Greetings from California! 

Our team has been focusing on virtual retreats and random evangelization. At first there was definitely some sort of uncertainty when it came to moving all of our ministry online, especially in the midst of the pandemic. But to our surprise these virtual retreats have been amazing. They have challenged us and taught us so much. 

When we first arrived to California, where our team is based, the first thing our team had to do was go to In’n Out. For some of us it was the first time ever having burgers from this place. But overall it’s safe to say that it was a great first dinner as a team on the road. You may be asking yourself where it is that we are staying since there’s thirteen of us on the team and due to the fact that California is pretty shut down because of the pandemic… in Pomona, California! We are currently staying at a convent and it has been quite the experience for all of us. Our days are full of virtual retreats, scaring each other, and grocery runs. 

With our virtual ministry we have all learned so much. I’d like to say that the team transitioned online fairly easy, but we definitely had to modify our content in certain aspects to be able to proclaim the Gospel in an effective way. Throughout these retreats something that has us in awe is the fact that certainly God can work through wifi issues and screens. This year we are breaking down walls and we are meeting our youth in the comfort of their own homes, something that is completely new. This allows for a new element and atmosphere in our retreats and more of a personal experience. 

Throughout all these weeks of ministering virtually we have experienced our bumps on the road. Especially when it comes to wifi and connection issues. One retreat that sticks out to me is one where all of the team had to end up logging off and only the retreat leaders were on. The retreat in our eyes was falling apart, but God had other plans. We had all started on a good note and as the retreat rolled out our connection was giving up as well as the retreatants. Then we realized that some of the youth weren’t able to log in due to a settings issue we had, to which we found the solution was for the team to log off. Slowly we all made our way to the room with the last people that were on retreat, and prayer ministry had started. Prayer ministry is a time where the youth are invited and guided in prayer. All of the team found their own corner or place in the room and began to pray. In the middle of this time of prayer I opened my eyes and witnessed a beautiful moment. I opened my eyes and saw every single person from the team intently praying for all the youth and retreat overall, which was amazing to see. Looking back now I wish I could of taken a picture, but it was such a genuine moment that I’ll forever hold it in my heart. 

This year our evangelization looks a bit different, but it has been full of the Holy Spirit working. We have had random evangelization in parking lots, in waiting for our food to be ready, and in the few host homes we’ve had. Seeing all these moments has definitely opened our eyes to all the ways our Father can work. 

Thus far it has been quite an experience and we are excited to minister to the youth around our country. We are appreciative of how He has been taking care of us and blessing us. May God bless you and your families! 

NET Team 5

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