By Maria Asprer
Before our family migrated to Canada in February 2006, we were in the Financial business for 10 years with Prulife UK. Prior to having our own business; Rene with a Bachelors in Commerce Major in Accounting, worked as a Bank Manager. On the other hand, I completed Bachelor’s in Psychology Major in Industrial Psychology & Guidance and Counseling and worked in HR as a Human Resource Manager.
We are proud stewards/parents of 3 wonderful children: Ralph (24) Angel (20) and Ian (12).
The first 5 years of our married life was very difficult. We adjusted to both our strong personalities and had constant disagreements. The last straw was getting an annulment. This was the time where the Lord intervened by letting one of us humble down and ask for help. This was when we opened our lives to the Community. We joined the Brotherhood for Christian Businessmen and Professionals year 1992 and started to learn how to be a better couple, wife, husband, mother and father to our children. This experiences gave us a bit of preparation on what was in store for us in the future doing pastoral care.
When we opened ourselves to help, life became very good back home. We were blessed in all areas of our lives. We traveled a lot due to our business and saw the world. With all our blessings we never forgot about giving back by serving in the community as well as actively doing charity work with families belonging to the poorest of the poor. Everything was doing great.
Then we received our Visa to Canada. We never thought that we were destined to come to Canada. Our application for Immigration took 7 years to process and when we finally got our visa, we informed the agency handling our papers that we were no longer interested to immigrate.
Little did we know that the Lord had other plans for us. When our Visa came December 2005, we were not sure what to do. We did not want to leave our comfortable life back home. We prayed for discernment and guidance every day. We received a couple of vivid confirmations through prayer and scripture and it made us feel deep in our hearts that the Lord really wanted us to make the move. This meant letting go of everything, all the comfort and start anew in a strange land. It all started with Him asking for our “Yes”, then “Having Faith in Him” then finally, “Go to a place where there is no path and leave a trail.”
The last request we asked from God was to have our property sold between December 26, 2005 to January 31, 2005 which was not easy at that time. We sold our property worth millions by December 28…. in 2 days and in cash. The Lord’s power was manifested in such majesty that we cannot explain.
When we arrived in Canada February 18, 2006, adjusting from 3 helpers to a life of doing everything ourselves was a challenge. One good thing though was we did things together as a family. Each of us had our role to play and chore to do. Like many other immigrants, our initial struggle in Canada was going back to basic, being humble in looking for a job, being rejected for being overqualified, worrying about our parents back home who were dependent on us and many more.
In prayer we asked for strength, perseverance and patience. We know that God is a God of Order, things take place when it is His time…and not our time.
Despite struggling with settling in a new country, we decided to serve the Lord first and He led us to the right people. We serve in the Light of Jesus Community and our service is directed to the “Unchurch”. The mandate of the community is to serve and reach out to people who are outside the church and just do the best we can. We do Pastoral Care to those who need us as well as help in the Training and Development of the Community.
This allowed us to help various couples who needed some kind of help in improving their marriage. All we did was listen and just share our own struggles as a married couple and then let God do the rest. Our blessing and fulfillment came when until now, we see these couples having a better married life. This then became part of our ministry, if there is a need and an opportunity, we are out there to help in whatever way we can.
God was true to His promise and made things right for us. Rene landed a job as an Accountant in one of the Law Firms in Calgary while I got hired as a Senior Recruiting Specialist in one of the HR & Management Consulting Firms based in Calgary but whose head office was based in Ilinois. Both of us got hired into our respective fields within 2 months of our arrival….all because of God’s grace and promise.
As we started to build our lives here in Canada, we longed for our charity work back home with poor families specially their children and the orphanage that we supported. God was blessing us always and we felt the need to give back that blessing to people who will need it the most. It was then that we were led into Foster Care. We learned through training that the children will be living with us and will be part of our Family. We felt that it was a good way of touching the lives of the kids we foster and hopefully, our presence in their lives will make a mark that will have an impact in their lives forever. We already had 2 teenagers in our care who asked to be baptized in the Catholic faith and were given the permission of their biological Mom.
As of today, while working in our respective careers and businesses, serve in the community, we have managed to foster many children in need for over 9 years now. Aside from our 3 Biological children, we currently have 3 great kids in our care now, one of whom we are in the process of making a permanent part of our family.
At present, Rene is a licensed Realtor and I work for a College doing Career Counseling, Student and Community Relations. We are also back in the Financial Industry, directed towards educating others regarding the value of saving and setting aside a part of God’s blessings through our work and securing a better future for our families.
We are not perfect and never have been. We go through the same struggles of raising kids in Canada, having couple disagreements, and dealing with various issues affecting our lives here. We still worry, feel disappointed, get angry, get impatient, complain like normal people do. Even if we have learned to better cope with issues, we continue to strive to be better and to improve every day by learning through our experiences.
- Be open to God’s leading since our plans may not be His plans for us. No matter how rough or difficult the path may be, He will always find a way for us.
- Our lives are not only for us to live but we are meant to be of service to others.
- Giving love and care has no boundaries.
- As you give unconditionally, so shall you receive.
- There is abundance of gifts in this world, all we need to do is Ask.