Nino and Nina?

Nino and Nina?

We have two new names!   “Nino” and “Nina” (pronounced Neeno and Neena, to not be confused with the Spanish pronunciation Niño and Niña).

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Last month Gary and I had the privilege of standing with our good friends as the godparents of their little baby boy at his baptism.  We covenanted with them to stand in the gap for this precious boy’s spiritual health and well being for his entire life!

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As we stood there together, I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of peace.  To be a part of such a sacrament as this was a true blessing!  While Milo sat on his daddy’s lap, Father Robert first anointed him with holy oil in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  That was precious!  And Milo’s face proved it!

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Then at the baptismal fount, as the holy water was flowing over little Milo’s head, I was blessed by the beauty of what God was doing in that very moment!  The stain of original sin was being washed away and Milo was becoming a member of the Body of Christ by water and the Spirit!  (1Peter 3:21).

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John Martignoni* says that “infants need to be baptized, just like anyone else, so that they can be “in Christ,” so that they can put on Christ, so that they can become children of God, so that they can become members of the body of Christ, so that they can be granted eternal life.” **

So, by being Milo’s godparents, we are committed to be his mentors, educators, and spiritual support to guide him in the way of Jesus!  What a joy it is to pray for him and dedicate our lives to nurturing him as Christ leads in that endeavor.

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So why did Matt and Laurie ask us to be Milo’s godparents?  They were friends of ours and attended the church Gary pastored.  But that’s not exactly why.

In the winter of 2015, they began searching for how to better live out the Gospel through a radical expression of it.  That February they decided to volunteer for one month at the “House of the Dying Destitute” in Calcutta, India, founded by Mother Teresa.  The nuns there, the Missionaries of Charity, vow to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience to Jesus Christ.  Their lives are very difficult and they never leave the grueling work in the heat and abuse of that land.  Matt said those nuns were the most joyful of anyone he and Laurie had ever known!  That month’s experience transformed them both from the inside out and were greatly impacted by the nun’s loving ministry to the dying.

Because of their time in Calcutta, they became very interested in the Catholic church because they could see Jesus in the lives of the nuns.  What was it that gave them such victory despite the pain?  Thus, their journey began.

After their return, Gary asked to meet with Matt to hear about his experiences in Calcutta.  Matt told him of the impact the nuns had on him and explained how it caused them to pursue the Catholic church.  Upon hearing that statement Gary confessed that he too was on a journey toward the Catholic church.  Both were shocked and relieved to have a mutual desire to walk that journey together!

Within a few months, the four of us attended classes to become Catholic and naturally grew closer as the months progressed.  We were received into the Church of the Good Shepherd in March of 2016.

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Before long, Laurie was pregnant and they asked us to be their baby’s godparents.  What an awesome privilege it was for us to commit to that endeavor and prayerfully seek wisdom for it, even before baby Milo was born.

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They soon moved to New Jersey for Matt to attend medical school but we kept in contact from time to time.  Within the year Gary was offered a job with the American Bible Society in Philly.  That was certainly a confirmation of God’s plan for us to be closer to our godson who was now about 8 months old!  We began looking for an apartment near them.  The first one we saw in their town was the one we took and we love it!  I love how God works these things out!

So now we’re Nino and Nina and Milo will soon be calling us that!  We’re “family” now because that’s basically what happens with godparents.  We share the covenant and commitment of raising Milo to know, love and serve Jesus Christ!  What an honor this is and such a huge responsibility!  We accept it with deep joy and determination as we seek God’s wisdom and direction for this little guy.

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Proverbs 2:1-11 has been my memorized “mommy scripture” for my own children and my grand kiddos for many years now.  I am committed to praying this prayer for little Milo as well.

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;  from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.  

Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

That has been my prayer for my eight grand kids all these years and now I am adding my little godson as well!  May God guide his little heart to be ever so near to Jesus, the “leader and perfecter” of his faith!  (Hebrews 12:2a) 

*catholicanswers.com

** John 3:3,5;  Gal. 3:27;  Rom. 6:4:  1 Cor. 12:13;  Acts 2:38;  2 Cor. 5:17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now What?

