Hello from the homies based in West St. Paul, Minnesota! The home team has been very busy in these first couple months of ministry as we’ve taken the world of technology to our advantage by continuing some retreats virtually, finding new ways to minister to and love the youth through a screen. Our team is packed with energy and puns for days, also consisting of 6 converts! We have had many benefits, as a team in Minnesota, including dinners with NET alumni and late nights at the NET Center playing basketball or just simply laughing as a team. We are also given the opportunity to stay in each host home for 2 weeks, giving us time to get to know the families better and involves a new form of ministry through investing in not only youth but also adults.
We’ve been blessed to be able to continue our confirmation retreat weekends without having the youth stay overnight like past years. These confirmation retreat weekends have been very fruitful, although tiring for our team (being a multi-day retreat). However, there was one confirmation retreat weekend that was very notable. Our team came in quite intimidated as we were told that the school we were holding the retreat for was known for being an unforgettable group. Once the retreatants started arriving, it became clear that we would have no problem with investment or participation from the group. Throughout the retreat we played many games where the youths’ knowledge on the faith became very apparent and impressive. Many people on the team mentioned having some of the best small group sessions they’ve ever had. Until the unexpected happened, we found out that we would have to cut the retreat a day early and had about 45 minutes to end prayer ministry and conclude the retreat. While fitting in a talk, a small group, a drama, and having them fill out the “share your NET experience” forms, our team was able to give the youth all the final material we wanted them to remember. This created a very memorable experience for our team and allowed us to give our all to the retreatants in the little time we had.
Due to the coronavirus and shortage of retreats, our team has had to get creative on how to serve others without our typical relational ministry. This has allowed us the opportunity to volunteer at an organization called Feed My Starving Children. We have visited three of the organization’s locations so far and are definitely expecting more visits in the future. At the end of this experience, we are able to pray over the food that we have boxed as it gets loaded and sent out to countries with children who desperately need a meal. With this service, we are able to provide kids with meals for days to years. The organization’s eventual goal is to no longer be needed anymore. This has helped our team to be able to serve in a different way and has taught us to be grateful for every meal we receive through families who host us during our missionary year.
Our team has spent our team days (once a week) going to get coffee, visiting the cathedral, going to pumpkin patches in the fall time, and many other fun activities as we grow closer in and out of ministry. With the busy schedule of our team we are able to let God work through us and give us the grace to evangelize as best we can through the pandemic and exhaustion. People may call us crazy for deciding to minister this year during a global pandemic, we just respond with “God is still good.”