapel.  We started going door to door inviting, and ultimately helped plan the celebration and first Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday.

praying overPraying over someone who was sick after praying the chaplet.

It was such a blessing to get to be a part of the whole process of this chapel being built and filled with God’s people.  Divine Mercy Sunday was a beautiful day, with traditional Mexican dances, a pilgrimage through town, leading up to Mass and a meal after.  It was awesome to see the community come together, and God multiplied the food so there was exactly the right amount!

pilgrimagePilgrimage in town on the Feast of the Divine Mercy 

first MassFirst Mass in the chapel on the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 3rd

 
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