Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Blessed Beyond Belief

These past few weeks have flown by.  It seems like just yesterday we were packing up our house to move out to Big Woods. But it's actually been almost three weeks since we left behind our old life and began our new life. Yet, at times it seems as though we've lived out here all our lives.

From the moment I unpacked and set up the house, it has felt like "home."  Yes, I know that your "home" is where your family is and that the location doesn't matter.  But each time we've moved in the past, I felt that sinking homesick feeling in my stomach as I laid in our old bed in our new house at least a few times in those first days or weeks.  Here, I'm laying in a strange bed in a strange house, and haven't had that sinking feeling once. It's very weird to be perfectly happy in a strange place.

I also expected the girls to be in our bed or at least trying to come get in our bed a few times the first week or two until they got used to the new place.  But we tuck them in at night, and they stay put until morning.  I keep waiting for the "homesickness" to begin with someone and then to snowball into a huge family meltdown.  But it hasn't happened.  I know that this is only a "baby" step compared to the move we will be making in January, but it still seems too good to be true, too easy. But it is such a huge blessing!

A huge part of this successful move and transition is all of you!  All of the prayers that you have said for us, all of the encouraging words, notes, text messages, emails, and calls have blessed us so much!  I know that these last few weeks would not have been so easy and the transition so smooth without all the prayers that everyone has been offering up for us and the graces given to us by God through your prayers.  We could definitely feel the prayers and are so blessed to have such a wonderful support team!

We are in awe daily of the generosity that people continue to show to us.  The number of donor/pledge cards that have come back to us is absolutely overwhelming.  Some days I walk back from checking our mailbox at the FMC office in tears and disbelief at the generosity of our friends, family, and even strangers.  It is a huge blessing to have so many awesome people joining our mission "team".  I love watching our prayer list grow each day.  Since there is no way to fully express our gratitude or to ever repay you all, praying for you and your intentions each day helps me feel like I'm able to give something back to you.  I pray that you will be blessed a hundred fold!

The Father's Day Bake Sale that we had at Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church, our home parish, this past weekend was an unbelievable success.  We had so many wonderful friends and family members help us bake.  We had so much stuff that I was a little worried that we wouldn't be able to sell it all, so I prayed that everything would sell while the kids prayed for leftovers. I also prayed that God would allow us to make a couple hundred dollars to help with some of our future expenses.

Once again, the support was amazing!  As our fellow parishioners began to file into the St. Mary's Center after Mass, the baked goods began to quickly disappear. But what blessed us the most was all the hugs, the smiles, the words "We are praying for you," uttered by so many---some we had been close to, some that we had never officially met before, and some that we had never even seen before.  After the Masses, the tables were empty, the money bag was overflowing, and our hearts were bursting.  We are so blessed to be part of such a wonderful parish and community.

This week a wonderful family donated a minivan to us, so that we could sell our car and still have a vehicle to drive.  The car is the last big weight hanging over us.  We desperately need to get rid of the monthly note of the car, but still need to be able to get around at least until In-take (our training) begins in September.  I hitched a ride to Lake Charles yesterday to pick up the van and was once again in awe of how faithful God is to us and our needs.  The owner, a mechanic, began to list all of the things that he had changed or fixed before giving it to us so that we wouldn't need to worry about anything.  He even stopped to put gas in it!  The van is in excellent shape, very clean, and perfect for our family!  Once again, we were blessed way more than we deserve!

God has given us just about everything we have prayed for and has provided for every need thus far and then some.  Each night as I lay in bed and think back over the day, I can't help but think at how crazy all of this is. I never imagined that this journey would be so blessed. We have truly been blessed beyond belief and you will too!  God confirmed that tonight at Mass with the first reading.

June 19, 2013 First Reading:  2 Cor 9:6-11
Brothers and sisters, consider this:
whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you,
so that in all things, always having all you need,
you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:

He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity,
which through us produces thanksgiving to God.

May we all be blessed beyond belief and give thanksgiving to God!

Monday, June 3, 2013

St. Francis House: Our New Home

We have officially moved to Big Woods!  We closed on our house Friday and are now all settled in at our first "mission" house.  The kids and I participated in the community morning prayer this morning while Travis went off to work.  The girls and I helped out in the office answering the phone and stuffing envelopes while the boys went scouting the property.  Thanks for all the prayers for a smooth transition!  It has been great so far!

Here's a few shots of our house and some of the other community houses here at Big Woods Mission.

St. Francis House:  Our New Home

Living Room

Main Kitchen

Boys' Room/Music Room/School Room

Girls' Room/Laundry Room

Back Apartment/Master Bed & Bath
Travis & Melissa's Room
2nd Kitchen

St. Michael House

St. Paul's House

Community Playground

Family Missions Company's Office

The Community House aka The Big House

Beautiful Horses

Fishing/Swimming Pond

Baby Gator in the Pond

Beautiful View