Deacon Pat's Books

Deacon Pat's Books
The sale of our books help support our mission / projects. Click on any of the book photos above to see our book site.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

WHY did we move to Idaho?

A few friends have asked why we moved to Idaho, this Meridian/Boise/Caldwell area of Idaho, etc., and I'm hoping and praying I can answer the long and short of these questions -- actually, short & long.

And to be honest, I'm hoping this will help me process 
this move more deeply in my own head & heart.

First of all, I must warn y'all that hubby is the writer in our family. 
I. AM. NOT. 
You've been warned. I type like I talk... Incomplete sentences. Incomplete thoughts. Rambling. Again, you've been warned!


Basically we had some family needs that we discerned we should come back to the USA to help out with. 

Despite having to cut our time short, we are so thankful for the 8+ months of  a much-needed sabbattical for hubby.

We were beyond blessed with 8ish months in Guatemala which I hope to share more about in future posts. I also believe that it's much easier to discern God's gifts and blessings of mission (or retreat, etc.) once you're out of that possibly now I'll be able to add to my mission journaling and share some of God's blessings and my struggles with you all.


1. We discerned the best way to come back to the USA & really listen/understand where & what the Lord wanted of our ministry would be for hubby to work temporary travel-nursing assigments in various states for approximately 13 weeks at a time. Our plan.
2. That never came to be. Instead hubby ended up with a permanent full-time job in Caldwell, Idaho. Wanna make God laugh? Just tell Him your plans!
     a) One major perk for hubby is he'll work 3 days weekly and have 4 days for hiking, fishing, etc., which was a top goal of his for employment post-sabbattical.
    b) We are a one-day driving distance to our family back in California & OLM family & friends.
3. Pat's job is in Caldwell, but we rented an apartment in Meridian which is the town between Caldwell & Boise (sorta). Hubby will have an adjustment of having a commute to/from work of approximately 20 minutes & opposite traffic, thankfully. But I'm sure on the non-rainy days he'll be loving the commute on his new, big Yahama Stratoliner motorcycle. In Redding he drove a whopping four (4) miles, maybe.

We have not been here long enough, so we don't know much about the area yet.

It is odd judging an area after living in Guatemala for 8 months -- in both a positive and a negative way.

Compared to the pace of life we had in Northern CA, the pace here is a lot slower, which is exactly what we wanted.

However, having lived in such a beautiful, peaceful pace in Guatemala I must admit, I'm still a little overwhelmed at the pace of life here, and everywhere in the US.

The people we have met here so far, many of them also escapees of California (LOL), have been very kind, and a lot like Guatemala, because the pace is slower they have --and take-- the time to talk with you.

It has been suggested that we rid ourselves as quickly as possible of our CA plates and IDs cuz not all Idahoans are pleased with Californians moving in here in droves. I'm debating telling people I'm from Guatemala. HA HA. Just kidding.

Caldwell's population is approximately 48,000 -- a lot less than Redding.
Meridian the population is about 75,000 -- a little less than Redding -- is still a little bigger than we want for the future, but it's a great location for now.
Boise's population is a little over 2x's Redding.


Here's how our steps of discerning/deciding where to move after Guatemala.
You may or may not know that before leaving on mission, we sold our house and most of our belongings -- so as not to have to pay for storage, not to have to move them, AND MAINLY so that we could minimize our possessions as part of our decision to simplifing our lives.
Before we left California for our mission year we knew that we wanted to live in another state than California for a few reasons.
1) Less expensive cost of living
2) Slower-paced life
3) Less hot weather than Redding (but Liz was hoping for not as much snow as North Dakota)

Discerning from Guatemala where to move, and discerning in a short amount of time due to our need to return somewhat quickly.
Funny story...
We discerned that the best option back in the USA would be for hubby to work "Travel Registered Nursing" jobs -- this would allow us to spend approximately13 weeks in each state, and while there we could discern if this was/was not the state God might be calling us.
However, we've all heard the saying 
"If you want to make God laugh just tell Him 'your' plans."  

This was true with our discerment -- 
we discerned, we decided. 
...yet this temporary travel nursing job was not happening 
God's plans, possibly? I guess we'll see. 

Beause of a major delay in RN paperwork processing for hubby's 13-week nursing assignment in Washington State that particular job option could not happen.
Hmmm. Now what? much for our *want* of getting to temporarily live in a town to get a sense of whether or not this is truly God's will.
Thanks, Lord, another lesson in trust, detachment, surrender. Yippee :-) .

