Mark and I were lucky to belong to a parish in Beaverton, OR, with an active Young Adult Ministry.  That’s how we met – playing weekly volleyball with the young adult group.  We also volunteered together in Youth Ministry, sharing our faith with High School teens in Confirmation Prep and later Middle School Ministry.  We were very active in our parish life, but after getting married, we started looking for another option of sharing our faith with a focus on married life.  Our beloved Young Adult Group was mostly single friends with different needs and goals, so we asked other couples at our parish what they did to nourish their marriages. Thankfully, several pointed us to this international, but just growing locally in Oregon, “well-kept secret” called Teams of Our Lady.

We invited a few other married friends to “get informed” with us and shared info about Teams on our Young Adult Ministry website seeking other marrieds like ourselves.  That was the beginning of Portland Team 5.  Funny thing is that of the seven original couples, only one of us had a baby.  Within the year, four of us were expecting.  We shared our new parenting journey as well as sadly, our grief from losing our first child (stillborn). After 12 years in Teams, and five kids later, we are still finding nourishment and support in sharing our Catholic marriage journey with other couples in Teams. Sure, the monthly childcare can be a challenge, but it’s worth it.  And our Teams calendar is very family-oriented.  We include our children in our annual Christmas Party and Summer Swim BBQ, and we commit to the second Sunday of the month being our normal Teams meeting, so it’s easy to plan ahead.  We also look at our monthly Teams meeting as an afternoon “date-night” (with encouraging adult conversation/meal/and prayer). What married couple with young kids doesn’t appreciate that on a regular basis?! ;)

~ Julie & Mark Wagner, Team Portland 05

We first learned about TOOL from Rob & Sharla Walsh at our church picnic the year we joined St. Francis parish. We were very interested right away. It took a while to form a group but now we have completed Book 1 and are into Book 2.  Our group consists mostly of families with children of similar ages from our parish at St. Francis.

The material from Fr. Caffarel has been exceptional. As a group of young families with busy schedules we do struggle at times with conflicts with our meeting dates/times but this second year we are becoming more consistent in our meetings. The more of a groove we find the more we get out of it. We have developed great friendships and the reflection on our marriage has been so good for us. While at times it can be challenging to find the time to put into the readings/writings/endeavors we know how much we get from them and how inspiring it is for us. Like anything with great reward it takes the time and effort. There is so much to derive from this material that we feel so blessed to have found TOOL. Fr. Caffarel really developed something beautiful we hope continues to spread and grow!

~ Mike & Lucynda Choi

Rob and Sharla Walsh met in Beaverton, Oregon in 1967 and were married January 11, 1969. Rob was raised Catholic and Sharla converted in 1977 to the faith.

We have had 6 children, four girls and two boys. Our eldest left us at the age of 12 1/2 years.

In 1996, a couple came from Bogota, Colombia to our parish on a student visa. One Sunday morning after Mass, we invited the couple to our home for coffee and they told us about the Teams of Our Lady. They asked if we wanted to start a Team in Oregon. We said sure, so in 1997 we began our first Team. Our Team life has grown from there.

We love the Teams, and look forward to giving whatever time God wants to give us to continue to serve the Movement.

We are presently transcribing the letters from Fr. H. Caffarel’s book, being present to God; Letters on Prayer from book form to electronic form. We are serving as Western Unites States Provincial Couple.

~ Rob & Sharla Walsh