by Alex Wilde
What is a missionary? Is it an animal? Is it a machine? It is not even one of them. Then what is it? It is basically someone who loves God, loves others, does the corporal works of mercy, and does the spiritual works of mercy. The corporal works of mercy are feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the prisoners, bury the dead, and give alms to the poor. The spiritual works of mercy are counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing the sinner, comforting the sorrowful, forgiving injuries, bearing wrongs patiently, and praying for the living and the dead. Do not be afraid to do works of mercy. You could be tortured like the disciples, but it is for God. His will be done. Jesus taught his apostles an important lesson in this gospel:
Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” (Matthew 10:5-15)
One of the reasons I am a missionary is community. God calls us to be together. The more community you have the more friends you will help, and the more your friends will help you. Community can be just a smile, or waving hello. If you didn’t have community you would never even have loved your relatives. Community can be having peace with your brothers and sisters.
Another reason is Jesus was a missionary. Every saint was a missionary. Paul was a missionary. Peter was a missionary. Every apostle of Jesus Christ was a missionary. Mary was a missionary. Mary Magdalene was a missionary. Joseph was a missionary and every beatified person was a missionary.
Everyone must be a missionary, everyone can hear that call of Jesus and go forth and proclaim the Kingdom! - Pope Francis
by Jason Wilde
Fear and safety - they are almost certainly not aligned:
We fear things we cannot control.
So why the huge gap in perceived vs. actual risk? It's completely normal, and it's because humans have irrational fears about things they don't control or trust, and they will overlook risk if given enough benefit.
Driving a car is arguably one of the most dangerous activities you will ever do (because of both the immediate and long-term health risks). But, you don't fear driving because:
So, what happens when we do fear something? Fight or flight - remove the risk or remove our self. And this is exactly why Jesus tells us not to be afraid. Fear is the universal gateway to indecision and indifference or hatred and anger - an unlikely dichotomy that are each the most dangerous of all paths because we risk eternal salvation for our soul by doing nothing or hating everything. But more importantly, fear is most often misguided and destructive and so our indifference and hatred are against the very people who need love.
But even in the best case, fear can only lead to safety...
Fear is to Safety as Greed is to Riches
Safety is an idol, a self-preservation that runs counter to life as a Christian witness. And just as greed is the deadly sin used to obtain riches, fear is the conduit to the worship of safety. The Parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us to go out of our bubble and help others. Christ never promised safety or an easy life, but He did promise that "whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for (His) sake will find it." (Matthew 16:25)
The best way to fight fear then is not to take control, but to trust Jesus, the Lord of risk, in your life to control your actions and change your feelings. Allow him to turn your fear into a positive emotion like love or empathy. Loving your enemy is the safest path to salvation.
"Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span? If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest?
Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:25-26,32)
"My friends, Jesus is the Lord of risk, he is the Lord of the eternal “more”. Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security and ease. Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths." (Pope Francis, 2016 World Youth Day Prayer Vigil)
by Grace, Brecklyn, and Alex Wilde
While we were on our mission trip in the Philippines, we helped in a village called Isla. Isla is a beautiful little farming village where the people spoke Vasayan. The houses are made of braided bamboo. Some of the people ate a simple meal such as rice. The roads are made of dirt, so when it would rain, it would get very muddy and slippery. Two days before the Bible study started, our friend Irene, from Isla, invited us to teach the kids from Isla a song for the children’s ministry. We decided the song should be a VeggieTales song called “I’ve got shoes”. The lyrics to the song are:
“I’ve got shoes, you've got shoes, all of God’s children’s got shoes!
When I get to Heaven gonna put on my shoes,
I’m gonna walk all over God’s Heaven, Heaven, Heaven!
Everybody’s talking ‘bout, Heaven, I’m going there, Heaven, Heaven, Yeah!"
