Hello from North Carolina! Team 2 is putting on miles and spreading the Word of God, taking on extreme weather conditions and hearts that have been hardened by the world but still long for God.
We started our time after Christmas break in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, pushing through temperatures well below freezing and amounts of snow well above average. Right after, we made our way down to Louisiana, basking in the sun and southern hospitality. We were in Mississippi right before our time in North Carolina, and are continuing to make our way up the East Coast.
We have now completed 71 retreats, and interacted with over 4,500 young people, as well as dozens of host families, parish and school staff members, and random Walmart employees. Though we are over halfway through our year, seeing the Lord at work in His simple and intricate ways is still exciting, and we are in awe every day.
One of the most common questions we hear from the youth on retreat is the ever-popular, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” As a team, we are certain that the Lord, though not wishing evil upon any of his children, allows hardships in our lives to bring good from them, even if that good is simply turning us back to reliance on the Lord. Our team has been challenged in ways that have tested and reinforced this truth. This second semester, unlike the first semester, has been crammed full of challenges and hardships, both in the team as a whole and in the personal life of each team member. We are realizing how quickly humans beings can tire out, and how much of our strength truly is dependent on God.
Seeing the young people on retreat let the Lord into their life makes every challenge worth it. We have heard incredible things from youth, such as:
“NET changed my life by giving me hope.”
“[NET] taught me what a true man is.”
“I have no more doubts about God!”
When lives are being touched in that way through us, how can we even think about slowing down?
God is good forever and always.