This link-up is for students, missionaries, or parishioners who are living out Jesus' Great Commission.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age." Matthew 28:19-20
I am an affiliate missionary, which basically means I am a part-time missionary. I am able to be at home with JM, doing most of the typical stay-at-home mom stuff, but also be directly a part of FOCUS' mission. I lead a bible study for sorority girls and disciple two students weekly. Our campus has five weekly events (on top of mass) that I try to attend. I also make treats every week for our bible studies and cook breakfast for our team on Fridays.
This is just a tiny sliver of what Drew does as a full-time missionary and the team director.
Even if I chose not to be an affiliate and was "just" a SAHM, I would still be a part of the mission. The really neat part of being a FOCUS missionary is incarnational evangelization. Jesus was incarnate, God in flesh. He lived life next to his disciples. He went fishing and camping. He traveled from city to city with his disciples. He didn't just preach to the people, He also lived with them. He built relationships with people.
That is what we try to do as missionaries. We don't preach from street corners, travel door to door, or get in heated debates with strangers. We build relationships with students. We find what we have in common, we relate to them, and share our lives. We guide students to have a personal encounter with Jesus and we show them how to live with Christ at the center of their lives. And then we teach them how to teach others.
We have a special role as being married missionaries. A majority of missionaries are single. As a married couple, we get to show students what a Catholic marriage looks like. Some didn't have a close family growing up or are new to the faith and haven't seen how to live faith as a family. Others were too little to remember seeing their parents raise their siblings. We have the opportunity to give insight into the vocation of marriage.
We get to invite students over for dinner. They come over to hang out and play with JohnMark. Last year around Christmas we had a huge puzzle on our kitchen table and students would bring friends, chat, and do the puzzle. We go to their philanthropy events, tailgate together, and go to mass. Students babysit for us. Girls run errands with me and guys play darts with Drew.
But it's hard. It takes balance, that Drew and I are still trying to figure out. Missionary life doesn't have normal working hours. We don't have clear times of working and not working. Our mission flows into everything. Our schedules revolve around students' schedules. It consists of hectic beginnings of the year, having continuous guests, and inviting fraternity men and sorority women over to hang out weekly. It means sometimes we have to drop everything to be with a student who needs us. It means rushing through dinner to get to bible study on time and quickly passing off JM so one of us can leave to make it to holy hour. It means getting home well after 10pm and having days with no down time.
However, sometimes we need time together just as a family. I used to be able to go to the daily holy hours, daily mass, and nightly events. It was a win-win as we got time with students and each other. Now, we have a squirmy baby who make holy hours together impossible and is asleep for the night as most events start. We spend much more time apart this year than before JM was born.
We are still learning when to step back and just have family time and when to invite others to be with us. We are learning to be more intentional with the time we do have together. Wednesday nights are date night, Friday afternoons we talk about our prayer lives over lunch, and Sundays we do our best to observe the Sabbath.
As the year goes on I am sure we will run into more struggles, but hopefully we will figure out more ways to invite students into our family and home. Any tips from other mom missionaries? We are always open to more ideas!