“And the Lord said to him, ‘Go through the city, through Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it,’” (Ezekiel 9:4).
Holy Lent from Team 10! Well, we’re still at it: getting our butts kicked by the weather and our souls restored by the youth who open up to Christ on retreat. Since hitting the road again after Christmas we’ve traveled from Minnesota to Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and are now on a three-day journey to New Jersey.
While traveling from Wisconsin to Iowa we had a bit of a scare when the wind picked our trailer up and tossed it (and us in the van) into a snowbank! Luckily our Minnesotan Van Man was driving and it was more like gliding into the snow bank, where the snow exploded up and instantly covered our van. While we were pretty late to our host homes, no one was hurt and we were even able to witness to a truck driver, a state trooper, and the tow truck guy. This world is full of people willing and able to help, which was a blessing to us in that situation and an encouragement for mankind!
While in Missouri, two women on the team (Millie and Ty) had the opportunity to pray with two high school women. Both opened up about things they confessed they had never talked to anyone about before. Ty and Millie listened, gave a few words of encouragement, and then prayed over them, offering their intentions up to Our Father. Both girls walked away with freer shoulders and the knowledge that God loves them no matter what.
Many of us on the team were in the same position those girls are in at some point in our lives. God has worked in incredible ways with us through other people. He has really taken all of us from so many different places and walks of life and brought us here together! For the rest of this blog, we really wanted to share two testimonials that showcase God’s infinite love and mercy.
Riley Souza; 20 years old; Turlock, CA
I was not raised Catholic and my family is still not Catholic. They practice non-denominational Christianity, but God had a different plan for me. My sophomore year of high school, my friends got me to go on a retreat with them and I instantly fell in love with Catholicism. That following year, I attended a D-week (a summer NET retreat) and at that point I was hooked. Living in a NET Alumni-filled community, NET definitely was a huge part of my conversion. My junior year, I actually went on a NET retreat and two of the team members convinced me to join RCIA. I was highly influenced by the strong Catholic community I was surrounded by and, without God’s love flowing through them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. March 26, 2016, I received the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation, and First Communion. Not only was I surrounded by the community on this momentous occasion, but by two NET teams as well; my heart was so full. I was so greatly inspired by the amazing people I had met, that it was then that I decided to be a NET missionary one day and impact other lives like mine. My journey has not been easy, but it’s been worth it. Every day I am engulfed in God’s infinite love and mercy, and I am so thankful for that.
Conor Singleton; 20 years old; Cork, Ireland
Growing up, I was raised in the Catholic faith, but I didn’t understand it all and I really didn’t see what Jesus had to do with me. The most important things in my life growing up were sports, friends, and my schoolwork, not God. This continued until I was 16, when I was convinced to go on a 4 day retreat run by an organization called Youth2000. At the retreat, there were close to 1,000 young people who were not afraid to sing and dance in praise of God, which was incredibly overwhelming for me. On the third and final night of the retreat, there was what they called a “healing service” with confession and adoration. Even though I wasn’t investing in the retreat, I decided to go to confession. I really wanted to give it everything to see if maybe this time it would “work”, so I confessed ALL my sins and asked the priest all the questions that I had struggled to answer all my life. Finally, at the end of confession, he said “Conor, your sins are forgiven and Jesus loves you, now go in peace.” I didn’t understand this, but as I walked away I felt a great sense of peace, and then incredible relief, as if a weight had been taken from my shoulders. Afterward, I rejoined everyone in adoration, where I asked God to reveal Himself to me and prove if He was really real… A kind of love I had never experienced before swept over me and I couldn’t help but cry. This experience led me to believe in God but the journey didn’t stop there. I went back to school and found out what it was like to live my life with God and I loved having Jesus in it with me. My senior year I transferred schools, where I was introduced to a NET team. The love they showed me inspired me to join NET in order to be that person of love for someone else.
Now in the final stage of my second year, I look back at what the Lord has done in my life and I can’t help but smile. I have learned so much, been humbled often, grown and matured as an adult and become one of the best versions of myself I could be at this point in my life. I look forward to the future with great excitement at what the Lord has in store for me.
Thank you for reading about our adventures both now and in our past! We are praying for a successful Lent for you all – please pray for us too. In 40 days our precious Lord with die for us and then rise again! Let us look to the end of these 40 days with hope!
God’s Blessings from Team 10!
“Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,” (Joel 2:13).