Anyone who knows us knows that we like to travel and, doing so, we tell others about Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM. Anyone who knows us well knows that we just returned on November 22nd from a month in New Zealand and two weeks in the Sydney-Canberra areas of Australia, doing precisely that, as well as seeing lots of scenic miles and meeting many wonderful people.
And we’re still fighting jet lag!! But was it worth it? Absolutely!
If you’ve been in New Zealand, you know what an amazing country it is. It is beautiful in Springtime with its green hillsides and sheep in October and November, hills and mountains, gorgeous coastlands, seals, glaciers and fiords! (Yes, earthquakes too which missed us, thankfully!) There was more diversity of foods, restaurants, and people than what we’re used to in our area of “The States”.
And yet we were at home there — especially when we attended Mass.
We had made arrangements for a “Relaxing Journeys” tour with a rental car. (They set up the accommodations after we tweaked their itinerary with what we specifically wanted to see and do, or not…). One of the more challenging aspects of our trip was driving on the left side of the road, and with that, finding the turn signal rather than the windshield wiper! Luckily, it was not a big deal after the first few miles!
My husband Michael, detailed person that he is, was able to schedule appointments at the six Catholic diocesan headquarters in New Zealand (four on the North Island and two on the South Island), as well as six more in Australia. In each place we met with diocesan staff members and presented Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM Sexual Health information to them. We even met personally with one of the bishops in New Zealand. In Wellington, we attended a daily Mass at the cathedral when all six bishops happened to be there as well (preparing for the NZ Bishops Conference meeting). In most locations where we attended a daily Mass, we were also able to share our information with the parish priests.
There was a great deal of interest in what we had to tell. Most people with whom we spoke were unaware of the support from Elizabeth Ministry that’s available for women who suffer infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. None knew about (but all were interested in) Jeannie Hannemann’s PASTORAL GUIDE: MISCARRIAGE, STILLBIRTH OR NEWBORN LOSS. Very few knew about the online program for the healing of pornography addictions from RECLAiM Sexual Health. In Sydney, Australia, we addressed the concerns of seminarians preparing for pastoral ministry to the many individuals who struggle with habits of pornography and its serious effects on marriage and family life.
Actually, we took with us 50 folders of information about these two ministries, and we brought back not a one! The final folder went to a Catholic RCIA director who sat next to Michael on one of the flights home.
There were several times where the Lord showed us that we were in the right place, like when we were able to fit into a bishop’s schedule at a moment’s notice! After a meeting with several men and women at the diocesan center in Auckland, I noticed that I had a broken blood vessel in my eye. This could have been a big concern (especially in a foreign country) except that one of the women we had just met was an optometrist. How rare is that!
Another time, as we prepared to take the ferry (1600 passengers!) from North Island to South Island, a three-hour crossing, we met a woman who helped us schlep our luggage from car to ship. Come to find out, she was one of the ship’s pursers and later invited us up for a tour of the bridge, the ship’s “brain”. What a treat!
At a daily Mass one morning, we had a priest from China. When we told him about RECLAiM, he was immediately “sold” and looked forward to telling his
confreres back home about the help they would also find available to deal with the scourge of pornography. Thank you, Jesus!!
Anyone who might be fighting a porn habit, who speaks English, and has the use of the internet would benefit from the RECLAiM program. And, unfortunately, many hundreds of thousands of men and women from all over the world do need help to break free of Satan’s chains!
Another time, “being in the right place,” we sat behind a gentleman at Mass whom we recognized as being an American. In our conversation with him, we learned that he’s a high ranking member of the judicial system in Pennsylvania, and was most interested in the RECLAiM program! How good is the Lord!!
Would we go back? If I don’t think about the hours spent on planes…we would go at a moment’s notice! Even better would be to take Jeannie and Bruce Hannemann with us! Anybody have a few dozen shekels (or frequent flyer miles?) to share?
- for Jeannie and Bruce Hannemann, founders of EM, for her eyesight’s improvement following the stroke she suffered, the ability to continue her writing and speaking opportunities, for Bruce’s health needs and those of their parents and family.
- for the financial health of EM/RECLAiM, for donors and staff members’ needs.
- for RECLAiM students, that they may feel God’s grace strengthening them to overcome their addictions
- for all those who are fighting drug, alcohol or pornography addictions, anorexia, or mental illness, that they might find healing and mercy.
- for Kendra, age 16, with aggressively spreading bone cancer, and for strength and comfort for her family
- for married couples using NFP, and for those who are turning away from artificial contraception.
- for couples who are currently hoping to conceive a child, and for those who have suffered miscarriages.
- for those couples undergoing difficult pregnancies, those who are new parents with babies, and those challenged by the choices and decisions of their teens, that all might seek help and wisdom from Christian couples around them.
- for all babies to be celebrated, welcomed, and cherished, regardless of the circumstances of conception or health status.