We ran in the rain to a big pavilion by a church for the Isla Bible study. It was very muddy from the rain, and dark so it was hard to get there. This is what the pavilion looked like: There were wooden rooms with a space for doors, benches all around the edges and at the back of the benches were short walls. After a while more people came. Irene said that not as many people would come because it is so hard to get there in the rain.
We started dancing and singing to some fun Christian songs. One of the songs was called: “I wanna be a sheep ba ba ba ba”. Another song was called “This little light of mine”. Everyone was dancing and singing together. Some of the kids, including us, were running around in circles, while everyone else ran around us. The kids were then assigned to go to a separate pavilion with two nursing students, and Irene and her husband, Ricky. That was were the children’s ministry would be.
It started with us teaching the kids the VeggieTales song called “I’ve Got Shoes.” We taught all the kids how to act it out with movements. After that, we told them the story of Jonah and the whale. Irene's husband acted it out. Everyone laughed when Jonah,got eaten by the whale. He covered his head with a towel when he pretended to get eaten by the whale. Everybody was saying “Whaale, whaale.”
Afterwards, we asked them questions about the story. Some of the questions were “How long was Jonah in the whale?” and “What did Jonah say to the people?” Next, we sang another song called “The Banana Boat Song.” After that, we asked them if they wanted the next story to be David and Goliath, or Noah. Everyone said Noah, except two kids. One of them said David, and one of them said Goliath. But even though mostly everyone wanted Noah, Irene decided that the story should be David and Goliath. Alex acted out David and Ricky acted out Goliath. Then we asked some questions about David and Goliath.
Then Irene gave out bread to the kids as a special snack. Some of the bread had spices. Some of them were plain, but the best ones were the ones filled with cream. Everyone loved them.
The best part about it all was when we gave some of our own stuffed animals to the kids as a present. Our friend, King, got Snoopy Small, which was a small snoopy that had a shirt on. His sister, Princess was given a stuffed animal Ballerina, and our friend Drizzle got Moosy, a puppet moose. King did not want his stuffed animal, so he traded his stuffed animal for Spotty, a dog with spots and bows on her ears. Princess got Ballerina bear, and she carried it everywhere she went. Everyone loved their stuffed animals.
When we were finished, everyone ran back to the big pavilion and played the attack of the stuffed animals. Alex asked one of the kids what he named his stuffed animal that was a Texas Tech monkey, and he said that it's name was Walla. King and his cousin taught us a handshake that was really cool.
And then we went back with our friends to Canossa. But, our friend Lolei had not come to the bible study, so we gave her our big Snoopy, (it was already like she was owning it because she loved to play with it!) She loved Snoopy so much, that when we gave Snoopy to her, she asked us “It’s mine? Really?!”
Giving our stuffed animals to people fills us up with unexplainable joy. It is the virtue Joy that just stuck to all of us. Joy is one of the best virtues ever, and it seemed to stick to us for the rest of the week, it seemed to never come off. The Joy helped us through the rest of the week to do the impossible.
By: Jessica Wilde
Our short term medical mission trip to the Philippines was over. Genevieve dropped us off at our hotel in Cagayan de Oro, we walked upstairs to our rooms, and we fell on the bed and cried. We didn’t want our mission trip to be over. In fact, Grace said it took all the self control she could muster to not grab on to the back of Genevieve's car and hitchhike back to Canossa. We had all fallen in love with mission life.
The next day we took a short flight to Cebu. It was a shock to our system. We went from the beautiful simplicity of a convent to a lavish 3½ star hotel. For a quite reasonable $100/night, our executive 2 room suite came with a hot Asian-style buffet breakfast. We had an adequate supply of bottled water, two bathrooms (one with a large tub), and most importantly, hot water. But after spending a week bringing God’s mercy to families who could barely afford basic necessities or critical medical care, staying here felt so hypocritical that we fought to only use what we needed and keep living simply. Even so, it felt like we were missing something. We were missing the endless love of sisters who always had a hot meal ready promptly at 7am. We missed the wake-up call of a missionary crying out “Rise and shine and give God his glory…”. We missed the extra special prayers in pain as we poured ice cold ladles of water over our heads.
