This semester has been very busy for us but I hope you enjoy the large amount of updating information about NET Team 3!
Our team is still enjoying California and has finished serving the Diocese of Orange, traveled through San Diego and is now serving the Diocese of Los Angeles in Pasadena and Downey! We have been working hard and the retreats have been challenging but so beautiful.
In San Diego we went to a Catholic School, St. Michael’s in Poway. It was such a joy to put on a retreat for the middle school students there because they were very rambunctious, yet very fun. We then went to Pasadena in LA where we served two retreats at St. Andrew’s. This parish had a wonderful Hispanic community who were so amazing and loving. We were challenged to relate with the young people on retreat because of some culture differences, but it was cool to see our team grow in that part of our ministry.
That next week we then went to Downey in LA where we served three retreats at St. Mathias Catholic High School, an all-girl school. These retreats were really different because there were only lady retreatants, so talks, dramas and even mingling with them had to be adjusted. It brought a different environment with no young men around except for the men on our team. It was a very beautiful challenge because the men on our team learned a little bit more on how to relate with young women. By the men on our team caring for the young women in a holy way, that was such a great message for the ladies to be reminded that there are good men out there and that they do deserve to be loved in a respectful and honoring way. We had the opportunity to do a drama called “Pieces,” which is a Women’s Session drama that really speaks to a woman’s heart. It ends with Jesus changing the lies that the main character believes to truth by turning over signs that show “MY PRECIOUS DAUGHTER, YOU ARE LOVED!” It was beautiful to watch some of those girls realize how loved they are and finally be open to that love. Through all of this, it was a great reminder how many people don’t know the truth of how they are loved by God. It is incredible to see how people are truly changed by love when they realize how loved they are.
In team life everything has been going well and has only gotten better. We are truly becoming a very close family. There has been a lot of honoring going on with us and it has been so life giving. March 7th was International Women Appreciation Day and our Female Team Leader, Anney Brandt, honored all the women on the team that day. She enjoyed the surprised looks on their faces when they found out that they were doing a women’s praise and worship session instead of team prayer. During that time Anney led them straight to Jesus’ heart by giving them time to be loved by Him through worship, being prayed over, two yellow roses, a scripture verse and a formal sisterhood prayer, all done together. It was extremely healing and put all of the sister’s hearts at rest because they were confident in knowing that they were loved by God and by Anney.
The sisterhood later honored the brotherhood by surprising them with an awesome obstacle course which included obstacles that were related to the manly virtues that they had been praying with all semester. Each station was a little comical as well; they had to do things like help an “old lady” (Nichole) cross the street, beat a piñata, and even got foam swords and proceeded to “battle” each other by stabbing each other with them. The obstacle course ended with them going to a chapel where the sisters gave them a little medal for being amazing warriors for them and for God. After that was an awesome prayer time where the sisters related the brothers to Saint Joseph because he led Mary and Jesus, and the brothers are helping lead the sisters to Heaven. The sisters told the brothers to take a peaceful time of prayer and allow God to tell them that He is proud of them, and they prayed over them. It was amazing!
So even though retreats may be challenging – through different age groups, different culture or different gender, and even though team life may be challenging – disagreements, tiredness or not easily relating to one another…no matter what age or circumstance we all need love. By all of this love, from being honored by our brothers and sisters or by us coming and making a difference in someone else’s community, through this genuine Christ-like love, it truly unifies us as the body of Christ and inspires us to be the best version of ourselves. What amazing things can happen when you love, are changed by love, and by knowing Love Himself. Praise the Lord!
Keep praying for us as we assure you we are praying for you! YOU ARE LOVED! Thank you for everything!
Our Lady of Guadalupe…PRAY FOR US!