By Jessica Wilde
For if we are out of our minds, it is for God; if we are rational, it is for you. (2 Cor 5:13)
I came to Big Woods with the big dream of being Jesus’s hands and feet in the world. But I also came bearing the scars of persecution. To walk with God often requires a counter cultural response to the world and so we have received a lot of criticism.
When we got engaged at 19, we heard “Most people don’t do this.”
When we decided to become a one car family, we heard “Most people don’t do this.”
When we downsized to a condo, we heard “Most people don’t do this.”
When we decided to adopt a handicapped child, we heard “Most people don’t do this.”
When we decided to become foreign missionaries, we heard “Are you out of your mind? Families don’t do this!”
In moments like these, I often recall Jesus’s words to St. Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do” (Mt 16:23). These voices were not from God! The devil was trying to discourage us and tear us from God’s path. These voices caused me to feel small in the eyes of the world. These voices left me feeling weak and worthless. It is so easy to fall into the trap of despair, loneliness and worthlessness especially when these words come from those we love. We must remember that the devil is the prince of lies and to ignore these voices which are counter to God’s will for our life and cling to the truth.
So what is the truth? Or the better question is Who is the truth? The truth and the life is Jesus Christ. As St. Paul writes “We are fools on Christ’s account” (1 Cor 4:10). In order to do this, we humble ourselves, die to our worldly desires and abandon our personal pride in order to allow Jesus to enter completely into our hearts and be our guide. Jesus was counter-cultural, and as followers, we shouldn’t do what most people do!
It was in the little chapel here at Big Woods that I felt Jesus pour His confidence back into my soul until it completely engulfed me. I realized that what matters is that Jesus loves me. He died for me! I am worthy of His love. Every choice I make for HIM is the right choice regardless of what the voices of the world say. Jesus is the ultimate source of my confidence. Jesus is my strength. So it is in these moments when the world is questioning us, when we feel the absolute weakest that we are actually our strongest! Because it is at this time that we can choose to cling to the One who loves us unconditionally. It is in these moments that we can choose to ignore the voices of the world and only have eyes and ears for Jesus.
I praise the Lord that I choose His path.
I praise the Lord for our marriage. Jason is my best friend and my love.
I praise the Lord that we downsized our car and condo. Unknowingly, this was the beginning of our path to gospel poverty.
I praise the Lord that we adopted Chi Yu. He is my baby boy that was born of our hearts. He is the joy of our life.
I praise the Lord that we became missionaries and are fools for Christ. He is my all.
I praise the Lord that we didn’t listen to the many voices that tried to drown out our Lord’s call. All of the best things in my life would not have happened if I had listened to these voices. I praise the Lord for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in my life and for the gift of parrhesia to walk confidently with Him through life. Now when I hear these voices attempting to drown out the Lord’s call, I’m quick to turn to Jesus for my strength.
Each and every one of you reading this is worthy of Jesus’ love. He is waiting to fill you up with His unending love. But in order to find real joy in Him, you must ignore what the world is telling you and instead follow His will. My journey so far has been crazy beautiful--your journey will not look like mine, but it should appear just as crazy to the eyes of the world and yet beautiful to God.
By Brecklyn Wilde
In Louisiana, there are lots of swamps. Lots of animals live in swamps. One kind of animal that lives here is an alligator. In our Intake, while Mom and Dad are listening to talks, all the kids go to kids ministry. It is kind of like a Bible study for kids. But one time, there was this man whose name was Mr. Judge. He wanted to show us something. He led all of us outside. He took us to a side of the playground. There were three dead alligators with ropes trailing from their mouths! They were brownish green, and one of them was big, one of them was medium, and one of them was small. Mr. Judge said that he killed them, and was taking them to the alligator farm so that people could eat the alligators. It was really cool! All the kids played with the dead alligator. They did stuff like taking pictures of kids pretending to ride them. Chi Yu and me took pictures riding one. When I patted the alligator’s belly, it felt squishy. But they also did things that you can only do to a dead alligator.
One friend named Gabrielle stuck a stick through a hole in the alligator’s head and pretended it was a Norwall! Another friend, named Drew, stuck a stick through one of the alligator’s eyes, and the eye almost fell out! Alex touched the alligator’s blood. One kid told him to stick his hand through the alligator’s mouth to get the hook out of it. Alex didn’t do it, because the alligator still had sharp teeth in it’s mouth. Grace wouldn’t even touch it. When we got back to the class, we all washed our hands, and I drew a picture of the alligators. A couple days before, we ate alligator and it tasted like chicken. It was good!
by Jason and Jessica
Eight years ago, we remember thinking that our study days were over. We probably had the (wrong) assumption that enduring over four combined decades of classrooms and earning five degrees allowed us to say that we knew everything that we needed to live our lives together.
As usual, God proves us wrong.
It has been 3 weeks since we arrived at Big Woods, Louisiana, and we have been spending a lot of this time learning about our faith and how it applies to us as missionary disciples. Every day, we spend time in prayer, praise and worship followed by studies of Acts of the Apostles, Mission of the Redeemer, teaching workshops, and Sí Señor classes. Sí Señor covers a multitude of topics specifically about missions including Serving the Poor, The Call to Holiness, and Arrival on the Mission Field. This week, Grace has even decided to opt out of the kids ministry and is now participating in all of the mission formation classes with us. Next week, she will be delivering her own Kerygma in our teaching workshop.
After lunch as a community, we have time to work on chores and the kids work on their homeschool assignments. Jason spends his afternoons fixing up a missionary house.
Thursday is our service day. Our assigned ministry is visiting a nursing home. We pray a rosary in the lunchroom and then visit as many rooms as we can before lunch. It is such a blessing for us to be able to meet, pray, and talk with the residents. Chi Yu’s exciting personality is a natural ice breaker, allowing many to open up and tell us about their own children. One beautiful lady couldn’t speak, but her face lit up when she saw Chi Yu. She pulled up her blanket and revealed her feet which were formed as uniquely and beautifully as Chi Yu’s hands. You could see the joy on her face to be around him and to share that cross with him.
Saturday is our work day, desert day and Lord’s Day dinner. We work on cleaning the community or on the various projects around our community. Grace joins Jason on Saturdays to help with the house. This is followed by desert day, two hours of quiet prayer in the fields around the mission house. It is a time of reflection, study and prayer. In the evening we dress up fancy, break bread as a community and celebrate our Lord’s Day in fellowship. The Lord’s Day dinner follows a traditional feast day celebration, which always began at sundown on the night before. We light candles, bless the bread, share it and give prayers of thanksgiving. Then we bless and share sparkling grape juice. Afterwards is a time for fellowship.
As for the kids, Brecklyn has formed a band called the Ukeladies. It consists of Brecklyn, Libby (one of the girls that lives below us in our house) and a wonderful single missionary named Rachel. They have performed several times now, and it is a joy to not only see her pick up another instrument but to get in front of the entire mission community to play. Alex is in little boy heaven with all of the new kids to play with. Chi Yu has made friends with all the missionary girls. His favorite is Shayna; he calls her China. Grace has fallen deeper in love with Jesus and is eager to learn all that she can about missions.
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.