The next day, we took a Jeepney to the Basilica where the beloved statue of Santo Nino is kept. Magellan brought this statue with him on his voyage around the world in his quest for the spice islands. He gifted the statue to the locals in Cebu. It was the first image of Jesus in the Philippines and now a major pilgrimage site.
We walked into the dark church where Santo Nino sat in a side chapel for veneration. Long lines of people processed through the church to lay their hands on the glass surrounding and protecting him. We knelt down outside the chapel but within view of Santo Nino. He was stunning in his regal robes.
Santo Nino is dressed like a king. His robes are royal red and embroidered with gold. This was not the image of baby Jesus that I hold close to my heart. I tend to think of him as a poor boy swaddled in a manger. I think of his homeless parents searching for a safe home for their son first in Bethlehem and later when they fled to Egypt. As a young boy, I imagine him playing with his friends and getting dirty like little boys tend to do.
But through this statue of Santo Nino, God pulls aside the veil of poverty and shows us our King. Santo Nino is a beautiful depiction of how God sees the poor. God is often hidden behind a veil as seen in Jesus’s presence in the Eucharist. If only we could see with God’s eyes, I wonder how many poor, sick or imprisoned people we see on a daily basis are really princes and princesses in God’s eyes.
“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.” (Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World)
by Jason and Jessica Wilde
One of our family’s favorite movies of all time is Up, an award winning CGI animated film about an old man who suddenly decides that he must follow through on his lifelong goal of an adventure to Venezuela, in a very unconventional way.
In the movie, we meet Carl as a little boy who is scared of his own shadow just as he meets a very charismatic and daring girl, Ellie, who introduces him to a new adventurous world. They grow up reading stories of a famous explorer who shows off the wonders of South America, and from these stories, the young couple dreams of visiting one day. They get married, buy an absolute dump of a house, fix it up into a very charming abode, and then they get jobs at the local zoo - a pretty predictable and typical lifestyle. But they yearn to fulfill their dreams of visiting the picturesque Paradise Falls in South America, and so they set up a change jar, and add to their “Stuff I’m Going to Do” adventure scrapbook. Inevitably, every time the change jar begins to gain some weight, it is smashed open for life’s unexpected detours - a flat tire at first, then a broken leg, and a new roof on the little house. As they grow old together, they eventually fall into a routine and enjoy their lives together, until one day Carl finds their travel dreams again and decides to book flights to Venezuela. As fate would have it, Ellie falls ill and is hospitalized before they can leave, and so the journey never happens.
Every time I see this movie, I think of our own journey and our dreams, and the graces that God gives us to make it all happen. I think of how easy it is to get swept up in everyday life and to stop thinking about our dreams and our real talents to help people. It is too easy to dwell on the risks and put everything off, waiting for some magical day in the future when the stars will align and everything falls into place. It is in these times that we fall prey to the selfish vices which give us the temporary happiness that we all desire. But, you can’t let your dreams always be in the future, and you can’t let your graces serve only yourself. At some point in your life, your dreams have to happen now. Sometimes, this means you need a catalyst, and usually, you have to make a sacrifice.
As we celebrate the one year anniversary of Chi Yu’s ‘gotcha day’ (the day we signed his adoption paperwork in China), we have been reflecting on what exactly brought him into our lives. As we’ve shared before, it wasn’t a single reason, but a cascade of events and rocks that led to our decision to adopt.
The problem with being graced with the love of God is that it seems that you can never do enough - once we suppressed our own personal ambitions and began helping people, we couldn’t stop. Even as we worked and sometimes struggled to help Chi adapt and learn about his new home, we found ourselves still on fire, wanting to help everyone around us and show them the love and grace that God had shown us.
