There are some long days on the road. Here on Team 7, we have traveled across 7 states and are currently stopped in the Diocese of Springfield, Missouri, the fourth state we have done retreats in. From travel days to long retreats, there is always some surprise that gets thrown at us, in good and interesting ways. Half of the team had some idea of what we were doing when we signed up for this (knowing from our own retreats or seeing discipleship teams), while the other half just felt God’s call and came running; but we can all agree that this year lives up to NET’s slogan “There’s nothing like NET.” One of the most unforgettable experiences for our team has been host home ministry!

After a long and tiring day of retreat ministry, we go to a house we have never been to and meet families we have never met before. On the road, we have been so blessed to encounter amazing families.

Here are 16 of our favorite host home memories:

1.When host families are mutual friends with your family. Our teammate from Minnesota ran into his grandma’s friend in Michigan.

2. When your host dad is a foreign diplomat, so he has a zebra skin and African masks that were gifted to him. (At that same host home, the fire alarm went off and they had their cousins come over to help turn it off).

3. When you stay with a young married couple and are inspired by how young, Catholic marriages are so beautiful.

4. When you are from California and Texas and get put in the North and you don’t know how to deal with the cold so host families provide old winter coats. You find out again how much God provides. “Ask and it shall be given to you… for everyone who asks receives,” (Luke 11: 9-10), amirite?

5. When you get to stay in convents and hang out with amazing religious sisters and then, on top of that, get to hang out with Jesus in the morning, because they have a tabernacle in their home chapel.

6. When the parish lets you see the church but doesn’t tell the parishioners who have access to webcams and they think you broke in and the only reason they don’t call the cops is because you keep genuflecting in front of the tabernacle.

7. When the host family reminds us of our own family by some trait or tradition that our family does. (Plus, getting to learn about new traditions!).

8. When host homes feed you lots of veggies, “because that is how I would want my kids to eat,” or say things like “I’m going to give you a hug because you don’t have your mom.”

9. When the host family wants to play “The Floor is Lava” and take you to a haunted corn maze with their toddler to show you the town.

10. When the host dad cries because of the impact he saw on his family, especially when the whole team plays tag with their toddler.

11. When the entire sisterhood gets to stay together and have a giant slumber party and the host mom gives you stamps and envelopes to write to your families.

12. When host families just trust us with their lake houses and provide food for us and we get to relax after ministry.

13. When you stay with a host family whose grandfather was cured by Blessed Father Solanus Casey.

14. When you get to stay with college-aged women who are hilarious and just laugh with you about Taylor Swift and real life.

15. When you stay with an older couple that makes a bonfire for you all to sit around and share stories about life.

And best of all…

16. When the host family sends you to bed early.

It has been an amazing journey with so many good moments in host homes, on retreats, and in the van. This team is ready for everything else God has for us.

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