Where are we moving to? First, we are moving south of Abbeville, LA. We will live at Big Woods, Family Missions Company's community base, for about two months (September/October) of studying and training. We will spend the month of November in General Cepeda, Mexico for hands-on training. We will return home for Christmas. Then in January, we will be sent out to our first mission post. We won't know the destination until our training is almost complete. This is probably the most difficult part. If we knew where we were going, we could start researching and studying the culture. We could begin learning the language. But that's not how it works, so we continue to learn to trust God and His plan for us.
Do they pay us? No, Family Missions Company does not "pay" us to be missionaries for them. We will have a small "stipend" each month based on the amount of money in our mission account and the cost of living where we will be stationed. The amount of money in our mission fund will depend on how much we fundraise and receive from our benefactors/donors/sponsors.
Will we work? Yes, we will probably work harder than we've ever worked before, but, no, we will not have regular paying "jobs" in the community where we will be living. Our ministry of proclaiming the Gospel, feeding the poor, caring for the sick, visiting the imprisoned, etc. will be a full time job all by itself. If we were to get a job, then we would not be able to do what God is calling us to do effectively. He's not calling us to be part-time missionaries (which is what we would have preferred!); He's calling us to be full-time missionaries.
How will we live? We will live very simply, much like the people in the community in which we will be living. One of Family Missions Company's charisms is Embracing Gospel Poverty. "We are beggars for the Gospel. We detach ourselves from our possessions and live on the providence of others in order to serve the poor and live in solidarity with the poor. Though poor ourselves, we live lives of generosity to the poor, showing a preferential option for the poor, as the Church teaches."
Does this scare us? Not at the moment. It only scares us when people constantly bring it up! Satan likes to plant those doubts often. We wouldn't be human if we weren't a little frightened about living in a foreign country without jobs depending on others to provide for our own families' basic needs. But when we do get "scared," we go to Him in prayer with our worries, anxieties, and fears, and He calms them through scripture---in the Mass readings or in the LAUDS readings or in a daily prayer book or a daily bible verse app. He continuously sends us confirming "messages" through others, through social media, through songs, through our kids, and through numerous other outlets in our lives. God is always faithful, and His timing is always perfect.
The last thing people usually say to us is "Let us know if we can help in any way." Here's how you can help us:
PRAYER: Put us on every prayer list you find. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors to add this "crazy, Cajun family" you know or heard about to their prayer list. Prayer is what has gotten us this far and will be what gets us through the rest of this journey. Pray for the sell of our house and car. Pray for us to have the strength and courage we need to continue to follow this call. Pray for the people that we will be sent to minister to that they be open to God's Word. Never underestimate the power of your prayers. We are all going to be amazed when we reach Heaven at how many mountains were moved by a simple, yet sincere, prayer for someone.
BE SUPPORTIVE: Love us and support us with smiles and encouraging words. Please don't fill our heads (nor our kids' heads) with all the horrible things that could happen or tell us how lonesome we will be or remind us of all the things and people we will have to leave behind, don't keep questioning us about whether we've thought about this or that. We've thought about it all. We've prayed about it all. We are learning to trust God totally and completely through this process; please be positive and encourage us.
DONATIONS: If you feel God calling you to become part of our mission to "proclaim the Gospel to all Nations" monetarily, you can donate to our mission fund in several ways.
(1) Spring clean and bring us your "junk" to sell at one of our upcoming garage sales. Or have your own garage sale and donate the money to our mission fund. (Thanks to a great friend for that idea!)
(2) Save your loose change over the next few months and add it to our kids' Coin Drive. (We cashed in $50 already!)
(3) Make a one time or monthly donation to our mission account by mailing a check to Family Missions Company, 12624 Everglade Road, Abbeville, LA 70510. Please write "Seilhan Family in the memo line. Or donate online directly to our Mission Fund at:
Please know that all of you are in our daily prayers. We pray daily for our benefactors---those who support our journey through prayer and through donations. We couldn't do this without both.
We know that this journey is not an easy one. We know that we are not worthy to be called to such a journey. We know that we still have a long way to go in our faith journey. But we also know that God will provide the strength, courage, wisdom, patience, perseverance, faith, and the love and support we need to do what it is He is asking of us. He promises this to us all, no matter what our call is.