SPARTANBURG—The coronavirus pandemic has forced many to pause and, in some cases, rethink their lives. The Waldrop family was on that path long before the word “quarantine” entered daily conversations.
Last spring, with the pandemic spreading across the country, the young family of five took a leap of faith and sacrificed everything to God. They are now missionaries with Family Missions Company.
Originally from Moore, Angie, Chris and their three young boys — C.J., 13; John, 11; and Job, 3 — were led to a life serving the Lord after a retreat Chris and Angie attended in Connecticut five years ago. It was hosted by a Catholic priest and a family.
“The family did everything,” Angie said. “They cleaned, they made the beds, they prayed over the retreat. Then, I thought it would be awesome for us to do that.”
The seed was planted. Angie began researching Catholic family missionary groups via the Internet.
“Family Missions Company was the only one I saw, so I called them,” she said. The company linked the Waldrops with the mother of a family that had recently returned from a seven-year mission in the Philippines.
“She was telling us her story and I could see God placing the events in our lives perfectly leading up to that point,” Angie said. “I just started crying.”
The family prayed over their decision while traveling last summer from Spartanburg to Abbeville, La., and the home of Family Missions.
According to its website, Family Missions Company trains and sends lay Catholic families and singles “to serve as evangelists and servants to the poor around the world.”
The Waldrops spent five days in Abbeville, much of it in prayer.
“They were telling us if this is really your calling, you need to know God,” Angie said. They prayed as a family, she said.
“By the end of it, I was ready to go. I was ready to ride this train,” she said, adding that on the drive home from Louisiana, the family was on a “holy high.”
The family continued to pray, asking God and their parish, St. Paul the Apostle in Spartanburg, for guidance. Father Dave Whitman, their pastor, was “very supportive,” Angie said, as was the parish.
A few days later, Chris, who at the time worked at a body shop in Spartanburg, told his wife he had received a sign from God.
“At work I had a place where I would go to pray,” Chris said. “God gave me a sign that no matter where in this world you are, I’m going to take care of you.”
That was all Angie needed to hear. In May and June of this year, in the middle of the pandemic and all its misgivings, the couple sold “everything we had”; their house and furnishings, and their cars.
Earlier this month, they received an acceptance letter from Family Missions. Next month they will return to Abbeville for three months of discipleship training. After that, the Waldrops hope to be approved to travel to Ecuador for Spanish language training.
“That’s probably where we will go, but we just don’t know because of COVID,” Angie said.
Since becoming “homeless” in June, the Waldrops have been staying with relatives when in South Carolina, and with their new, extended family while traveling on mission fundraising tours in Nevada, Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee.
“We saw a variety of families from different religious and economic backgrounds,” Angie said. “We could see how God was in their daily lives.”