`Hello from Michigan! As a discipleship team, we have the unique opportunity to live with families for two weeks at a time. In the few months we have been here, we have seen so much beauty in this aspect of ministry. It is a sacrifice for the families to host us for a two-week period, not only because they are providing for extra people, but it is hard to keep up the “perfect family” image for two weeks. There are a few nights each week where we are able to go home for an evening of dinner and quality time with these families. It is on these nights that we are able to grow in relationship with these families and share in intentional conversations. Most of the time, we are able to see the families for who they truly are, once they realize they do not have to uphold any image. We have been able to then share in the brokenness and quirks of these families and show them love in their vulnerability. Not only are we able to share God’s love with them, they are able to share God’s love, especially through family love, with us as well.
One particular family that the women stayed with had recently moved to the community we are serving in. One of their daughters moved back home after living a life away from the church. Being part of this transition for them has been beautiful. We were welcomed into their family immediately and from there, grew close to the two daughters at home. During the two weeks with them, we spent every night talking and sharing our lives with each other. There is truly something special to spend time with other women who are similar ages, who want to live their lives for Christ as well. It leaves room for “real-talk” and accountability.
One of the daughters who had lived a life away from the Catholic Church for a few years, opened up and shared with us her struggles and her past. After this, we were able to share with her and invite her into the forgiveness that God wanted to give her. We told her how badly He wanted to welcome her back home. She shared that she was looking for community and didn’t find it at the local Catholic Church and so she went and found it at a local Protestant church. As soon as we heard this, we knew our ministry for young adults needed to get started as soon as possible.
Talking with the priests in our parishes, led to beginning a young adult night including adoration and confession. This has been a huge success overall and has been a great way to connect young adults to each other and to the parish in the St. Joseph area. At our second young adult night, this young woman shared that “tonight was the first time I came into a Catholic church in 3 years and I actually wanted to be there.” After that night of prayer and fellowship after, she went to Confession the following Sunday for the first time in four years. She has now recommitted herself to Christ in this way and is going to Mass each Sunday and is excited to be there and grow in her Catholic faith!
When you are generous with the Lord, He is generous with you. This is shown to us in a concrete way this year, through the host families. There is beauty in opening your home for two weeks. Hosting part of a NET team does not just mean there are 4 other people living in your basement. This act of charity allows us to become part of each family and build lifelong relationships. This community has given so much to us and it has been wonderful to grow closer to them and share our lives together. St. Joseph, Michigan has become a second home for many of us on the team and our time here cannot be replaced. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
NET Team 16