Called to Serve

November 30, 2009

Let Us Build the City of God

“Go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Mt 19:21)

Dear Friends and Family –

Here I am Lord, for you called me”.  Samuel’s words, spoken in the book of Kings, have become my own over this past year.  Approaching graduation last spring, I began to plan out what I would be doing with my life this year.  The job applications went out, and the job offers came in.  However the Lord was working on some different plans for me.  Seven months ago, the Lord called me to follow him in a new way.  On a spring break mission trip to the small Mexican town of General Cepeda, my eyes were opened, my heart was broken, and my soul was moved.  My eyes were opened to the poverty of our world, to the conditions that millions of people live in every day of their lives.  These people, less than ten hours away from multimillionaires living in a plush San Antonio condo, are living in shacks consisting of cardboard held together with thumbtacks.  My heart was broken; I had been blessed with so much in my life and these people were sleeping in huts of mud, with no heat, no food, no family. My soul was moved, I was convicted, I need to help these people, I need do whatever I can to serve them, I need to show them that they are loved.

Seven months later I find that the Lord has not wasted one ounce of my willingness to help these people, to love them, to show them Christ’s love.  He has called me to give up everything that was once familiar, to turn down job offers, to leave my home, leave behind friends and family, and to follow Him.  I now find myself having followed Him to the small town of Abbeville in the middle of the Louisiana bayous, training to become a full-time lay Catholic foreign missionary with Family Missions Company.  Over the past 2 months I have been in an intensive formation program, preparing me to be a foreign missionary.  This coming January I will be sent out with one or two other young men to a foreign country to begin my life as a missionary.  My life will be given to the poor.  It will consist in building homes, offering medical help to the local people, giving alms, making home visits, but most importantly to spreading the Good News of the Gospel to as many people as possible.  I will be holding prayer meetings, hosting Bible studies, sharing testimonies and giving witness to what the Lord has done in my life.  My life will be consumed with trying my hardest to become the hands and feet of Christ in today’s world, to serve my brothers and sisters abroad, to walk where Christ could not while here was here on this earth.  Family Missions Company is not a Catholic version of the Peace Corps, but instead an organization devoted and dedicated to improving the life of each and every person we meet not only in any worldly way we can, but also in giving them a hope and a love that is never-ending, that will be with them long after we are gone, the hope and love that can come only from a relationship with Jesus Christ.

This mission that the Lord has called me to is becoming more urgent each day.  As the world population approaches a monumental 7 billion people, the number of Christians is hovering around 2.4 billion.  That averages out to an approximate Christian world population of merely 28%.  If we believe the words of Jesus, if we truly believe that “every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life” (John 6:40b), then we must ask ourselves: Why isn’t more being done?  If the statistics came out that 72% of the world was dying and that all they needed for a strong chance of recovery, a chance of being healed, a chance of being saved was a WORD, you could bet on it that millions of people would be rushing into the streets shouting that word at the top of their lungs.  Well, this is what is happening; 72% of the world is dying.  They are living their lives without faith in Christ, many of them never even having heard His saving name, the name of Jesus of Nazareth.  Why is it then that we are not running to the ends of the earth to proclaim this name?  A name that brings life, a name that will not make us immortal, but a name that will bring us life eternal.

This very action is what Christ calls us to do.  In his infinite wisdom, the last thing he said to us before ascending back to the Father, was to “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News” (Mark 16:15)  We are all called to be missionaries in one way or another.  We are all called to be witnesses and preachers, to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ, the Word of God.  To proclaim Him and His Good News.  A message which can save lives, billions of lives that hang in the balance.   There are souls to be won and it is up to us to win them for the Lord.  I am called to be a missionary by giving my life.  You may have that same calling in your own life.  The world needs missionaries, and I implore you to listen to the Lord’s call and pray for strength to answer it.  However, you may not be called to give your life for this mission, but you are called to be a missionary nonetheless.  You are called to pray for missionaries and those they are serving… and I do beg you to pray.  You are called to donate to foreign missions if the Lord has blessed you with the ability to do so… and I do beg you to donate.  Millions of people are so desperate in our world today.  If we won’t help them… who will?

As my prayer warrior and donor, my mission is your mission.  The people that I am blessed to help, you are helping.  If you request it, I will send you my personnel newsletter in the mail at least once every two months, with pictures and stories of what your prayers and donations have allowed me to do.  Part of my mission is to give you the opportunity to change the world.  I need your help, those who I am ministering to need your help.  I will be and am so grateful for anything you might be able to give.  This life will be tough, but I am confident that the Lord will provide.  Know that you and your intentions will be prayed for daily by me and all our missionaries.

Father, I pray that those who feel Your call to pray and support the mission You have called me to would be blessed beyond their wildest imaginings by Your grace and blessings.  Please bless me with a steadfast spirit, a joyful heart of love, and a passion for You that is similar to that of the great missionary saints, like St. Francis of Assisi. Amen.

In the abundant and wonderful love of our Savior Jesus Christ,

James Franke – Catholic Lay Missionary

P.S. Please feel free to e-mail me your prayer intentions and glory stories at  This will allow me to send you e-mail updates in addition to my newsletter.



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October 29, 2009

The Call

A boy climbs into a secluded cave in the middle of the Mexican desert. Upon entering the cave, all sound seems to cease, no longer can the trickling stream be heard outside and the animals scurrying around seem to have been made silent. The cool temperature inside the cave is a refreshing refuge from the above a hundred heat of the afternoon sun. Some time passes by as the young man reads some scripture by the edge of the cave where just enough light is entering to make out God’s word. Moving deeper into the mountain the light is gone and the temperature continues to drop. Finding a comfortable place to lay out, the young man relaxes and begins to pray to God. After speaking to God, he quiets his prayer and opens his heart hoping that God will speak to him. All of a sudden, a quiet whisper is heard, “You will be a missionary for me”. The boy sits up quickly, looking around for the cause of the noise. Seeing nothing, he lies back down. Again the voice comes as a whisper, “You will be a missionary for me”. This time the young man realizes that God was speaking; his prayer was heard and is being answered. “Ok” says the young man in the silence of his heart, “I’ll do it”. The whisper comes again, “Say it aloud”. With no one in the cave, no one who can hear, the young man grapples with why he would need to say it aloud. “Say it aloud”, is heard again. The young man sits up, takes a big breath, and says “I will be a missionary for you”. Immediately his heart melts, he is convicted, the Lord has called him to serve, his life will never be the same…

Sounds like a movie doesn’t it? Sounds like an inspirational little anecdote that one might use in a retreat setting or in a vocational video. Where does this story come from you might ask? I am the young man, the cave is located in a desert outside the small Mexican town of General Cepeda, and God called me to be a missionary for him last March. Seven months later I find myself in the middle of the Louisiana Bayou, in the small town of Abbeville being trained as a lay Catholic full time foreign missionary. My name is James Franke and I’m from Rouses Point, NY; a parishioner of St. Patrick’s Parish, the northern most parish of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. Throughout the next few years I hope to share stories of how God is using a humble servant from a small Diocese in upstate New York to share the Gospel and the love of Christ with his sons and daughters throughout the world who may not even know the name of Jesus. Listen to the voice of the Lord; he may not always come with neon signs and bolts of lightning. Often times he will come in a quiet whisper that will be all too easy to miss if we aren’t listening for it. You are all in my prayers and I would like to humbly ask for your prayers as well. God Bless.

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