Amazed by grace

Hi all,
First off I want to wish you all a very happy and blessed New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2010 already; time sure flies! My Christmas break was incredibly blessed. I had the privilege of flying out to Missouri and staying at friends of my family. The Robinsons have 10 kids and live on a farm. They choose to not have internet and only have a few TV channels, so all they watch are occasional movies. Life on the farm is not easy; it means hard work and minimal luxury. They only have one bathroom for the entire family; which means one toilet and one shower. My older sister Michelle studied in Missouri, which is how we came in contact with this awesome family. I stayed at their house for a few weeks in the summer of 2007 and loved it. This Christmas provided a great opportunity to make it up there again since I wasn’t going home, my parents came and visited for Thanksgiving.

In the eyes of the world, the Robinsons would be considered odd. They would have too many kids, their house would be considered too dirty, they would be considered too religious, they would be considered isolated and plain weird. In the eyes of God, however, they are an amazing family striving for holiness. They choose to shield their family from lots of trash of the world; they bring each other Christ. They attend daily Mass and pray the rosary daily with the entire family. It was a tremendous reality check for me to see how genuine and loving they are. I knew this from having visited before, but it just hit me, being a missionary, how missionary this family is. God is everything to them. Their trust and faith is so pure. It’s not that misery, hardship and struggle doesn’t hit them. They sure had a huge share of that and still do while trying to survive farming. One of the Robinson boys said to me: “God must love us very much to give us such a heavy cross to bear”. Dire hardship is not a stranger to them, yet their faith does not waver, instead it grows stronger, rooted in that deep peace of which St. Paul speaks, “which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). I praise God for connecting my family with the Robinsons, God spoke so clearly through them to me. He showed me joy, peace, appreciation, generosity, hospitality, love, hope and faith. When they dropped me off at the Kansas City airport January3rd, we prayed together on the sidewalk. My break was wonderful, the Divine simplicity which I experienced, which is a ravishing form of humility. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:4).
RobinsonThe missionaries here at Covecrest are starting the 8 day silent retreat today (Jan. 8-16). I’m excited to find out about all the things the Lord wants to share with me. With tremendous confidence I pray for the torrents of graces to be released from Heaven to shower upon me. We are called to live in humble confidence “and all the rest will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).

I’ve had the privilege of calling with my family in Europe twice this week and I praise God for the ways in which He is moving in the Netherlands. I thank Him for my family and friends and everyone who serves on core and is involved at my parish and beyond; you all work so selflessly, with endurance and perseverance fueled by the Holy Spirit. Know that I’m praying for you all by name!
Dank spreek ik uit naar jullie allemaal, voor jullie gebed dat zo krachtig is! Steen voor steen bouwen we het Huis van de Heer op, stap voor stap! We moeten gemeenschap zijn, elkaar ondersteunen, EEN in Geest zijn! Verwarring en verdeling, zo probeert satan ons uit elkaar te drijven. Oei, als we het woord ‘satan’ horen, denken we vaak: ‘doe niet zo overdreven’, of ‘dat is raar, daar moet je niet over spreken’. In het Engels zeggen ze vaker: ‘the devil is not sitting around, why are we sitting around?’. De H. Geest, de actie in de Drieeenheid, roept ons op tot actie! Om in de wijngaard van de Heer te werken! Christus is voor ons gestorven, zijn wij bereid voor Hem te leven? Alleen kunnen we het niet, maar MET Christus kunnen we alles aan! (Fil. 4:13).

Ik wil jullie aanraden het encycliek ‘Redemptoris Missio’ te lezen van paus J.P. II. De Kerk is missionair, wij zijn geroepen om te antwoorden! ‘God’s call demands an answer!’. ‘Ben niet bang’ zei J.P II vaak, want GOD IS HIER! Yes! Verbonden in Hem!

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