“Your first task is to be dissatisfied with yourself, fight sin, and transform yourself into something better. Your second task is to put up with the trials and temptations of the world that will be brought on by be change in your life and persevere to the very end in the midst of these things.” – Saint Augustine
Hello from Team 2! What a beautiful winter it has been so far and already a crazy adventure for our team. This quote from Saint Augustine speaks volumes what life is like on our team but also overall as a NET missionary.
Since being back from a lovely two week Christmas break, we have jumped right back into things! We went straight to Pittsburgh where we stayed for about two weeks. After that we traveled to Maryland and Virginia, and currently now have found ourselves in Rhode Island for the past week.
One big shock to us at the beginning of this semester was that one of our teammates, Michelle, would not be joining us for a couple months due to lesions on her vocal chords. Although this was an adjustment for us, our team was blessed to be far along in our ministry preparations so that we were able to quickly recover with one teammate down. But we are so happy to share that she finished her vocal therapy and surprised our team four days ago by flying in and rejoining us. There were lots of tears and hugs! However, an unwanted surprise hit us about three weeks into ministry this semester when one of our other teammates, Gabe, broke his ankle in a skateboarding accident and had to return home for surgery. Thankfully, it went well and he is hoping to come back to us within the next six weeks. Losing another member from the road and being down to ten was definitely hard, but Michelle coming back has proved to be a great blessing, and we continue to pray for Gabe’s speedy recovery and trusting that the Lord has a plan in all of this. I think these challenges have brought our team closer together, being able to love and rely on one another more deeply and to grow in trusting in God’s Will for us and what he has planned for us as missionaries.
Traveling along the east coast has been such an awesome experience for our team! St. Augustine once said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Ministry and putting on retreats is such an amazing honor, but it is also so awesome to spend time with the team and go touristing around the new places. Some highlights have been sightseeing in Washington D.C. and seeing the gorgeous national Basilica there, visiting the White House and Lincoln Memorial, the National Monument, and a few museums. In Maryland we were blessed to go see the national shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, as well as the Mount St. Mary’s Shrine. There we got to do some college ministry and recruiting! Also, for one team day in Baltimore, we got a tour of the Orioles baseball park.
Retreats this half have been a little tougher than last semester, but also fruitful in their own way. One specific youth shared with us afterwards by saying, “I found a best friend today. His name is Jesus.” This is so simple and yet really hit home for all of us. That is our goal, to leave the retreatants knowing that Jesus loves them and is always there for them as their friend. Even if all they take away is the bookmark we hand out that has a thirty day Bible verse challenge, then maybe that will help them begin their relationship with the Lord.
These past eight days in Rhode Island have been amazing! We have been staying in only one host home the whole time we’ve been here, which is extremely unusual for traveling time, but such a great experience for us. We have grown to love these families that have so generously welcomed us into their homes and “adopted” us for the past week. We had a wonderful visit with our supervisors and feel refreshed and motivated to spread the gospel. Tomorrow we are excited to head on to Pennsylvania!
Blessings and prayers!
Team 2 (Ben, Jess, Aleisha, Nicole, Lo, Sam, Molly, Nate, Paul, Sorcha, Michelle, and Gabe)