Everyday is a new adventure handcrafted by the Lord. While some days may seem average or monotonous, most days blow us off our feet with either difficult challenges or eye-opening blessings! A few hardships we have faced as a team are illnesses, one broken arm, and getting the van stuck in snow/mud countless times. On the other hand, we have received many blessings.
After our two week Christmas break and one week of January training, our team started our second half of ministry in the Diocese of Crookston, MN. On one of our team days we traveled to the very start of the Mississippi River in Itasca, MN. While we were there, we met three really nice snowmobilers who found out we were missionaries from all over, so they kindly offered to take each of us for a short ride. It’s little things like this that blow us off our feet!
Then, after two weeks in the tundra of northern MN, we drove all the way down to the warm south to see the other end of the Mississippi river in Louisiana. We have learned so much about the culture here and have truly been spoiled by the southern hospitality. We have tried various authentic LA foods (gumbo, jambalaya, king cake, crawfish, etc.), we went Cajun dancing as a team, and received many Mardi Gras beads and goodie bags.
Through all these blessings (and many more), we have learned to see God within everything that surrounds us. Living for the Lord as NET missionaries is always thrilling, and because of this we have learned to grow in constant mental prayer. Whether it’s praising God, asking Him for help, reflecting, listening, or placing all things in his hands at every moment of the day, we have truly grown in prayer. If we were to just pray a few minutes in the morning then forget to constantly put God at the center of our day, the days would be much harder and our ministry wouldn’t be very fruitful.
We have learned so many practical life tools from traveling and meeting new people everyday, but most importantly we have learned what a life of prayer and faith is. Even when it’s hard to persevere with prayer, we remind ourselves that it isn’t always about feeling or constantly asking for things. Prayer is about hanging out with God, our best friend. It’s a time to entrust all worries, struggles, joys, and thoughts over to Our Heavenly Father as well as inviting Him into every situation.
The Bible verse theme that the NET staff picked for this year speaks perfectly to this: “The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:5-7). This is fitting because although we are staying at different houses every night, getting little amounts of sleep, and have little free time every week because we are constantly serving, we have so much peace. We constantly remind ourselves that life as a NET missionary is life living for the Lord. What a humbling and honoring gift that we are all called to!