CCHF | Solutions

H & D

Incarnational Marriage

My husband and I moved to Fort Worth, Texas in 2010 from San Antonio.  He had finished medical school and was getting reading to begin a residency in family medicine at the county hospital.  I had just finished my first year of teaching in the US after spending three years in Latin America.  We had moved, married, and begun new jobs within one very full month.  We began to get settled, and I contacted Catholic Charities about volunteer service opportunities.  An English teacher with a background in ESL, I thought that I might do some tutoring during the summer.  I met with the volunteer coordinator and learned that an area of great need was for mentors within the refugee services program.  Fort Worth resettles a large number of refugees from countries including Burma, Nepal, Bhutan, Iraq, Somalia, and Congo. Refugee services are partially funded through a match-grant program that pairs refugees with mentors.  My husband and I were soon paired with a Congolese family that had recently arrived in Fort Worth.  We met each other for the first time later that summer in their new home at Ladera Palms Apartments.  Although our conversation was initially quite limited due to the language barrier, we soon developed a friendship as we shared about our families and cultures. 

As the summer turned into fall and school began, it became more and more difficult for us to arrange visits with our Congolese family.  It wasn’t that we had lost interest in the ministry; it was just that our schedules had become so full.  On one of our visits during the fall, my husband mentioned that maybe we should consider living there at Ladera Palms when our current lease expired.   I probably said something like, “Yeah, maybe” and thought “Really, Ian?  I don’t think so.”  It was the kind of place that I found culturally unique, but not the kind of place where I wanted to live.  Many of the buildings were in bad condition and it wasn’t a particularly scenic or even safe part of town.  I was comfortable where we were living, next door to my brother and sister-in-law and exactly halfway between the hospital and the school where I worked.  Needless to say, it took me a while to warm up to the idea of moving across town.  If I had lined up the pros and cons, Ladera Palms would clearly not have been the best choice.  But God has a way of working on our hearts, and His wisdom is not as the world defines it.  In moving to Ladera Palms, he seemed to be asking us to embrace the foolishness of the Gospel, which is the very power of God for us who are being saved. 

We began to move forward with our decision in the spring, and eventually signed a lease.  Our families weren’t in favor of the move for reasons of both safety and comfort, but we tried to address their concerns.   We moved in July of 2011, and I worked to create a comfortable home.  We have enjoyed being walking distance from our Conglose friends, and have also gotten to know a lot of the families who live around us.  Although it wasn’t what we anticipated, we probably have the most frequent contact with our African American neighbor kids.  Most of them come from single-parent families, and they are usually looking for something to do.  We’ve loaned board games, played the Wii, made cookies, carved pumpkins, and decorated Easter eggs.  Our focus with these kids has been demonstrating love, teaching kindness and courtesy, and modeling a healthy marriage relationship. 

 In sharing the Gospel with our Burmese neighbors, we discovered that they are already committed Christians, as are many of the other families from here.  Our Nepali neighbors are open to the Gospel in a cultural sense—they have even come to church with us on one occasion—but their roots are in Hinduism.   We do enjoy them very much and appreciate their food too!  Another opportunity to meet and serve people here has presented itself in an ESL class offered by Catholic Charities on Saturday afternoons.  We have a variety of ability levels, and I frequently get to work with a group of students on beginning language skills.

Our move has not been without challenges: Using the public laundry facilities is often frustrating; our downstairs neighbors like loud music, and we have had to call the police concerning domestic disputes in the middle of the night; our air conditioning has broken on multiple occasions; and security is often not as careful as we would like.  It’s not the kind of quiet neighborhood where you walk down a tree-lined street with your dog and stroller, but there are a lot of really good things about living here in intentional community with the people God has asked us to serve.  We know that this is where He wants us, and we pray that he gives us joy for his work and develops perseverance and greater maturity in us through the testing of our faith.  


My husband and I moved to Fort Worth, Texas in 2010 from San Antonio.  He had finished medical school and was getting reading to begin a residency in family medicine at the county hospital.  I had just finished my first year of teaching in the US after spending three years in Latin America.  We had moved, married, and begun new jobs within one very full month.  We began to get settled, and I contacted Catholic Charities about volunteer service opportunities.  An English teacher with a background in ESL, I thought that I might do some tutoring during the summer.  I met with the volunteer coordinator and learned that an area of great need was for mentors within the refugee services program.  Fort Worth resettles a large number of refugees from countries including Burma, Nepal, Bhutan, Iraq, Somalia, and Congo. Refugee services are partially funded through a match-grant program that pairs refugees with mentors.  My husband and I were soon paired with a Congolese family that had recently arrived in Fort Worth.  We met each other for the first time later that summer in their new home at Ladera Palms Apartments.  Although our conversation was initially quite limited due to the language barrier, we soon developed a friendship as we shared about our families and cultures.