Our Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord! As we prepare for Thanksgiving here in Florida we keep you, whom we have met in our journeys across the States and the people who we have met during our teams assignments- the people we hope to return to and serve in Alaska, in our prayers. We are so very thankful for you all, your prayers, your support, your hospitality and encouragement. Over this past year we have found ourselves-many times all five of us- in many beautiful parishes throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and recently the Baltimore and Washington, DC areas. Currently we are planning more outings back up into Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia areas.
Since our spring update, our family has hit some important milestones. Joshua has graduated from high school. He is still intent on attending St. Herman’s Seminary on Kodiak Island in hopes of serving within the Diocese of Alaska as a priest. I am still home-schooling the girls, and in mid-August we began our school year. Last year, with Joshua completing his senior year in public school, we limited our support-raising to weekend and day trips. This year we have more freedom to travel longer, and we are learning how to home-school on the go, with our own home-schoolers on a mission! It is not always easy, as Sarah is studying on a seventh grade level while Cecelia is on a fifth grade level; so other than our studies in faith, everything else is done separately. Hosea and I are continuing our pre-field studies as well.
It was during our most recent family trip to Baltimore that some thoughts came to mind, and some things I would like to share with you. These reflections from the road came to me while I was enjoying the quiet of the early morning before Hosea and the girls woke up and the day’s activities took control of us. During this welcomed silence, I thought of what our family has experienced--the people we’ve met and the places we’ve been. Much has happened since the completion of New Candidate Orientation (NCO) in the summer of 2011. During the time that Hosea and Joshua participated on the 2011 Team to Bethel, we were accepted by both the OCMC and the Diocese of Alaska as a missionary candidate family. And thus, we have begun and continue the mission before the mission.
Now, if this were a standard business and we were selling a product or service to the public, then this would be chalked up as door-to-door sales with some telemarketing sprinkled in for good measure. Yes, we do have to raise monetary support prior to our beginning our in-field assignment. Yes, we do have to travel and speak to hundreds or thousands of people. But this is not a standard business. It is so much more, as we work now to find those that the Lord has already assigned to join in support of the Alaskan mission. We come before you both vulnerable and fragile, in order to share our family’s experiences and to articulate the vision God has given us of how He wants us to serve Him. It is a huge lesson in humility. Beyond the presentations and fundraising, we are blessed to be able to connect with you, our extended family in Christ. You’ve taken the time to invite us into your homes and into your parishes. Your hospitality refreshes us, readies us to continue the long journey before us. And, hopefully, we will continue to share with one another.
As the days and months pass, there are times when frustration and failure creep into our minds. I would be lying if I said this didn’t happen. It’s not easy when you’re raising support for not only yourself, or even yourself and a spouse, but for an entire family. The cost of living where we are headed happens to be among the highest in the nation, but this is where we have been called to serve. In our training at OCMC, and from other missionaries, we have learned that, when in our hearts the Lord plants our desire to serve and Himself appoints us to a field, He also appoints our way to those who will join the mission by helping to send us. God-willing, this is exactly why our family has met so many encouraging people. We are so keenly reminded of how powerful prayer truly is, and how important your prayer for us and partnership with us in sacrifice helps us not be discouraged along the path. You encourage us, minister to us, and help move us forward to those awaiting our service.
Together as an extended missionary family and support team, we overcome the challenge of meeting those God has appointed to this most sacred mission. With you, this mission begins at home--with the blessing of building relationships that we will extend to those served in the field, while also transmitting others’ help—your help—as God’s own help for the sake of His Alaskan people. And by allowing ourselves to be accepting of your loving support, we are joined with you in this missionary journey, and will never serve alone.
Along the winding path to the God-appointed mission field, we stop, pick each other up, and continue more strongly together toward Alaska. This is the mission before the mission.
On behalf of our family, I want to thank you all for your love, your prayers, and your support. I want to thank you for joining us on this mission to the people of Alaska. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving.
For the DiLullo Family, and for our missionary family yet to come, Yours in Christ,
Tamara Pamela DiLullo
Here are two ways you can make the commitment to support our family and partner with us by offering monthly giving throughout our entire first term of service:
1. Give Online at https://www.ocmc.org/donate/donation_info.aspx
Use the “Select A Missionary” drop down box and choose THE DILULLO FAMILY (UNITED STATES) to begin your pledged giving electronically.
2. Mail or Fax your gift using the downloadable .pdf at https://www.ocmc.org/images/PDFs/Mail_Fax_Donation.pdf
Please designate the DILULLO FAMILY as recipients in the gifts information block. Both the Fax number and Mailing Address are included on the form.