Now What?

Only New York City dwellers can truly understand what I’m about to say… Why? Because living in NYC is entirely different from where I now reside! I’d almost forgotten what life was like on the other side!

A large kitchen, wall-to-wall carpeting, a large bathroom, two comfortable bedrooms, a washer and dryer, a quiet neighborhood (sans of drug dealers and extra loud music!), a town that is up and coming near Philly, gas that is $.40 cheaper that a New York City, and a choice of two awesome churches to attend! Need I say more? We are blessed beyond words!

We sought God’s will, asked for clarity and direction, and waited on Him even when it took much longer than we wanted. We now see God’s hand in why we moved to Collingswood New Jersey! He has showered us, as He always does, with deep peace and joy! But it’s not only about the conveniences of life here!

No matter where we go we know that God calls us and wants to use us in service to Him. And once again, here we are in the center of His will for us. We moved here because, as of one week ago, Gary is working with the American Bible Society located in Philadelphia. His love for God’s Word and the Spanish language are now a large part of his 40 hour week at ABS. It thrills me to see him so fulfilled in these two areas he has always cherished! He is part of a team working to help people become more engaged in Scripture and his main focus is with the Spanish language.

So what have I been doing?

I’ve had more fun setting up our new home in this quiet neighborhood. It’s been most enjoyable for me with the conveniences we now have. While Gary is at work I have been emptying boxes, organizing rooms and setting up our new life here, especially using Facebook Marketplace!

What I haven’t experienced yet is what I left back in NYC. I had an active and very busy life there. I was babysitting my grand kiddos a great deal, working with the women’s organization at my church, working part-time babysitting children in my neighborhood, and finding time to meet up with old friends for fellowship. I was very busy and loved it!

So now what?

One thing I have determined to continue with here is to attend Mass every single morning! When we were looking for an apartment near Philly, I asked God to please provide us with a church that had early morning Mass.  Since becoming Catholic over a year ago, I’ve grown to depend on meeting Jesus in the Holy Eucharist every single morning!  To our surprise (not!) God has given us two choices! We have the privilege of choosing between the 6:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. Mass celebrations nearby, and have yet to determine which one to attend on a regular basis.

As far as the rest of my life here in Collingswood, New Jersey goes, I wonder what God has next for me!

About a year ago Gary mentioned to me that he sensed that the elderly are a group of people often overlooked by society, and wondered how we could participate in their lives. Little did we know that we would become a part of a residential village full of elderly folks! God has been preparing us for this and here we are! What that entails I have no idea, but, as always, I can’t wait to see what God wants to do through us.

I look forward to meeting the folks here. I’ve already become good friends with someone who shared with me that she was just told that she has breast cancer. I told her I would be praying for her and it took her off guard!  That was the beginning of a new and special friendship. I am committed to walking this journey alongside her.

A blind lady lives above us, an irritated and irrational man lives down the way, and a quiet older woman dying of cancer walks her dog all day long to keep active. These are just a few of the many residents here that God is calling me to befriend. I am open to His plan for me. He may have me work part time in the dermatology office here in town or perhaps I’ll just hang out with the folks here in Pewter Village!

I am honestly a bit nervous about what all this might mean!  But I know that God walks beside me and He’ll work out the details as I trust Him. How fitting it is that as I write this today, the priest spoke of this very thing in his homily (sermon) this morning from Matthew 11:25–30.  God is inviting me to come to Him, especially in my weakness, and learn from Him. He promises to walk with me  in my simplicity. He asks me to join Him in obedience to what His purpose is for me in these new surroundings. I don’t know what that is but I want to reflect Him in my life. It’s Jesus who gives me the strength and desire to say “yes” to whatever He asks of me and I honestly look forward to finding out what that is!