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overseas lay mission

Choosing the Lesser Ministry

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Ralph Anderson, OFS recalls his previous mission experiences and reflects on how God is calling him to serve in “lesser” ministries in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Mission is not something new in my life. My first experience was in 1966 with the Knights of Columbus. I was 12 years old, and we drove…

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Get out of the Tomb!

Editor’s Note: As we continue celebrating the liturgical season of Easter, lay missioner Joleen Johnson reflects on how God calls us out of our individual “tombs” and invites us into new, abundant life. Mark 16:1-5: “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they…

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All Aboard to Tucson: Facing My Fears. Mission Accepted.

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Julia Pinto reflects on how God strengthens her to face her fear of driving so that she can serve migrants at her ministry site. March 13, 2024 Lengthy disclaimer: When you go on mission, especially to do some hot-topic work like humanitarian aid on the US-Mexico border, people often act like…

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Agony and Joy

Editor’s Note: Along with a Servite Sister, lay missioner Joleen Johnson contemplates the connections between agony and joy, especially in regards to Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection. As the Easter season begins, I wondered: What is the connection between agony and joy (or ecstasy)? I asked this question to a very wise Servite Sister* living here…

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An Ending and a Beginning: Reflecting on Life and Death This Lent and Easter

Editor’s Note: During her first season of Lent on mission, lay missioner Kim Wagner relates Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection to her reflections on the life of her mother. I can still recall the day like it was yesterday — March 31st, 2020. Upon waking up in my bedroom in my Dad’s house, I felt…

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Lent in Cochabamba, 2024

Editor’s Note: In light of this liturgical season of Lent, lay missioner Victor Artaiz reflects on how he’s living the three pillars of Lent–prayer, fasting, and almsgiving–while on mission in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Not all of our mission camino is filled with smiles and fresh air, cobblestone walks and views of fresh flowers, mountainside vistas and…

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Walking Toward Christ, Even in Discomfort

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Ralph Anderson, OFS describes how Christ has been calling him to prayer in a special place in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I have been living in Cochabamba, Bolivia for seven weeks now. Things are very different here. I have spent time in Latin America throughout my life. My first mission trip was when…

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When Plans Change

Editor’s Note: As she returns to her ministry site after spending Christmas with her family, lay missioner Julia Pinto reflects on three strangers whom she encounters along the way. After being away for two years, I gratefully soaked in every moment I could with loved ones over the Christmas holidays. My heart was full as…

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Nativity in Cochabamba

Editor’s Note: During the Christmas season, lay missioner Victor Artaiz describes the nativity scenes from his ministry sites and how they capture the simple joy of the Nativity. In spending my 2nd Christmas here in Cochabamba, the peace and simplicity of the Nativity really came into focus for me. In my ministry at El Abra,…

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Lessons from Preschool

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Joleen Johnson recounts the lessons that she has learned from the preschool children at her ministry site. The pictures of children’s faces have been blurred for safety and confidentiality purposes. I recently changed my school ministry site to accompany the preschoolers at one of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany’s schools. I…

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An Appeal for Prison Ministers Everywhere

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Mari Snyder describes her experience serving in prison ministry and encourages others to perform this corporal act of mercy. I’ll miss climbing up into Norma’s white pickup truck and heading north 7.5 miles, speaking with my friend in my best “slow and halting” Spanish. We can stop shielding our eyes from…

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Day 9: Praise

Editor’s Note: For Day 9 of our Advent series “The Day of Joy Drew Near,” returned missioner Anna Metzger, inspired by the lyrics of a praise and worship song, describes how she continues to praise God through changes and challenges. Before reading the following blog, I encourage you to take a few minutes to listen…

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Day 6: Multitude

Editor’s Note: For day 6 of our Advent series “The Day of Joy Drew Near,” lay missioner Mari Snyder uses an acrostic, a poetic device in which the first letter of each line forms a word, to describe the diverse people whom she encounters at her ministry site along the US-Mexico border. On a pilgrimage…

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A Happy Ending

Editor’s Note: Ralph Anderson, a newly-commissioned missioner, reflects on FMS’s in-depth Formation for Overseas Lay Missioners and his experiences with living in intentional community. “What can they possibly teach me in thirteen weeks of Formation?” That was my thought before beginning Formation at Casa San Salvador. I knew there was a lot I needed to…

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Saying Yes and Saying No

Editor’s Note: Kim Wagner, a newly commissioned missioner describes how she discerned joining FMS’s Overseas Lay Mission program through a series of yeses and nos. As we draw closer to the end of formation in Washington D.C., I have taken time to recall the first few months of 2023 when I was discerning joining FMS’…

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Holy Ground

Editor’s note: Reflecting on the Scriptural concept of “holy ground,” missioner Joleen Johnson ponders how each person she encounters, created in the image of God, is inviting her to holy ground. Have you ever thought about why God told Moses to take off his sandals when he came over to the burning bush? The story…

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Nourishment on Mission

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Victor Artaiz relates to Jesus’ moments of rest and prayer in Scripture by sharing his own moments of prayerful reflection on mission. Entering into the 22nd month of my mission journey here in Bolivia, I began to reflect on how Jesus and holy scripture continue to light my path and provide…

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A Tribute to Our Lay Missioners

Editor’s Note: As this year’s Overseas Lay Missioner Formation comes to a close, DC Service Corps member Bohdan O’Shaughnessy dedicates this blog to FMS’s three recently commissioned missioners. In the not-too-distant future, the Casa is losing our three lay missioners as they embark to their international ministry sites. Last Saturday was their Commissioning Mass, and…

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Breaking Down Walls

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Julia Pinto, who serves in the US-Mexico border region, describes an encounter with a woman whom she serves both physically and emotionally at the Migrant Resource Center. We had months of attending to very few people at CRM, the Migrant Resource Center. The number of people I attended to in my…

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Looking Forward

Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner Hannah Hagarty shares her discernment of “What comes next?” following the end of her service with FMS. In her final blog, Hannah candidly opens up about her approaches in trusting God with her steps moving forward.    My time serving as a Franciscan Mission Service Overseas Lay Missioner (FMSOLM) is coming…

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2019 Re-Commissioning Mass

On January 27, Franciscan Mission Service held its annual Re-Commissioning Mass celebrating three recently returned missioners Anna Klonowski, Cindy Mizes, and Misty Menis-Kyler, who lived in solidarity with the marginalized of Bolivia, Jamaica, and Guatemala, respectively, for two years. The special Re-Commissioning Mass not only brought a close to the missioners’ time serving with FMS…

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Faith Call Us to be Neighbors: In Thanksgiving for Community

Editor’s note: As part of FMS’ 2017 Advent blog series, Programs Associate Rose Urankar reflects on the past year and how community has welcomed her during that time. “Where were you one year ago today?” As we sat around the table, bellies full from our “Friendsgiving” feast, the FMS Casa community reflected on how our…

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There’s More – Committing to a Fourth Year

It is official: I am extending my contract to stay in Bolivia for a fourth and final year. With this decision, I have a sense of excitement and joy… as well as a bit of relief. In my discernment, I had my pros for staying in Bolivia and my pros for returning to the U.S.…

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