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Life on Pause

Nate and Mary Mortenson

Missioner-in-training Mary Mortenson shares her thoughts on the beginning of mission training.

Nate and I arrived in Washington, D.C. the Monday of Labor Day, tired and emotional. We had spent our summer moving back home to help my parents on the strawberry farm, taking long bike trips, celebrating weddings and saying goodbye to our dear family and friends. Although it was hard to leave, we are relieved to just “be” for these next three months.

What drew us to Franciscan Mission Service in the first place is how serious they take the discernment and formation process. Many of us know the uncomfortable feeling of navigating next moves and trying to be wise with these big life decisions. As newlyweds this is the first big decision we had to make together. We are thankful for the time to discern this calling.

With two weeks of the formation time under our belt, I’m enjoying taking classes together, participating in discussions together, and entering a brand new community as “the married couple.” As someone that loves to learn, this is truly a dream to be able to do this together and grow in faith and experience one another in new ways.

We have had moments of anxiousness, fears and doubts have come up, and we wonder if this is truly the right next move for us. But we are continually comforted that we have time, that life is on pause in some ways. All we need to do right now is to remind ourselves to be open, to be honest, and to listen to one another and to what God is saying. That is an incredible blessing and we are grateful for a program like Franciscan Mission Service who puts importance on God’s leading in our lives.

So for now we are enjoying this lovely community that we get to live with and learn from here in D.C., exploring the city by bicycle, and being careful to pause often so that we will hear what God is saying to us.

Mary and Nate recently returned from two years of mission at the rural Carmen Pampa University in Bolivia.

Nate, the youngest son of nine, hails from La Cross, Wisconsin. Mary grew up picking strawberries in small-town Minnesota. The couple met at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, where Mary studied sociology and outdoor leadership and Nate studied Spanish and geology. They share a passion for food and bicycling, and a desire to set their marriage on a foundation of service, simplicity, and a deeper global understanding.