Yet, at the very same time a DIFFERENT JOB for hubby came up in the Caldwell/Boise/Meridian area. God's plan? Possibly!
* This job was *not* temporary -- as we had discerned would be a great way to decide where to live without major committment.
* This job seemed like a great fit for hubby's work 'wish list' after this past nearly-year of sabbattical for a few reasons:
     a) Three 12-hour shifts weekly (you get the drift, 4 days off work weekly! Hey he worked hard for many years, he deserves this!)
     b) Non-management (after 15 years of Director of Nursing for a 99-bed locked psych facility he was ready for a change).
Well, it seems this *might* be where the Lord is calling us, so we prayed & agreed, "Okay we'll go." Blindly trusting. Thankfully, though full of Christ's peace.

And as for the area of this new job, it's in Caldwell, Idaho, which is about 20-30 minutes from Boise.
1) When in Guatemala living and witnessing the beauty of their family closeness, we realized that although we may *want* to live in any state, it might be a better choice for us to move within a day's driving distance from family (my dad, my oldest daughter, and Pat's 5 brothers) so the Boise area was an option on our list of possibilities.
(Side note for those of you who know my spirituality at all... 
Looking for jobs & housing near the CFRs defaulted 
to looking for our new home city/state
within driving distance to family. That was huge for me!!)

2) Caldwell is a smaller town, smaller than where we lived in Redding, CA, and a smaller town was definitely something we wanted.

3) Caldwell is close enough to Boise for the 'extras' one might want/need from a city...we've also found out that it's next to Meridian -- which is the city between Caldwell and Boise, and it's also said to be the fastest growing city in Idaho (all those darn Californian's heading up here! LOL)

4) This area has an abundance of outdoor activities and possibilities for us to explore, especially hubby who is now hiking 10 miles daily or as many days per week as he can.

5) We decided to rent for our first year of living in this area, and due to a couple reasons we ended up renting in Meridian -- close to Caldwell. TBH, we hope to buy a place on the outside of Caldwell where we can have a little property. 
But as with all things, we'll see if that's God's plans for us or not.

On the diaconate & ministry side of our lives this move to the Treasure Valley area has a couple funny stories.  My kids often tease me because when things happen, I will often jokingly say, "It's a sign from God!!"

While in Guatemala still but realizing our plans were changing from 'temporary' to 'permanent' I began checking out the local Catholic church websites
-- uuuhhhmm Pastors,
it's a really important tool you should utilize & update
(and if you'd like a website quote, I have an excellent recommendation
for your website just comment & ask or email me).
So the first parish I look at is, of course, Caldwell. I was VERY IMPRESSED with their website, the content (faithfully Catholic), current, active, and I even noticed they had a procession (something Guatemala has forever imprinted on my heart).

One thing that I tend to look at about a parish is how often the Sacrament of Confession is offered, and Our Lady of the Valley in Caldwell has three, yes 3, separate days per week that Confession is offered. That was definitely a step in the right direction for me.

Secondly, in looking at the website of OLV I realized there are Masses in English AND Spanish!! This is good for us not only for us to, God-willing maintain and hopefully improve upon our 8 months of immersion Spanish speaking, but also because serving in the Spanish-speaking community had been such a beautiful part of our parish life back at OLM.

So after driving our belongings from storage in Texas to Idaho, we had 3 days here to: 
(yes, when leaving for Guatemala, we had thought
we would be living in Texas after Guatemala)

   a) get Pat in for his pre-employment physical, medical tests, etc;
   b) rent an apartment;
   c) order furniture -- cuz remember we sold all of ours in CA??
   -- and
   d) we invited the Caldwell pastor out for a meal to talk with him to see if he even had a desire or need for another permanent deacon.

It is *NOT* the choice of the deacon where he will serve his ordained ministry. He is given 'faculties' and assignment by his Bishop. We felt very blessed after meeting with the pastor of Caldwell's Catholic church. It felt like a nice fit. Mass there was wonderful. Very reverent. Such a joyful pastor.

Moving dioceses requires a little work on the part of the deacon.

The way it works for Catholic Permanent Deacons 
-- this is my understanding & paraphrasing ONLY, don't quote me!! ;-).

Permanent Deacons are given 'faculties' by their Bishop. If/when the deacon moves to another diocese they must receive both permission from their current Bishop to 'take the faculties' to another diocese (i.e. that the deacon is in fact in "good standing"),
but also the Bishop of the new area must approve receiving the new deacon and granting the deacon faculties in the new diocese.

