Sunday, December 13, 2009

Have We Told The Girls Yet?

Another question we're often asked now is, "Have you told the girls yet that they'll be moving to New Zealand?" While Bernadette drools on in blissful ignorance of the impending upheaval to her world, it would be a hard secret to keep from Maria, who is hyper-attentive to every word spoken by her parents (yet, sadly, not hyper-obedient to every such word). Fortunately and unfortunately, Maria really has no experience that would help her truly grasp the concept of "moving". She also thinks that she can drive us all to New Zealand in an antique blue Beetle that we see parked in a neighbor's driveway.

So we aren't really sure how to prepare her or if it is even possible. Our focus has been on how to keep our girls connected with our families back in the States once we actually get to NZ. Our goals for December: to get our passports and visas squared away. Trying to get a two year old to sit still and expressionless for a passport photo was simply not possible, but someone in the Department of State had a good laugh this month, I would think, when he saw the photo we had to submit of Maria's mouth wide open and her tongue hanging out.

Our passports were processed in under three weeks and we'll submit our visa applications next week after having chest x-rays and bloodwork. We're continuing to speak at parishes and fundraise. Splat still needs a new home, but our younger and stupider feline moved to New Jersey over Thanksgiving (note sad photo of Rich on "Farewell Ben Morning"). And the Lord opened an unexpected door for us in sending us potential renters, rather than buyers, of our home. This beautiful, holy young engaged couple will wed in May and will need to move into their new home on the same exact day that we need to vacate ours!All four of us are praying about this possibility and should come to a decision soon. In the meantime, if anyone desperately wants a semi-aloof cat for Christmas......

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Call

We are often asked, "How were you ever led to move to New Zealand as missionaries?" Answering that question seems like a good place to start our blog.
We met, courted and wed while studying for our Masters in Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Shortly after meeting each other, we met Fr. Mike, who had traveled to the States from NZ and was studying in our program. He became such a close friend that we asked him to perform our wedding ceremony shortly before he returned to his homeland.
Three years passed and we stayed in contact with him.
A few months before the birth of our second daughter, Fr. Mike called and invited us to prayerfully consider following the two American missionaries he was currently hosting at his parish. They were about halfway through their own two year commitment when he issued this invitation to us. He gave us a month to decide. We offered a 30 day novena to St. Joseph and then accepted! It was (and is) overwhelming to face the prospect of moving so far away, with two small children, to work without pay or reimbursement for travel expenses, health insurance, etc...
However, there is simply no doubt that this is from the Lord, and that truth becomes clearer every month as He provides funds, arranges wonderful "coincidences", and gives us the graces we need to trust Him.
Right now we have about 6 months until departure and there is so much to do. Our main focus right now is fundraising and spiritual preparation (and in both areas, we are off to a very good start but still have miles and miles to go!) We are also in the midst of passport and visa applications, researching international health insurance and figuring out what to do with our house and cats.
We are especially excited that we bought our tickets to NZ this week and know that May 24 is our last day in our home here - and that we will arrive in NZ on May 27, 2010. At this point, we ask prayers for our fundraising efforts and for the graces to be fruitful and faithful stewards of all that has been entrusted to us by the Lord and by all our benefactors.