“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)

Hello fellow children of God! I hope the start of this new year has begun well for you. It surely has for Team 5! We are now back on the road for the second semester and it has truly been an amazing experience so far. We have recently come back from our Christmas break and it was exactly what we all needed to be re-energized and ready to take on another semester. It was so nice to be able to see our families and friends and celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with them!

This semester, most of our team agrees, has been simply unexplainable. Each retreat has been so filled with the Holy Spirit! The youth we have ministered to have been so joy-filled and excited to be on retreat. This has made for awesome small groups and great interactions with the youth in general.

One retreat in particular we had in Zaca Lake with tenth graders was purely amazing. It was a weekend retreat and it was out in the mountains with little cabins for us to stay in. The retreat went so smoothly and we had loads of fun. Starting in the beginning of the retreat, a few of the youth didn’t seem to want to be there, but by the end, almost every single one of them had so much to say about how much the retreat impacted them in many wonderful ways. It was amazing to see how quickly they realized that we are normal human beings who love the faith but also love to just be real with them and have fun! They also discovered what a real relationship with the Lord is like and how God has so many gifts He’s willing to give us, all we have to do is ask.

Some of the youth had very beautiful things to say after the retreat was over, and many mentioned they were sad to see it end and they’d miss our group! Francisco, one of the retreatants said, “It was wonderful. I felt like I got closer to God and the activities were really fun. I wish the retreat would have been longer. This NET Team are great people. They do so much more than teach you about God; they are your friends.” Another retreatant said, “Philip, my small group leader, really changed my life. I am eternally grateful for him, and for allowing me to experience God in a truly different way.” Again another youth from the retreat, Casandra, said, “It was a great experience. It was full of joy and many fun adventures. I really hope we have more retreats like this because I really truly opened my heart out to God. Thank you guys so much!” As you can see, God was truly present in this retreat, in us as a NET team, but also in the youth as well! It brings us so much joy to see how much the Lord is willing to do through what we do but also through the youth we encounter.

So far, Team 5 has done 24 retreats and has ministered to 1,485 youth in these first three and a half weeks of the second semester! It brings me so much joy to share that with you; I cannot wait to see the Lord continue to work in our team to minister to so many more!

In this second semester, along with a new surge of energy in our team, we also have a new opportunity to share what we’re thankful for in our ministry life during team prayer. Our team has been especially grateful for the many wonderful host families we have had and the many that have been very caring for those on our team who have been a bit under the weather recently. We are also grateful for the youth we’ve ministered to, especially those in our small groups. So many youth we’ve encountered have been so sweet, and many have had courage to come to us asking for prayers to be open to letting the Lord work in their life. They have not only been open to allowing us show them the Lord’s love, but they have really been open to letting the Lord work in them. You can see the Lord’s joy beaming from inside so many of the youth. I pray they continue to allow the Lord’s joy to be fully present in their lives; it really inspires us as missionaries to be more docile to His joy in our own lives!

On that joyful note, I cannot wait to see the rest of this semseter unfold! Until then, may the Lord bless you all and may His joy be ever present in your life!

Toodles!

NET Team 5

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