The ultimate decision of which parish hubby will be assigned to is up to the Bishop of Boise (the entire state of Idaho is in the one diocese).
**We are just now beginning this process, 
so your prayers are greatly appreciated! 

These were our thoughts and experiences when moving to Idaho...
As for now, we're just trying to follow what we believe is God's will, and we'll continue to trust as we follow this ride to wherever He is calling us.

One thing I know for sure...
We don't have all the answers, 
we're just doing our best to make 
the most out of this new stage of our lives. 
Prayers much appreciated!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. =)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

We Are Back In The USA!

After 8 months on Mission in Guatemala we are now back in the USA!

Liz and I have returned to the USA after a wonderful time in Guatemala. Our "Mission Year" was cut a little short for a few reasons, but with happy and sad hearts we are back. We are sad to leave our family and friends in Guatemala, but we are happy and excited for the new opportunity and see where God will use us next

I have accepted a nursing position as the Assessment / Referral Nurse for the behavioral health unit at West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell, Idaho, and we will be moving there in a few days.

We are currently driving across the US. We landed in San Antonio, TX, and after visiting our son, Sean, we are making our way toward Idaho.

After finding a home in Caldwell we will make a short visit to California and then return to Idaho to begin establishing our new lives. We are experiencing a little culture shock but are looking forward to Idaho and especially the parish which has a Spanish Speaking population. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

New Bilingual Children's Books

I am so excited to introduce these bilingual (English / Spanish) children's books about two beautiful Guatemalan girls. This book describes the life of Isabelita, a 6 year old, and highlights her life and activities.

This is a book about Nené, a feisty and active 4 year old. 

The books are written in English and Spanish and are perfect for children ages 4-8. 

The books are being published at the time of this post and will be available on Amazon as print books and also ebooks. The funds raised by the books will be given 100% for the education of the girls. Isabelita would like to become a teacher like her Grandfather, and Nené states that she wants to be a dentist.

Please visit my book site (Click Here) to order the books.

I anticipate the books will be ready to order by April 15, 2016.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Holy Week in San Lucas Tolimán was beyond amazing.

This is our Friend Father Victor, Priest of the local Parish

Holy week in San Lucas Tolimán was something I had never experienced. First of all, almost the entire town takes the week off work to prepare and participate in the celebrations. There are prayer services, Adoration, Masses, processions, celebrations, etc. 

 This is my friend Goyita and her daughter in Mass.

I am so often touched deeply by the sincere prayers and faith of the people here. I have come to believe that it is due to their difficult life circumstances and the little available opportunity that draws them closer to God. They truly rely on God for their daily needs.

Here is a short video from Holy Thursday.

On Good Friday the entire town began to make carpets of flowers in anticipation for the evening's processession. I have never witnessed an entire town working together on a single project like this. Here is a short video.

What a wonderful experience both Liz and I had. 

Have a wonderful Easter Season! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Amigos Del Profe Beto (Friends of Professor Beto)

Here is a screenshot of our new webpage for the new Education Program in the small pueblo of Godinez just outside of San Lucas Tolimán. If you have a minute please check it out at

We are so excited about this program not only for what it can do, but why it is being done. Here is a short summary of the program.

The Amigos Del Profe Beto (Friends of Professor Beto) is a program developed from the founder and director of the small mountain school located in Godinez. 15 years ago Professor Beto was asked by the community to establish a secondary school since the community did not have one. At the time education stopped at the age of 11 years. With nothing more than a promise to help by the poor local farmers, Professor Beto did indeed start the school which now educates 115 students. This program (Amigos Del Profe Beto) is a dream of Professor Beto's to now take the school to another level and begin to change the lives of the children.

The problem – Godinez is a small isolated town saturated with poverty. The climate is very dry and the earth is problematic for growing essential foods. Many of the fathers have left for the United States, France, and Switzerland to find employment with the idea of sending money back home. The reality is that many of those fathers have abandoned their Guatemalan families and have left over 70% of the children fatherless. You can imagine the impact on the children not having a father, being abandoned, and without monetary contribution from the father. Subsequently many of the children have turned to using drugs and alcohol, joining gangs, and partaking in prostitution to cope and deal with their harsh situations. 

