By: Jessica Wilde
In 1958, my Grandpa and Grandma Brammeier bought a little house on Pearl St. in Littleton, Colorado when my Dad was just a baby. I grew up hearing stories of all the love, laughter and hardships that filled this little house on Pearl. My grandparents were poor but rich in love. In the 6th grade, my Grandpa was a homeless orphan. As a teenager, he cared for the horses and spent his nights living in the horse stalls at Centennial Racetrack. He fell in love with my Grandma when she served him a soda at a soda fountain. They married shortly afterwards. They moved into the little house on Pearl after their third kid, my Dad, was born. My Grandpa worked several jobs at a time to provide for his family but still had time to go square dancing with Grandma and hunting with his kids. He died of a brain tumor when my Dad was only 19. While his death could have left a giant hole, it didn't. His spirit was always present next to Grandma. Their witness of undying love showed me that love is stronger than the grave.
As a kid, I spent my summers driving up from Texas to visit Grandma. When we drove up to her house, her yard overflowed with plants of all kinds: roses, sunflowers, grapes, etc.
Grandma was filled with the gift of hospitality. Every summer, Grandma hosted a cousins sleepover in her living room. We would eat 'girl cheese' and 'boy cheese' sandwiches. She would serve us buttermilk pancakes by the dozen for breakfast. She also hosted many family gatherings where we feasted on Grandma's signature green chili burritos or homemade lasagna. During the cold winter, we'd roll in the snow before jumping into the hot tub. Family was the most important thing to my Grandma. She took great care to get to know each grandkid personally. And she always made her house a sanctuary for her family in times of need.
The year Jason and I were married, Grandma was diagnosed with lymphoma...the same cancer that I was diagnosed with fourteen years later. She underwent chemo which prolonged her life. A couple years later her great grandkids were born, and the hot tub was replaced by a ducky fountain. The family parties on Pearl St continued. Her cancer spread. She tried an alternative therapy and died of side effects when Grace was only 6 years old. Our whole family mourned the loss of our matriarch.
When I found out that I had the same cancer as her, I was scared that my life would end like hers did and early like my Grandpa. When I walked out my front porch, miraculously there was a wild sunflower growing in our front yard. I had never seen sunflowers in Costa Rica until the day that I found out I had cancer. The next day we went on a home visit to my friend Yolanda's house. Her yard was full of sunflowers too! On the third day, our community leader Penny brought me back an image of Mary with sunflowers from her pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Since then, sunflowers have appeared when I need peace the most. With each sunflower, I feel like Grandma is with me, interceding for me in heaven to bring me peace. Since then, I have seen sunflowers on the way to CT scans and along our Busita drives. We’ve even dreamed of going back to Costa Rica to serve for a few months each year because of these sunflowers.
But everytime we start planning anything, God shows us His plans which are always better than ours. Within a couple days of serving in Colorado, a generous benefactor offered to let us use Grandma's house as our Busita Mission Hub. We would just pay for the utilities when we were in town.
It was no surprise when after expanding my grandparents driveway to fit the Busita it was parked amidst Grandma's sunflowers.
As we prayed and discerned the Pearl house, God's plan made sense. God doesn’t ever ask us to give up something if he doesn’t have something even better planned for our lives. I thought of everything we’d left behind and sold to become missionaries. We had literally sold or donated everything we owned except for one closet in my parents house. And now, God had gifted us a beautiful fully furnished house in the center of the country for us to continue His ministry to serve the poor.
This past week, we heard the parable of the merchant searching for fine pearls, and how “when he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” (Mat 13:45-46). After Mass, we met a local Catholic family at the park, and we told them our story and how we were planning on using Denver as our Busita mission base. They asked where we lived. We gave them the address on Pearl Street. He said “So you did find the ‘Pearl of Great Price’.” We sure have! Thank you Jesus for that pearl, for being our everything. Thank you Jesus for continually providing for our family. Thank you for sustaining us in missions. We love you Jesus!
Jesus said to his disciples:
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.