“Individually we are one drop but together we are an ocean.”
Hello from Team 5! Our journey has been one crazy rollercoaster. We have all been enjoying a beautiful and warm winter here in Southern California.
Since coming back from a two week break for Christmas, we have jumped straight into ministry. Throughout the weeks we put on retreats for the youth in the general area. It has been a blessing to see the Lord working in the hearts of the youth throughout the retreats. Although we are a retreat team, we have had the opportunity to experience discipleship in a couple of different ways. For example, we have visited Bishop Amat High School here in the Los Angeles Diocese on 7 occasions to help with penance services, attend homecoming football games, and lead praise and worship in their courtyard during their lunch period.
Another great opportunity that we have being on the Southern California team is getting to spend time with The Carmelite Sisters across the street from our NET office on Alhambra. We have had the blessing of being able to stay in their convent on multiple occasions and witnessing their joy and love of the Lord. Alongside with the Carmelites, our team has the privilege to help them with a great event called Petrus. We are able to mentor youth who are on fire with their faith and have the desire to share it with others by having them shadow us throughout the event and getting to spend 1-on-1 time talking with them about the faith.
Our first weekend retreat of the 2018 year occured in Yucca Valley followed by a no obligation day in Big Bear, California. Big Bear is a common resort site that we have heard about from numerous host families. It was exciting to be able to visit an area that we had heard about for 6 months. We went hiking, thrift store shopping, made our own meals, and watched movies for hours as a team which is something that we don’t get to do often.
The majority of our week is taken up by retreats; however, we set aside a day for the team to hang out together once a week. These days are called Team days. On team days, we have gone bowling, had picnics in the park, played basketball, and celebrated some of our teammates birthdays. Because we are so busy with waking up early in the mornings and getting to a host home late, it is so nice to just be together as one, doing something we all enjoy.
The missionary lifestyle is what we have all been called to do. Christ created us for the purpose of going out into the world and sharing the love that he has for us. It may be challenging and it may be tiring but God never gives us something that we can’t handle. The graces that we receive are promising. At times we may not feel like we are doing much but we must remember that it is God working through us. On a retreat, I had encountered a youth in my small group that was questioning her confirmation with the faith. She expressed to me that she had many doubts. I didn’t know what to say and what not to say so I let the Holy Spirit take over. Towards the end of the retreat she came up to me with tears running down her cheeks and said to me “I am no longer doubting!” All Glory and Honor goes to God. He does things that we alone cannot do.
Prayers to you all and God Bless!
~ Grace, Alice, Javier, Michael, Hannah, Katie, Francis, Benjamin, Mackenzie, Blake, Zoey, and Bethany