Hello from Team 7 in the Diocese of Mobile, Alabama! Since last we wrote, we have traveled through the entirety of Georgia and Florida, with the exception of Florida’s panhandle, and have reached the southern extremity of our route in Miami before setting our eyes on Alabama. I find that I can best describe these past weeks by borrowing a few lines from my good friend Mr. Dickens:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…
-(Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)
Team 2 has been in the beautiful state of California. We had the blessing of visiting and serving in the Dioceses of Orange and Los Angeles. In our month and a half we have gotten to see most of southern California and are finishing our time in the Diocese of Stockton. Although our time here has been busy we still got to do a lot of fun things together as a team. We had the honor of helping at the 2014 L.A. Religious Education Congress where we got to promote NET while volunteering, and some of our team members got to meet Father Robert Barron who has authored several Catholic books. We also were able to meet Archbishop Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Read more
While visiting home during my first year of college I went rock climbing with a good friend. I had only been a few times and was still learning the basics. I started without a rope and was about ten feet high when things proved more difficult than I expected; I panicked and jumped down. As I landed, my left foot was forced sideways by a rock and was stuck facing inward. At the hospital they popped my foot back into place and put me in a cast. I returned to my college dorm a week later on crutches.
For the next two months I relied heavily on my roommates’ assistance. It took longer to go anywhere and everything was more difficult. It wasn’t long before my grades started to slip and my social life was affected. I fell into despair. Every day was a struggle to get up, get dressed, and go to class. It seemed as though the world was against me. I felt like a prisoner in my own body unable to escape the confines of the dark cell I’d created in my mind. Read more
Exodus 14:14 says “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”
Isaiah 62:6-7 says “…take no rest, and give him no rest.”
The past two weeks, our team has dealt with avid, consistent illness. Out of twelve of us, we had six cases of bronchitis, two cases of strep throat, one case of pneumonia, and one case of food poisoning. In these two weeks, we have had many days where only half our team was able to do retreats. Read more
There was a family that had a beagle. Since they didn’t have a fenced in yard, for the first years of the dog’s life, they would tie it with a long leash to a pole in the middle of the yard. As the years progressed, the dog became very used to the limited freedom and wore a ring in the grass in a perfect circle around the pole.
Every day, the dog would get put in the yard and would pull as far away from the pole as it could, not for the sake of wanting to get away, but doing what beagles were created for: hunting, roaming, smelling, etc. Sure, it did all it could, but its ability to do so was limited to how far the leash would allow it to go. Read more
Hey there from St. Louis! Team 10 is still chugging away. A lot has happened during the month affectionately known on NET as March Madness. We’re not just talking about b-ball. We’ve hosted several middle school retreats, done fundraisers, visited local schools to talk about NET, and our teammate Charley left for home on March 19th. He’s been battling sickness all year like a valiant, pungent, reindeer king (Frozen reference). But, everyone conceded that his health is most important, and the best decision is home for him. He finished 9 months of service in 7-1/2. He’s still our teammate and beloved brother and an alumnus for both of his years serving with NET. What do you do when life doesn’t go how you want or expected? When you’re really unhappy about a turn of events? How did the apostles and saints rejoice in suffering? Acceptance. Read more
Greetings from Team 4 on the Jersey Shore! We spent all of March hanging out in New Jersey. There have been many adventures that have come from our time here. We have reached milestones as a team and reached out to many young people. We finally made it to our 100th retreat, we had our gas pumped for us for the first time, and in just over two weeks in New Jersey we worked with over 1,000 retreatants and ministered to many more people such as host families, youth ministers and other people we meet along the way. Read more
In the past two months the van of Team 8 has traveled approximately 7,000 miles, crossed state borders 28 times and spent over $200 on tolls all in the process of hosting 23 retreats. At one point, Angela Kuehn made the comment “are we a traveling retreat team or just a traveling team?” Road tripping from Minnesota all the way to Pennsylvania was only the beginning of our second semester missions. Although we’d rather be on retreat with youth, the Lord has blessed us immensely regardless of the hours spent in Martha, our twelve-passenger van. I am willing to bet that there is one glory story to make up for every fifty miles trekked, whether it be on retreat, at host homes, or simply out and about. Read more
Hey everyone! Recently we have been doing a lot of retreats in Catholic schools. We came across many schools whose students were very well catechized and knew a lot about the Catholic faith, but were struggling in living out their faith. Many told us that they didn’t have anyone to look up to who truly lived out their faith and lived for the Lord. But the transformation that we could see in the young people’s hearts during the retreats proved the Lord’s faithfulness and was truly beautiful to witness. Read more
There I was on my first Discipleship Week in Redlands, CA in the summer of 1996. My pastor sent me to experience D-Week and tell him all about it. I didn’t know what to expect. One particular skit that the staff put on was a moment that I will always remember. After a genuine amount of goofiness, costumes and pirate accents, they brought out a treasure chest. Some “pirate” had the brilliant idea to open up the chest, and to my amazement, the treasure was not gold, but a crucifix! I wept with remorse that I had not realized this before, and with delight that I had found what I had been looking for. Things started to click in my heart in that singular moment when that pirate – Francis – lifted the cross out of the chest. Read more
I want to be a saint.
