“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
People always tell you, “God provides!” or, “God is never outdone in generosity!” and you feel like you have to believe them because it sounds nice so you nod and smile and then go on with your life, afraid to really surrender everything. It’s hard to trust in the provision and generosity of God, because human beings are definitely not like that. So much of how we care for people is conditional. It’s so easy to look at the lives of the saints and think “Well, of course God would do that for them, look how perfect they are,” and then forget that they were just as human as we are.
God always works in our lives. Every. Single. Day. We just forget to look for it.
He speaks in the still small voices of the people that surround us and love us. He gives us grand gestures of his love. He shows his fatherly care by making situations work out with ease when they should have been difficult, and even when we don’t deserve it He gives us miracles.
As a team we decided to share these moments in our lives with you, and give thanks for them. Our hope is that this blog will inspire you to look for God in your life, because He’s there, and if you seek Him with all your heart He will be found by you (Jer. 29:13).
Jesse: We often have “To Be Announced” days. These are a bit of a mess for me, a Team Leader. On the one hand you have to fill in the day so the team is productive. On the other hand, we could still have a retreat. We ended up having a retreat on one particular TBA day. I remember how bitter I was about the retreat. We had to wake up before dawn, but then we arrived and everything changed. By the end of the retreat, my pride embarrassed me. Our contact person for the retreat was so sweet. She explained how much the retreat meant to her and the retreatants. That’s when I realized how incredible is my job. I minister to God’s people and He ministers to me through them.
Joseph: About an hour after a retreat ended, when we were in team prayer, I saw a retreatant pull up, walk into the narthex, and come out with a sheet of paper. He had come back for his Jesus letter (the handout we give retreatants during the time of prayer).
Jenny: It’s amazing how God lets you know that He sees you. I’m really close to my family, and some days I miss them more than others, but God always sends me little reminders of them. Whether it’s the retreatant whose quiet strength reminds me of my sister, doing a retreat in my dad’s hometown, or meeting a parish secretary whose name and birthday are the same as my mom’s, God always reminds me that as Catholics, we’re never as far removed from any member of the Body of Christ as we think.
Casey: Personal prayer has been a challenge for me recently. I struggle with perfection, and in that, surrendering everything to the Lord. When one of the woman on the team asked me if I wanted to pray a surrender novena I said no. A few days later, I was asked by another woman on the team if I wanted it, and, not knowing it was the same thing, I said yes. The Lord knew He would have to be persistent to get me to surrender. Even though it is still hard to surrender every moment to Him, He is letting me find my way to Him.
Emily: If there was a 6th love language, mine would be food…but with one small catch: I am allergic to dairy and sometimes on the road it can be difficult to get food that I actually enjoy eating. Even in that, I have witnessed so many host families go out of their way to make sure that I had food to eat. Recently on the team, one of my teammates surprised me with my favorite snacks, and another night I really wanted spaghetti and guess what was for dinner at our host family? Spaghetti! It may seem small and silly but God even knows my desire for foods I like and supplies them.
Cristian: God delivers on his promises. God has promised me that this second year would be worth it, and He has blessed me with a great team. He has allowed me to return back to my team and given me the opportunity to finish the year with all of them after having been away for a short while. He has shown me the path to a vocation of priesthood.
Katie: I‘ve been Catholic my whole life, but I’ve never completely understood the significance of the Eucharist or the Mass. One day, though, we went to a cathedral to visit, but didn’t make it in time for mass. I was struck by the beauty of the sanctuary and the music, and all I could do was weep, because I finally realized in the beauty of that moment that mass is heaven on earth and Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. It’s been my prayer for many years that I could truly appreciate the Eucharist and receive Him well, and God provided me with an experience to show me that Mass is Heaven on earth. I love to look for God in the little things, but it’s so beautiful to see him in the big experiences too.
Anna: Our last couple of host homes have been with NET alum. Having the opportunity to get a little glimpse of what life is like after the road has been really reassuring for me because that is something I stress about often. Staying with the alum seems to be God’s way of showing me how His love is truly unending.
Cecilia: I give a retreat talk about friendship and how important it is to have good friends in your life. During the talk one day, the young people didn’t seem to enjoy it very much and I beame a little discouraged. But later on, one of the girls in my small group told me that because of my talk she ended up reconciling with one of her close friends and forgiving her. God gave me reassurance that what I was doing was worth it, and He made an impact in that girl’s life. Neither one of us was expecting that!
Joe: Being the musician on the team can have its ups and downs, and we do music on retreat. Sometimes it can be hard because retreatants are not always enthusiastic about singing. At a recent retreat, however, a retreatant came up to me and told me how he thought he wouldn’t learn anything today from the retreat, but he learned a lot from me about praise and worship, which I really needed to hear and gave me a new motivation for the work I do with music.
Adam: I see God in the team every day. Every single one of their unique personalities mix to create a powerhouse ministry team and encourage everyone they encounter to grow closer to God. And if they weren’t on a team together, it wouldn’t work as well because of how their personalities play off of each other.
Everyone sees God in different ways, and God honestly and truly will not be outdone in generosity. We gave a year to serve Him with NET but it still takes an everyday surrender, and anyone can do that. Look for God! Because He’s never far away.