United States - 2007
This has been a difficult assignment as the Home has had such a profound effect on my life, as well as, the life of my family.
As many of you know, I am Cynthia's husband and we have been married for 21 years. We have three wonderful daughters. Sr. Kristen is with the Servant Sisters; Laura is a Freshman at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA; and Sarah, 17, is a homeschooled Junior in High School. I am a corporate nomad and we are currently living in Ohio which is in the central US.
I first met the Home in the summer of 1999. We attended the vows of the Servant Sisters in Priego, Spain. On the drive to Barcenilla, we experienced the joy of a flat tire. I was able to quickly change it despite a van full of sleeping young ladies. The next day Father Rafael asked me about the incident and he wanted to see the damaged tire. The next moment, he picks up the tire and races to his car to take it to be repaired. That scene exemplifies the Home and I have seen it repeated time and time again. It is so appropriate that we call them Servant Sisters and Servant Brothers. As the Bible states in Mark 10: 44-46, we are here to serve not to be served. It is easier to say it than to live it (trust me). However, I have received the witness of the Home and I try to live my life in a similar fashion.
At the end of the 1999 Girls Summer Encounter in Barcenilla, everyone came out to greet us and to send my family on our way to Madrid. Just one view of how the Home behaves and functions as a family. It has been a wonderful example for each of us!
We attended our first Holy Week Encounter in Priego, Spain in 2000 and we have not missed one since. Each year it seems that we participate in a different location as Fr. Rafael has asked us to assist with the establishment of the Encounters in the United States. This year, 2007, we will be in Florida for Holy Week. Each experience is different and moving in its own way (there is not enough space for me to account for all of them). Of note is Holy Week in 2003 in Spain. Fr. Rafael gave a talk about a Community he had met in Brazil. Lay members of that Community volunteer their services for a twelve month period of time. They work in a variety of activities as requested by the leadership of the Community. As a result, I felt called to do the same for the Home and I worked for Fr. Rafael for 15 months in 2003 and 2004. It was a rewarding part of my life as I did what I was asked to do which is quite different for a corporate executive. Also, it was frustrating as I still did not learn enough Spanish to be dangerous!
I was blessed to make a trip to the missions in Ecuador in March of last year. I have traveled the world, but my eyes were again opened to people experiencing such suffering and a lack of the basic necessities of life (such as food). The Servant Sisters work tirelessly in very difficult conditions. Please pray for them and do what you can to help them with their work.
As I mentioned, my daughter, Sr. Kristen, is a Servant Sister. We are thrilled about her vocation! However, my relationship with the Home transcends that vocation. The Servants of The Home of The Mother live the Gospel and they are a beautiful witness for Jesus Christ. That is what attracts me to the Home and why I work to support them in every way that I can.