We probably catch ourselves saying this phrase often. But do we know what it means? Do we have practical ideas of how we are going to live that calling out? Are we saying it because we really mean it? Are we saying it because it sounds cool or is a common statement in your youth group or circle of friends?
To be a saint – what does that REALLY mean? Read more
Greetings from Team 7 in the diocese of Venice, Florida. Since last we wrote we have been traveling through North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. After having a couple of retreat cancellations due to winter weather while in Maryland and Virginia, we were heartened to see the first daffodils of spring blooming in Richmond, Virginia, and with warmer weather comes a renewal of spirits for the team after months of traveling through cold and gray. Read more
Team Two spent a week and a half in the Diocese of Austin. Where we were lucky enough to meet Chris’ family along with his friends from Texas A&M. We spent most of our time in Waco, College Station and Bryan, Texas. We expected the cold, that seemed to follow us from Kansas to Louisiana, to stay in Louisiana; but to our shock the cold also seemed to follow us to Texas. Despite the cold and a light flurry of snow, our time in Texas was unforgettable. There was a standoff of fast food aficionados, Texans’ “Whataburger” compared to the Californians’ favorite, “In-N-Out Burger,” although it was a split decision, this Californian is going to have to vote for the latter. We also had the immense blessing of meeting fellow NET Missionaries: Zach Blaszak (Team 11), Hollis Yarborough (Team 11), and Emily Nagel’s (Team 12) families in our journeys through Louisiana and Texas! Our time in the south seemed all too short before we headed west to the golden state of California. Read more
“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Happy March Madness from team 4! As we are making our way into the middle of the second half, I would like to introduce you all to part of the team. It has been an incredible journey so far. We have all grown and changed as people, but we have become more of the children God originally intended for us to be. As we are all growing we want to encourage you to look at all the change you have undergone in this year so far and to thank God for how He has brought you here. Road life is crazy like always and it just seems to become busier and busier the farther into the year we are getting. There are retreats to be put on, stories to share and relationships to strengthen. Even though we are not a basketball team you could consider us a part of all the March madness! Whenever this madness becomes a part of your own life, remember to look to Joshua 1:9 because God will always be with you and He will never leave you to fight this battle alone. Read more
Since January, our team has been striving to memorize and pray through specific scripture verses together. This week’s verses is :
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” –Hebrews 10:24-25
When I was personally praying about this verse and how to apply it to my life and the team, I thought a lot about my family. I recognized that as a Catholic family, we needed to stick together and encourage each other to live out the faith. I couldn’t help but think about my NET team, and how we constantly need to challenge one another to love and do good works. To strive to be holy everyday. Even just waking up and seeing the women on my team praying every morning makes me want to grow closer to God. I can hardly begin to express how much I absolutely love my team. Since I admire my team so much, here is a little bit about each of the members of Team 1. Read more