Hello from St. Joseph Michigan! Time is flying by and God is blessing us immensely. When we were told that we would be coming here for our ministry, many of us shared confused looks considering we did not even know that Michigan had a team but boy, have we fallen in love with this place and this community of people!
We’ve been living here for almost two months and we’ve learned so much already. We have learned about ourselves and how far we can go. We have become masters at small talk and grown to love one another so well. God has placed many things in our hands and one of the things that we have been learning as a team is a balance between humbleness and confidence. We are learning how merciful the Lord is. During a team prayer, one of the team members mentioned that we, as humans do not deserve God’s love or anything that he gives us. However, He loves us so much anyway and blesses us no matter what we do. Coming to that realization that we don’t deserve his many blessings is very humbling. However, along with that realization, it is so easy to get lost in the idea that we are unworthy. Unworthy to be here in Michigan, unworthy of his love and unworthy of any love here on Earth. Yet we know that these are lies from the evil one. Our God made us in his own image, we are beautiful inside and out and we deserve to be loved by others and to love ourselves through God’s grace. Sometimes we are shot down by the youth and it can be super hard to get up and move on and keep trying, but we know what we are here to do and how hard we have to work at it. One of the pastors reminded us in a homily that we all have the light of Christ in us and that we have to be careful not to hide our light under a bushel due to fear of rejection. It is so easy to do but if we forget to shine and never step out of our comfort zones, we can never change the world. At the end of the day, we are all called to be disciples and to be bold and confident when ministering to the youth and to each other, and through that, we see God working each and every day. The youth are responding well to having us.
We are working mostly with a local Catholic middle school and high school and slowly trying to make our way into the public schools around this area. Right now we are working primarily on just being there and available to the youth. We attend school lunches, sporting events and after school activities. We host Open Youth Room on Thursday evenings where the kids can come and hangout with the team, eat snacks and play games and enjoy fellowship. The turnouts have been great and people seem to be having a great time together, including the team. We have high school Youth Group every other Saturday night, ran by our youth minister here at our parish, Chad. We play games with the teens and help direct them and their fun to the Lord. We help out with the confirmation classes on Sunday nights as well and learn a few things along with the kids. We hold youth events every couple of weekends and it has been beautiful to watch our numbers grow and to see the kids get more and more excited and involved.
We are learning about other Catholic communities and just attended an event for the Brothers and Sister of Charity. It is awesome to see how different people live out their faith. We have prayed a handful of novenas and we have seen the prayers answered right in front of our eyes. We have stayed in over 10 different homes, meeting the greatest families and are just so excited to meet more people and learn how they all live so differently. It can be tough to be away from home but because we are living with the same families for two weeks at a time, we grow to feel very at home. We have found a sense of family not only in each host home but in each other. Watching the team grow in love for one another but for our God is inspiring and helps us keep the motivation to keep working hard. We have encountered over two hundred youth and they continue to amaze us with their openness and willingness to fall in love with the faith. We have drunk over 290 hot beverages such as coffee or tea. Our team likes to call them “Hot Bev’s” thanks to one of the men on the team, Ford. We have lots of jokes and funny memories that keep us laughing. There is never a dull moment for Team 12 here in Michigan. We love our jobs, we love our team members and we love our God.
Peace and blessings,