“The LORD’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent; They are renewed each morning—great is your faithfulness!” (Lam. 3:22-23).

One team day not too long ago, our merry band of NETters came into the office after a lovely walk in downtown Dallas. A very involved host mom was on her way in to impart to us grand wisdom: how to bake her world-renowned cookies. She brought them to the youth room often (along with her daughter), and though some had tried to recreate them, all trials had failed. It was also her birthday, and she was choosing to spend it with us so we could really get the recipe right.

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor kicked us off, and, in no time, we had each taken a turn mixing or scooping while a teammate recorded every little detail from our mentor. Turns out, an extra half a cup of flour makes a huge difference. We spent that afternoon laughing and sharing some good fellowship with one another–youth ministers included–and after a quick 10 minutes in the oven, we beheld the masterpieces she had taught us to make. Warm, soft, gooey chocolate chip cookies that absolutely melt in your mouth. Achievement get! Cookies greedily consumed, we settled around as a team with some guitars and drums to sing “All the Poor and Powerless” at our host mom’s request. Our makeshift worship band communicated on the fly, getting off in places and finding our way back together. It was a gift to rejoice in her life with our small token of gratitude.

That afternoon stuck with us well, though not just because of cookies, or even our relationships with that host mom. This one team day didn’t just appear but was made possible by months of get-to-know-yous and the semi-weekly, “You HAVE to show us how to make those!” It’s a small fruit of persistence, of going for it and falling short, and coming back around to fulfillment.

It’s taken months since moving down to Richardson, TX that baby buds really have begun to bloom in our ministry and team life. We plant little seeds with Jesus, like sitting next to that youth in your small group who hasn’t talked to you once, or praying fervently to the Holy Spirit for the courage to walk up to that new young person after mass. Mustard seeds are hosting an event that one youth comes to, and persisting nonetheless. They are going to that soccer game and accidentally introducing yourself as your guy teammate’s name. They’re taking time each day to eat together as a team, even when we could be doing other work instead. As Mother Teresa said, God doesn’t call us to be successful, but faithful. He is the primary faithful One, in ways we have seen and ways we may glimpse or never know.

Yep, we NET teams are just bands of instruments living out of hope for our God and his ultimate triumph. We get off at times, but through His love we get brought back together and He shines through these broken vessels. Another host mom shared with me how difficult it was when we left after our two week stay with her family, and the joy she shared with another host at having us. We hosted a Faith and Fun Night for the middle school youth a few weeks ago, which looked almost exactly like a NET retreat. About ten youth made it, and by the end of the night many of them left saying how grateful they were for the night of talks, prayer, and small group. One youth in particular came who had been closed off in small group all year. Afterwards, he opened up considerably and started seeking out NET team members to do his best to make it to other events. What community we’ve found through Jesus!

As the end of our time here begins to creep towards us, we’re reminded of those simple testimonies, those little ways the Lord teaches us His faithfulness. Be confident in Christ, friends, for His mercies are new every morning.

Have a blessed Lent, y’all!

Team 12

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