Family strives to be witness of Christ’s selfless love through everyday actions

Categories: Around the Diocese,Synod,World Meeting of Families

By Katrina Genereux
For The Visitor

“God’s fingerprints were all over it,” said Liz Rongen about how she met her husband, Aaron, when they were both in their mid-30s.

“We married later in life,” Liz said. “As we waited on God in our singlehood, we each tried to be faithful and obedient in that time, making choices that would honor God. We both made decisions to be open to God’s plan for our future vocation.”

Rongen

Aaron and Liz Rongen are pictured in front of their fifth generation homestead near Fertile, Minn., with their three children, John Douglas, Arthur and Mary Cate. Submitted Photo

Although neither was certain about being called to marriage, each took steps to prepare for it. Aaron heard about the group e5 Men, an organization based on Ephesians 5 that encourages men to fast for their wife or future bride, if they are not yet married, and he began fasting. Liz was the only single woman out of a group of 25 in a Bible study that focused on being a Godly wife.

They met at a mission in Jamaica during the summer of 2007.

Aaron was serving as a chaperone for a mission trip with a group of youth from northern Minnesota, and Liz, who was living in Florida at the time, was helping the mission camp director.

“We ended up working together off and on quite a few times that week on projects and began to develop a friendship,” Liz said. They stayed in touch after returning home, and their friendship grew through phone calls that always ended in prayer, said the couple. In the middle of a typical Minnesota winter, Liz visited Aaron and they decided to begin dating.

“We knew this relationship was different from any other we had been involved in,” Liz said. “We were not sure how God was going to orchestrate all the details, but as always, he beautifully did.”

The two were engaged in March 2008, and married later that year.

world-meeting-of-families-philadelphia-2015-logo“God knew all along what his plan was for us, and we were blessed how he chose to honor our commitment to him — not only in marriage but also with the gift of children,” Liz said.

The Rongens lost their first child, Mary Clare, during pregnancy. They are also parents of Arthur, 4; John Douglas, 2, and Mary Cate, 9 months.

The family lives on the Rongen homestead near Fertile, Minn., which has been in Aaron’s family for five generations. Aaron works for Bergeson Nursery and Liz is a stay-at-home mom who, thanks to modern technology, continues working for the restaurant franchise group that employed her in Florida.

“We have sacrificed our time and agendas to make our marriage and our kids our biggest priority in the way we invest our time,” Liz said. According to the couple, church, family prayer, date night, family meals and family play time are the cornerstones that help them live their faith.

“Our experience of the Catholic Church is one that really fosters a spirit of loving those inside and outside the walls of the church,” Liz said. “This has given us the insight on how we can love by doing our part in these areas. For both of us, this was part of how we ended up in Jamaica to serve the people of that country.

“But in our lives now,” she said, “we find our mission to be with those right around us. Our family has made it a priority to get involved with helping organizations that support the pro-life movement along with those that are fostering and enriching the lives of our troubled youth.”

As a family, the Rongens try to serve as witnesses of Christ’s love in the world by being intentional in their prayer, use of time, financial choices and everything they do and say.
“The older two kids already have a love for Jesus and a compassion to pray for others,” Liz said. “What a joy this is for us to see the seeds of their faith starting to take root at such a young age.”

According to Aaron and Liz, the boys’ favorite thing to do for people who need prayers is to sing a song of blessing over them. When they are not able to sing to them in person, they try to do it through video chat, or Aaron records them singing their song and sends it in a text to the person.

The Rongens strive as a family to answer the Lord’s call to love selflessly, despite the obstacles, and live as witnesses of God’s faithfulness to the world through their ordinary, everyday lives.