Hey hey. I’m Austin, and I love my life. I always have loved my life, but right now I really love my life. I have had a whirlwind of a life and I am just now starting to understand that I have no control over it, only God does (and thank goodness for that).
In high school I really had trouble trying to decide what I was going to do with my life. It wasn’t until my senior year that I decided to go to college because I wanted to begin my career. I went to college for one year and finished it with online classes which were not the most fun. Before COVID-19 was even a thing though I missed ministry. In high school I had many opportunities to help with ministry, especially helping with retreats on my church’s core team. After a bit of prayer and talking with people, I decided that I would take a year off from college to go on NET. So I signed up for NET in December and got accepted in January, all before the coronavirus. Even through the pandemic I still knew that I was being called to NET, so I still committed to it. I knew that NET did retreats in teams across the USA, but little did I know what all that would entail.
There are two major parts of NET that I overlooked before starting this year on the road. First I overlooked how the mission would be done. I knew that I would put on retreats for young people across the country but I didn’t comprehend how that would happen. At my church we did a couple weekend retreats every year for high schoolers and middle schoolers. I thought that in order for a retreat to get its message across, it needed to take multiple days to do so because that’s how I did it growing up. NET showed me that spreading the good news doesn’t require a multi-day retreat, or even a full day retreat. I have seen many young people begin a relationship with God after only 3 hours on retreat. Since the amount of retreats we have been doing has been limited due to the coronavirus, our team has taken advantage of every opportunity we have to spread the good news.
Second, I overlooked my team. I am on NET Team 6 and we have gotten really close to one another. I never really thought about the team that I would do retreats with until I got one. We have become a family, and in families there is good and there is bad, but no matter what we have always strived to show each other love at every moment. It is so powerful to have a group of young men and women that support the same mission, want to grow closer to God, and show you love. I knew that I would help bring others closer to Christ on NET but through my team, my second family, I also have gotten closer to Jesus.
Sure, the coronavirus has maybe stopped some retreats from happening this year, but the immense love that is shown from every missionary on NET will not be stopped. This year has proven to me that hardships and suffering only make our love for God and each other stronger.
“For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
2 Corinthians 1:5