We took the kids to our local homeless shelter to hand out water and hygiene kits. We joined our local refugee services organization after watching the horrible stories of migration due to wars around the world. We advocated for the undocumented families who were stuck in limbo nearby. It truly seemed like a never ending struggle, but it was a struggle that we had to keep fighting because of the infinite grace we were given - a grace that burned like fire inside of us such that the more we helped, the more work we found.
But even this wasn’t enough. We continued to pray every day for an answer - “Where did He really want us to go? What was our next step - or where should we look for it?” Every homily and every tweet from Pope Francis seemed to make us break down and cry for the poor, the homeless, the neglected, the forgotten, and the mistreated. We felt that there was something bigger out there that we were destined for, but it hadn’t yet been revealed to us.
In this movie, the symbolism of dreams and personal desires is thick if you know where to look. Carl faces a dilemma when he is forced to leave the life that he had become so familiar with. This is something he had dreaded all his life, and a court mandated order is exactly the catalyst he needed to literally rip up his entire house and fly it to South America. He refuses to let it go, and so his house provides a vehicle to travel in. The story focuses on the house that he drags along, with all of his personal possessions and memories. He holds on to this house while it slows him down and keeps him from really succeeding or helping others. Along the way, Carl has to throw all of his memories and possessions out of the house in order to keep it afloat, and still it weighs on him while he tries to fight for his dream.
So it is with our own lives. How often are our dreams held back by familiarity and possessions? What would it take for you to give it all up? What if it was necessary to give everything to save your life? To save the life of your child? What about a complete stranger?
In the end, Carl finds that his dream wasn’t just to have an adventure and live a quiet life on the top of a picturesque waterfall, but to help his newfound friends. In a final moment of triumph against his lifelong dream of personal happiness, he has to sacrifice even the house that he so painstakingly dragged across the world. But this sacrifice is what sets him free and allows him to devote his entire self and all of his talents to helping the vulnerable (a dodo family, a friendly talking golden retriever, and a nervous boy scout).
How often do we find ourselves lamenting the problems of the world, and then doing nothing to change it? Can our possessions hold us back, making us selfish about our own safety and greed? Even worse, do we find ourselves like Carl, sitting on the front porch of our own property barking condemnation at anyone who comes within steps of our property line?
I Found It!
Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain, that I can’t control. I want more of you God. I want more of you God.
Our fire burned so strong that when we heard His call, we were ready to act without hesitation. When we found Family Missions Company, an organization that trains and sends out lay missionary families to share the Good News of Jesus and serve the poorest of the world, it was as if we found our lost coin - we rejoiced and held our own party celebrating how we found our joy. It was a joy that no lottery or prize could give us, a joy that is only matched by the little picture of Chi Yu on the adoption list. With a big smile of sheer joy, Jessica shouted “I found it!”
In our hearts, we knew this was the answer to our prayers. This was God’s call for our family and the answer to the burning fire that was consuming our hearts. While we knew this was our path, we still spent the next 8 months prayerfully discerning this call and working through the logistics of a foreign missionary life. Is this really God’s plan for us? How do we live without a salary? Are we ready to sell everything we own? Are the kids ready for this? But every time we asked, God answered affirmatively, telling us to stop worrying, give up everything, and follow Him. We became even more determined after we attended the week long medical mission trip in the Philippines and the Come and See orientation in Louisiana for potential full time missionaries. These hands-on experiences helped finalize our discernment.
The Wilde family has committed ourselves to working for the Lord. We are already in the process of selling everything in preparation for Intake training, which begins in September. We are looking for mission partners, sponsors, and prayer support. If you are interested, please follow us using the link in the sidebar on the right, or directly invest in our mission at our Family Missions Company page (a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization). We will be sending out updates on our mission periodically, including our foreign post location once we are assigned in December.
Praise God and God Bless!
On a Mission
Two passionate parents and their four children are excited to bring His Word to everyone in need while living a life of Gospel poverty as missionaries. They invite you to join them on a journey to encounter our global neighbors that Jesus commands us to love through works of charity and service.