For those of you who don't really know what we're up to, let us give you an overview. We are a family of four, Becky (mom), Joe (dad), Josh (10) and Celia (7). In February 2004, Joe and Becky went to a presentation by a Maryknoll Lay Missioner family (you can learn more about Maryknoll Lay Missioners (MKLM) under the "About Maryknoll Lay Missioners" tab to your left). We had been talking about moving abroad sometime in 2005 and MKLM felt like a good match for us. We went through a long application and discernment process and when we were accepted, we felt like we were ready to join. Then came the placement process and again, after much prayer, research, and discussion, we agreed to move to Venezuela.
Before moving to Venezuela, we had a number of transitions ahead of us. We first moved to New York at the end of August 2005 for an in-depth 4 month orientation with other lay missioners who were sent to live and work among the poor all over the world. After a short break during the Christmas holidays to say our goodbyes, we headed to Cochabamba, Bolivia in January 2006 for six months of language school. During our language training, it became obvious that we were having problems obtaining visas for Venezuela. After waiting for 2 months after language school ended and still not having Venezuelan visas, we finally were reassigned to the Andean Region of Maryknoll Lay Missioners which includes Bolivia and southern Peru. We will stay in the area of Cochabamba to live and work among the Bolivian people.
Joe is a pediatrician and Becky is a child clinical psychologist. MKLM's vision is that missioners go and live in their communities, learn what the needs of the communities are and discern how the missioners' gifts can best meet those needs. For us, that meant moving to the town of Chilimarca and working with an organization called MAP International, a group which provides several services to the surrounding community. Joe works in their clinic and Becky works as a consulting psychologist with their counseling center for sexually abused children. Our children attend the local community school and we fully participate in all the activities of the barrio.
We are both excited and anxious as we make such a big change in our lives. But, after much prayer and reflection, we feel we are called to live and work in Latin America and that Maryknoll Lay Missioners provides the best opportunity for our family to answer that call. In order to make it work, though, we need your help. We need your prayers, your communication, your physical presence as visitors, and your financial support. We will post new letters periodically which will be journal accounts of our experiences. We will also post Mission Newsletters containing stories we have written sent out by mail through Maryknoll Lay Missioners. We also have a photo gallery documenting our experiences in picture form. You can contact us at our new e-mail address below. God Bless and enjoy the website.
Becky, Joe, Josh, and Celia