Team 12 is excited to be back in Richardson, Texas for the second half of the year after the wonderful season of Christmas, ready to spread God’s life-giving love and good news! Coming back to our lovely St. Joseph parish has been an amazing experience. Although leaving our homes was difficult and having to say goodbye to our family for a second time hurt, we knew our mission was not done here in Texas. God has a great plan for each one of us and we are excited to be vessels and let Him work in us.
So many blessings have poured out on us since we have been back and we are so grateful. Being surrounded by so many faithful people and such a loving environnement is such a gift. Finally being able to see the parishioners after what seemed like months for some and days for others was a heartwarming moment. We felt so much love the moment our plane landed in Texas and we were welcomed again with open arms.
As a parish team, we generally spend around 12 hours a day at the parish which helps us to develop relationships within the community. We become a part of it; the parish becomes our own. We make friends and meet awesome people who attend the parish. The priests and staff begin to become part of our family, our home away from home. We learn to love the little things that happen daily in our small neighborhood, like the gorgeous sunrises along with the birds’ songs and the warm breezy weather. We enjoy the simple familiar steps we take each morning to enter the church. We feel a sense of belonging in our little office up in the youth room.
Therefore, when the parish was recently struck by the list released by the bishop of Dallas containing the names of priests who were accused of abusing minors, we were also deeply affected and saddened by the unfortunate news. However, this reminded us that anyone can fall at anytime, thus we must always depend on Jesus Christ and strive to be holy. We have since then tried to be bright lights and pure witnesses to the parishioners and the people of Dallas. The weekend after the list was released, our team members paired up two by two to go pray with people, if they wanted, after the masses. It was an incredibly humbling and vulnerable moment shared between the NET team members and the parishioners. Some meetings lasted only a few moments and some went up to twenty minutes! There was a lot of healing and beauty present during the sharing and the prayer and it was evident that the Holy Spirit was at work. Our understanding of the power of prayer was strengthened at this time. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have, and trusting that the Lord is listening and up to much good is all that we need to remember. This is our parish for the next few months and we are so excited to keep on growing with this wonderful community.
It was not long before we realized we will never have the same two days on Team 12. We always have wonderful stories about our host families, the youth, and our ministry to talk about. In other words, there’s never a dull moment in these exciting missionary lives!
We still have the opportunity to meet new people everyday, even after exhausting every corner of the parish. Also, with the new activities our team have been introducing, we have been reaching out to more and more youth this semester. We can only do this by letting Jesus’ light shine through us to others. Some of us are starting discipleship groups and meeting with young people 1-on-1 for bubble tea to talk about their faith and God. These fruitful meetups will hopefully help these young Christians to pursue Jesus more and more. We are also attending different events with the parish to help with outreach, like the Dallas March for Life.
Just the other day, we resumed praise and worship at the nearby high school, which we had started just before Christmas break. We had the chance to see some of the students who attend the school that we had met in the past and also meet some new youth. We are also preparing for a confirmation retreat for middle school and high school. We are praying God will stir up the hearts of the youth that will be participating in this retreat. Another enjoyable and spontaneous event we joined was the St. Joseph Middle School volleyball tournament, girl against guys, with grades 5-8. The girls won two rounds and so did the boys, so it ended with a tie, but it was certainly amusing playing with the youth and spending time with the students of our parish.
Being a missionary is definitely not an average lifestyle. You’ll get blows from left and right but you’ll receive blessings from all around. It’s always worth it because we know that it’s what God is calling us to right now; to grow and be selfless. We praise God for His goodness!
Being a missionary can be quite challenging, like when we decide to stay up late to talk with host families even though we might be tired the next day. However, being a missionary is also very exhilarating, like when we have the most fruitful conversations with that host family since you did decide to stay up late or because you felt extra bold to approach that young person sitting by themselves, because you felt the Spirit move you to and they give you the biggest smile.
It’s crazy because even in our lows we can still seek God with all our hearts. Having strong, persevering fellow Catholics as brothers and sisters surrounding us for the year encourages us to take that extra step towards Jesus. This was especially useful when, unfortunately, one of our teammates did not return to our team for the second half of NET. Keep this teammate in your prayers to have a blessed year as they start 2019. Despite the unfortunate turnout, God has been greatly generous by giving us Freddy, our new brother, who is actually from Texas, only a few hours away from Dallas! After spending a few weeks with him, we see how easily he fits in with our team. We all love him so much already and hope that in this short second semester we will be able to all grow a profound friendship with him. Even with all of this change, it was easy to see the abundant graces that God poured out on us in the first half of our year and in the beginning of the new one. God is our strength, the beauty and the joy of our year.
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’” (Matthew 19:26). Let us never forget these living and active words of our Lord and Savior. Our ministry can only thrive with God as the cornerstone. He holds us through this crazy roller coaster, we only need to be still and depend on Him. How lucky are we to have such a good and almighty God?
Alright, second half be ready to take on another dose of young adults on fire for the King, Jesus Christ!