Tony

Tony
My brother in law Tony helping the poor

Sunday, December 11, 2016

For many years I kept this Blog and updated it with stories from my El Salvador mission experiences as well as family stories.  This past year I had made a decision to write a book.  A book you ask, why? Well, I believe I have been given a gift, and I believe that God is asking me to share that gift. 

In preparing for this book I had to do some research, aside from the missionary visits.  Some of which is to interview folks on their experiences, particularly those things that have shaped, or reshaped their lives.  If you feel you have an experience or amazing story to share, please PM me at colovasj@gmail.com.  I would love to hear from you and I promise to keep your story confidential. 

Although I will not be updating this Blog on a regular basis, I do intend to keep writing my story.  I do not have a release date as of yet.  I keep God's schedule, therefore, I write when inspired to do so. 

I look forward to hearing YOUR story. 

Joyce

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We Are Our Brother's Keeper

People might wonder why a person would want to blog about something.  Today, with all the instant communications available such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc., you might ask, "can't  you just say what you want to say in a sentence or two?"  After all, nobody wants to take the time to read all that stuff anyways.  To them I say, grab a chair. 


Today I heard about another sad situation where a young man went on a stabbing spree at his high school.  Now, you may think I'm totally crazy here, but I really feel sorry for this kid.  Of course I feel more sorrow and unbelievable pain for the victims families, I can't help but really feel for this kid.  Every time I hear about these school sprees (and believe me I am awe struck at their frequency), I find myself heartbroken for the one who is so angry, so hurt, so misunderstood that he feels compelled to harm others.  

I feel for his parents as well.  I wonder what must have happened in the child's life to lead him to such dire straights?  I find myself wanting to understand him in a more spiritual way.  Where was his God, his faith, his conscience?  

A while ago a friend of mine who is very active in prison ministry told me a story about a girl who had killed her parents.  He wondered if she was truly sorry for her actions or if she just said she was sorry to get his sympathy.  He was getting frustrated because he felt like he couldn't get through to her and like he was being "played" by her.  

I spoke to him and said, "I thought your job was to help her heal, not to be her judge and jury?"  I'm not sure he liked my response very much because he quickly said he had somewhere else he had to go, but the question is still out there.  Are we not citizens of this community, of this country, of this world, of God's society of angels, here not to judge but to help the sick find healing?  While so many are concerned for the flesh and body and crime and punishment, are we at all concerned about the soul of this young man?  

Whether we like it or not, we are our brother's keeper.  We are all put on this earth to help each other reach our true judge and jury...Jesus.  Let us not forget our citizenship in heaven.  If it is at all humanly possible, let's try to understand the heart and soul of those in pain.  After all, some of us might even be responsible for the aweful actions of others because of how we have treated them or spoken to them.  I think we should try to make amends with those we have wronged so that they are not compelled to do wrong to others.  

So for anyone out there that I have hurt by either word or deed, I'm sorry.  You can always find a friend in me, that I promise.  


Sunday, October 7, 2012

New Beginnings in the Middle of the Year?

The Bible says that there is a season for everything.  Living in the Midwest we get to experience that...literally!  Right now is the prime time for the Fall season.  We are the the height of the leaves changing color and of course this means it is the beginning to the end of summer, and what a beautiful summer it has been!

For the past three years or so I have be been going through a bit of my own metamorphosis, which began with the loss of my mom and then continued through the loss of my job which had me out of work for more than a year.  But during that time I believe I grew more than I ever had before in my life.  I learned about friendships, hardship, and fellowship.  What did I learn?  I learned that that there is a season for everything....

The truth is, as rough as some things might have been, I am glad I went through them.  Taking care of my Mom was hard and miss her very much, but I am so glad that she does not suffer anymore.  Not working was life changing for me and very difficult, but I learned that the waiting really is the hardest part. Now I work at a wonderful firm where the people are so warm and caring that I sometimes pinch myself just to make sure it is real.  The friendships were rough, but I learned that they were never going to be my "cheerleaders" so it is best to let them go because many times people take advantage of other people's good nature to the point where it becomes enabling.  So I am glad to let go of needy relationships and replace them with kinder, more mutually loving ones.  

The biggest change recently though has been the fact that my family also changed churches.  And that my friends, was, well.......nothing short of a miracle. 

The story goes, as a missionary, it is one of my life's purposes to bring people to know, love and serve the God through the poor.  In order to do that, I have to be open to going where ever God calls me.  So many times as members of a particular church or parish we get into a routine or rut with attending services/masses.  I was falling into such a rut.  I was beginning to dread going to church and could hardly motivate myself any more.  So one Monday morning after barely making it to church the previous Sunday, I said to myself, 'something here has GOT to change!'  So that Monday I called the pastor at Holy Angel's Church who is well aware of my love for the El Salvador Missions.  I said, "Father, I just have to make a change.  I don't feel like I can live out my ministry anymore where I am. I don't feel inspired anymore.  So before I make the change for my family I have to know, am I going to be able to live out my mission ministry at this parish?"  

There was silence on the other end of the phone.  Then Fr. Dan spoke and said, "this is no doubt divine intervention."  He began to explain that there was a young woman at the parish who had just died.  She was only 20 years old and that he was heart broken to have had her funeral just the week before I called.  He went on to say that Danielle had a dream to become a missionary, in fact, she had just gotten home from a mission trip just weeks before she died.  Fr. Dan said, "Joyce, I was just thinking this morning that there just has to be something we could do here at Holy Angels to keep Danielle's memory alive?"  Then you called.... 

He was grateful for my phone call and said he knows that I was sent to him and to his parish, but I said, "no Father, Danielle was sent to me!"  I needed help, I needed direction and most importantly I needed to live out my ministry and she interceded for me.  

Today, I have a new job that I love and is so interesting.  I work with wonderful, loving and interesting women.  I have excitement about my new ministry work at Holy Angels, and I have new friends that have as much interest in me and my well-being as I do for them.  

So much has changed in the past year, and OH did I mention that even some old wounds have been healed.  Some others in my past have softened their hearts and have warmly forgiven themselves and me.  All in all it has been a fabulous and blessed year.  I look forward to 2013 because my son will graduate and he is such a remarkable young man.  This weekend we spent some great time together with his friends talking for hours about religion and politics.  I was so proud of the way he debated with his so-called agnostic friends, arguing the case for God and faith.  And this November he gets to vote in his first Presidential election.  

I am so blessed to have God in my corner.  For with Christ, ALL things are possible!