He is Brazilian, she is French, their children were born in Uruguay, the land where they currently live. This is the missionary and intercultural family of Ronayb and Gaelle Fernandes, consecrated in the Community of Life in the Shalom Vocation. The couple chose to be different and swim against current trends. In an interview with comshalom, they tell how this experience has been and what impact this choice has on their children’s lives.
United by mission
Ronayb was already on a mission in Uruguay in 2010. It was in that year that, in a retreat in Fortaleza – CE, he met Gaelle, the first French missionary from the Community of Life. During the event, they became close and began to share about the experience of evangelization at the international level. At the end of the meeting, Ronayb wished to continue talking to his new friend. For this, he asked her to send some materials from the retreat by email. Promptly, she wanted to print to deliver, however, the interest he really wants was getting to know her better.
The initiative worked. Soon, the two began to share about life and mission. Over time, God raised something more in their relationship. Then, they began the process of discernment and later began to follow a more profound path of friendship, which in the Community is called “walking”. In late 2011, they started dating. During that time, Divine Providence took care of each meeting, since Ronayb was still on a mission in Uruguay and Gaelle lived in Aquiraz – CE. They continued to grow in the dating experience, in self-knowledge and also in life planning until they got married in a beautiful ceremony on May 10, 2014.
Courage to be different
“To be different in missionary life is to be in the hands of God, it is to trust that He has the best for us,” explains Ronayb. The consecrated person defines his family as intercultural, as this is where Brazilian, French and Uruguayan customs meet. In addition, as missionaries, they take on the lifestyle of the Shalom Vocation.
With this repertoire and with the certainty that God always wants to give the best to their children, Ronayb and Gaelle evangelize in the land where they are on a mission. The couple shares that the way they educate children, deal with family problems and live day to day is a fruitful testimony for many families.
However, the consecrated reports that there are also questions from some people who do not understand the missionary reality of their family. But, in the midst of all this, the couple lives the experience of being light to the people and this generates even more courage to continue swimming against the water stream. So, as a family, they can be prophecy to the world, especially in Uruguay.
Everything comes from God
Mornings of prayer, apostolates, domestic activities, daily mass, community activities … Even with an intense routine, the couple strives to give priority to the life of prayer. “We need to have moments of prayer as a couple, because our children will reap what we transmit”, comments Ronayb. They have two boys and will soon have a girl. Since childhood, the boys come to know the Divine Providence that acts in the life of the family. “We always try to tell them that everything comes from God, that everything belongs to Him”.
In addition, there is another lesson that children learn early on: “We always bless ourselves before bed and we bless our children and teach them to bless us too”. This movement is very important, as it conveys a fundamental value for children. The couple’s desire, moreover, is that their children are increasingly impregnated by the Gospel, by gratitude, by solidarity. And all this they learn at home, in being with their parents, in listening attentively to each other, in true dialogue.
Translation: Beatriz Duarte