The school system – The school in Godinez is directed by Professor Beto, who also teaches, and it has four additional teachers. The government provides enough funds to employ the five teachers with very low salaries and directs the curriculum to only include the bare basics. There is no possibility for instruction in music, voice, art, physical education, or language (English).

Knowing the community intimately, Professor Beto has discerned that the students lack distraction in their lives, distraction that can come from the Arts and physical education. The Guatemalan people are innately talented and creative but without fostering such skills in their lives they are lacking the joy, inspiration, creativity, and accomplishment that can come from enjoying instruction and participation in such activities. Professor Beto deeply feels that by offering classes and instruction in the Arts, physical education, and English, it will not only offer the much needed distraction, but will motivate them toward personal accomplishments and not toward mal and destructive behaviors. In addition, by learning English, which the students do desire to learn if given the opportunity, allows a world of opportunity to open up for them.

After much research and investigation Professor Beto has drafted a comprehensive program (see "The Project's Details") that will change the lives of the students. The program will employ four teachers: Music and Singing, Vocational Training, English, and Physical Education. The cost to implement the comprehensive program will be approximately $890 a month ($10,600 a year). This is a cost that the government will not contribute toward since it is considered in addition to basic education here in Guatemala. Knowing that this is quite a large sum of money, Professor Beto was hoping to have numerous sponsors contributing at $10 a month or more.

This is not just a charity program focusing on assisting with the temporary needs of a community, but rather an investment in changing the lives of many and providing hope and inspiration to those in most need. This program will impact future generations and has the potential to directly alter the culture of a hurting community profoundly.

Thank you for taking the time to read and reflect on the program “Amigos del Profe Beto / Friends of Profe Beto.”

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Family is Everything

There are so many distractions, mixed messages, and trials in life; yet, it is family, love, and our relationships that mean everything, especially in God's eyes. Looking for fulfillment, mend the family. :)

The Start of the School Nutrition Program - "Food For Life"

After many months of planning and with the sponsorship of "Little Man Ice Cream" from Denver, Colorado, the "Food For Life" School nutrition program began on Saint Patrick's Day.

Here is Beto Velásquez the founder of the mountain school along with some of his students.

Rut Maria Velásquez - The Program Director "Food For Life"

Thank You "Little Man Ice Cream" for your sponsorship.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Kenzie visits Guatemala

Our daughter Mackenzie left for Loyola University in Chicago in August and then we set out to Guatemala. We had not seen her, except for video chats, for 7 months. Way too long! However, she came to Guatemala for her spring break and we had such a wonderful time. 

She took a lot of pictures and shared them with her friends via social media and she shared, "My friends said they had no idea that I was  going to paradise. They also asked, 'your parents must be rich to live there.' I told them that it is quite the opposite that you guys are missionaries." I laughed for almost a minute. So true!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Amigos del Profe Beto (A Wonderful School Program)

“Amigos del Profe Beto”
(Friends of Professor Beto)


1.        BRIEF HISTORY:

Godínez is a village in the municipality of San Andrés Semetabaj, Sololá, which is located 110 Km. from Guatemala City, with the height of 1,600 ms/nm. The weather is cold. Its population is approximately 90% Kaqchikel. The number of inhabitants is 750 people and has surrounding communities.

     In 1999 in Godínez, el Instituto Nacional de Educación Básica de Telesecundaria was founded. It is the product of a dream, bringing education to where it has never existed; a community of very few economic resources and little access to transportation that now possess a place where their young people can be educated and are eligible for a high-level public education.

This educational project was born from the efforts of Professor Austreberto Velásquez Díaz, also known as El Profe Beto, who continues to travel every day in bus, leaving at 6:00 am from his town to be able to get to the town of Godínez by 7:00 am to teach students.

Before 1999 there was no secondary education in the rural areas, this level of education was only found in urban areas and large towns that are many kilometers away places where their economic situation prevented them from going.

2.        WHO WE ARE:

El Instituto Nacional de Educación Básica de Telesecundaria is made up of students who are between the ages of 12 and 15. The student body consists of 115 enrolled students and 5 teachers for the year 2016.


It has been 16 years since the creation of this education center. Today the school provides education for 15 communities in other municipalities around Lake Atitlán. We have worked side by side with the parents of the families, the students, and the teachers to get financial assistance for this institute to function and to give the students and integral education.

We are aware that the betterment of the community can only be obtained through EDUCATION. This can lead the community to intellectual, economic, and social development; it gives them a better vision of life, and they can discover their abilities, dreams, and talents. The young people have the intellectual potential; theyre only lacking direction and guidance. This program allows them to discover those talents in the arts, in sports, in the practice of a foreign language (English), and to get to know who they are as a person; to achieve this we need specialized teachers to work with the students.

