“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
Doing God’s work on NET has been such a blessing. As a team, we have ministered to over 5,000 youth and conducted over 100 retreats. It is so amazing to look back and see the beautiful things we have been able to allow God to do through us. It is also amazing to sit back and remember the fact that it is truly God working through us and not simply us doing this on our own. Being on NET and doing all that we do is impossible without Him. There is no way we could wake up early everyday for 9 months straight and put everything we have into loving others without God sustaining us.
See, the beautiful thing about NET is that once you join this mission, you automatically have things taken away from you. Before you join, you may have owned many clothes and material things, but once you join, you are down to owning whatever fits in your suitcase and backpack. Before NET, you may have been getting 8 hours or more of sleep every night, but after joining, you often do not get as much. Before NET, you may have had the freedom to do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted, but after joining, some of those freedoms are taken away. Now right now you may be thinking to yourself, how is this beautiful? Well the beauty lies in the fact that when we are stripped of some of the things we may have had in our life, it leaves a void in our hearts that God is so ready to fill. Now the amazing thing about this is that when God gives His graces or gifts to us, He gives them to us in abundance. Our hearts overflow with the love and grace He gives us, and it flows into all of our encounters with others. The more we are stripped of the things we have, the more space we have for the Lord to fill and overflow with His goodness.
It has been a joy to look back on this year and take note of the ways our team has allowed the Lord’s goodness to overflow into our hearts, into the spaces that have been made inside since joining NET. It is so heartwarming to notice how docile we have been to the Lord working through our weaknesses and brokenness to let His love overflow and pour onto the youth we minister to. Through our imperfections, the youth come to realize that we are not perfect people and we cannot live this life alone without God.
As a regional team, we have the advantage of ministering to some of the same youth throughout the year. We have had one parish in particular that we regularly minister to about once a month. It is so great to see the same youth and set goals with them to encourage them to grow. One youth in particular told us that she really struggled getting caught up in drama back at school and letting it stress her out. She always seemed stressed or not fully present each month, and she would always set the same goal for herself – to be less involved in drama and to let go more. It was one of the most amazing things to watch her come to our last retreat at their parish and see her just illuminated with joy. She was a totally different person. She looked truly happy, and when she was asked how things have been, she explained to us that she had finally decided to try to attain the goals she had set for herself. She decided to truly let go and set herself aside from all the drama at school. The difference it had made was so noticeable, and her joy was contagious. She had let herself be emptied from the things she once held onto and allowed the Lord to fill her with His joy and love. It was so evident how it had overflowed out to those around her.
It also is quite amazing to look back and notice how God has worked and helped growth come out of the voids we had coming onto NET. Each person on our team has individually grown so much and it’s so important to take the time to appreciate it. One common thing each member has grown in is definitely confidence. Whether that’s shown in the ways they talk with others, how they present an activity, or even in the way they carry themselves, there’s been plenty of growth. We all have grown so close with one another and it’s beautiful to see how so many of us have tried to take that extra step to pursue another teammate. We have become such a family and we will treasure these relationships forever.
Thank you so much for all those who have participated in this beautiful journey on NET. Thank you to all of the host families who have so warmly welcomed us into their homes, for feeding us and giving us the care we need to stay strong and nourished for the journey. Thank you to all those who have financially provided for us. Without you, we would not be here. Thanks to all the people in our lives who introduced us to NET and encouraged us to be here. Thanks to all of you who have been reading these blogs and for any prayers you have been able to supply. Finally, the biggest thanks goes out to our God who has provided for us in every way we needed. He has never ceased to provide for our team during this year and I know He will continue to provide every day going forward.
May you always be open and present to our Lord and His love for you! What a blessing it has been to be able to write these blogs and share our journey with you! Thank you for reading and may God bless you always!