Our students are from rural areas; with very little opportunities to enroll in schools of music, sports, arts, or English. In order to do so they would have to travel far away and pay for local housing, food, school, and travel costs, etc. Naturally a family with a father who is an agricultural worker cannot produce more than the daily sustenance especially with the droughts, contamination from chemicals, corruption, diseases, etc., and an education of the arts and physical education is unreachable.  However, we have an idea, a plan.


Born from the need to give young people a sense of belonging, to seek to grow as people and maintain their identities in this globalized world, this project seeks to use the students minds for something constructive with wholesome entertainment that allows the development of their skills and capabilities.

For this reason we are looking for people with generous hearts that can help by contributing even $10.00 monthly to pay the salaries of 4 teachers who collaborate with us, working in practical areas that el Ministerio de Educación Nacional does not cover, these areas are:

1.1.         Music & Singing
1.2.        English
1.3.        Vocational Guidance
1.4.        Physical

The project Amigos del Profe Beto seeks to mitigate in part the struggles of parents and their children who have to move to the capital to receive a comprehensive education; it seeks to utilize and enhance what the school offers in their own community and encourage the discovery of talents, the development of values, and expand knowledge through a new language (English).

This program benefits the young who do not know the world or what lies beyond their communities by covering the areas that the government will not because of the many limitations of public education. We seek to use art to find motivation and a way of life, and learning the English language allows them to meet and communicate with people that come to see the natural wonders that Guatemala has.

5.        MISSION:

Discover talents and develop skills in students, so they can grow in their own culture ensuring a comprehensive growth.

6.        VISION:

Convert el Instituto Nacional de Educación Básica de Telesecundaria into a place where the young people discover art, a new language, & sports: all in their communities and for free; where the student will be the fundamental requirement for this project; seeking to strengthen their skills and talents thus achieving a better standard of living with ethical, civic, and moral values.

7.        OBJECTIVES:

1.1.         General:

Promote the process of a comprehensive secondary education in Godínez; through the inclusion of the arts that allows them to discover talents and maintain their culture.
1.2.   Specifics:

A)      To integrate art so that the youth will be able to discover their physical talents and maintain good health and to stay away from vices and gangs.
B)    To learn the English language to enable them to cover new fields and be competitive.
C)         Maintain the multiculturalism of the indigenous towns.
D)  Schedule activities for beneficiaries / sponsors to get to know our community and the students of the program.

1.     VALUES



All students who are legally registered in the corresponding school year; students who are mostly Kaqchikeles with a desire to excel.


Manage with honesty, fairness, and equity the financial aid received to pay the salaries for the teachers of Physical Education, Music, Singing, English, and Vocational Training.

      -  Always show our gratitude to the Amigos del Profe Beto.
      -  Offer a prayer to Jesus the amigo of our benefactors.


1.1.   Director of the project:

              - Select professional teachers.
              - Provide annual contracts.
              - Prepare the teaching schedule.
              - Suggest cultural events.
              - Develop standards of responsibility.

1.2.  Secretary:

              - Prepare lists of students per level.
              - Develop a record of the grades of the students.
              - Use the cashbook.
              - Payment of the monthly salaries of teachers.
              - Use receipts as sole proof.

1.3. Teachers:

              - Bimonthly planning of educational activities.
              - Deliver bimonthly performance reports to the secretary.
              - Form groups of students to present events.
              - Prepare performance reports for the parents.

1.4.  Parents:

              - Collaborate with teachers for planned activities.
              - Attend regular meetings about academic performance.
              - To support children in cultural events.
              - Visit the teacher when desired.

1.5.  Students:

              - Attend scheduled classes.
              - Always show responsibility and punctuality with the teacher.
              - Gladly demonstrate their skills and talents when required.
              - Be disciplined at all times.


1.1.                 Administrative staff:


1.2.                Staff:

Teacher/ Music and Singing
Teacher/ Vocational Training
Teacher/ English
Teacher/ Physical Education

1.3.                Costs of maintenance:

Buying basketballs, volleyballs, soccer balls, sportswear, & musical instruments.

Buying English Books (copies)


**Please contact Patrick Kearns at if you would like to support this amazing program.**

or donate here

and add that you want your donation for the "Education Program" on the donation site under the comment section.