NET Team 11 has been on the road for about a month and a half and we have facilitated about 30 retreats reaching about 1000 youth. We have been assigned to the region of the North East and we are circulating DC, Virgina, and Maryland. Life on the road has been a truly transforming experience. It has been absolutely beautiful to witness the Holy Spirit work through our team members: Adam, Aimee, Ellie, Evan, Isaiah, Jakob, Moriah, Monica (myself), Nels, Sarah, and Roni. Most importantly, we are just realizing how God doesn’t call the qualified but he qualifies the called and we are all just ordinary people striving to live the extraordinary life of Christ.
For me personally, I never thought God would be able to use me as His instrument. Through this ministry I’ve come to the realization that God creates beautiful things through our brokenness and if we allow Him to consume us and if we pursue that relationship with Him our ministry will be on fire. We have five teammates who have some beautiful glory stories that I would like to share!
During one of our larger retreats, we had a talk about being persistent in prayer and Ellie, who is literally the definition of what it means to love without bounds and to love the youth and even the team wherever they are at, asked the youth how they felt about what she had said and got no response. At that point she felt discouraged but one of the youth sitting next to one of the team members, Roni, who is literally an MGM (Meet, Greet, Mingle) MASTER and has such a beautiful servant’s heart and longs to truly get to know people beneath the surface, nodded her head and Roni said “raise your hand” and they shook their head no and my teammates said “what did you learn?” and the young girl said “I learned how much God really loves me” and in that moment Ellie came to the realization that every day she just gets to witness God move other people and she just felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the path God has set her on.
Our Teammate, Moriah , who is such a joyful presence on the team and is always able to put things in the perspective of Christ and acts as Mother Mary does, also came to a very similar realization as during prayer ministry one of her small group members was moved to tears. She shared how she she just realized Christ’s love for her and was longing to find a way to repay the Lord for Him dying for her and she just wanted to respond with praise. The 13 year old girl was so eager to share her experience with everyone at the retreat and this childlike love for Christ inspired Moriah to remember the gifts the Lord has given her and it reminded her to always give her praises to the Lord.
Not all retreats go as expected, however. One teammate, Evan, who truly has a gift for loving people where they are at and recognizing those who don’t feel included and helps them feel at home, was getting a little discouraged about how one retreat in Virginia was going. At the end of the retreat one of his small group members told him to look at his share your experience form. When Evan read it , it said he did not only grow closer with his friends, but he developed a closer relationship with Jesus. Evan was not only encouraged but touched and reminded of the fact that “God works in many little ways, and as wonderful as extraordinary, profound experiences are, God works in the ordinary as well”.
Our teammate Jakob does a wonderful example of evangelizing through music which speaks to the soul, and he is an example of what it means to be a true man of God through the way he loves. He has had many youth open up to the idea of praising the Lord through musical gifts and that has been truly beautiful to witness. One youth was so touched that he slipped Jakob a note telling him that he has helped him heal and that he would be praying for Jakob.
Isaiah, who has been blessed with the gift of infectious positivity and is one of the most encouraging individuals I have ever met while also being able to making anything fun, so Isaiah and myself (Monica) also got to facilitate an adult small group in Maryland and we were a bit nervous because we are both 18 years old but it turned out to be super fruitful with some awesome discussion. Isaiah got to pray over a gentleman in our group and the man was just so touched by Isaiah’s actions that he began to pray over Isaiah and bursted into tears. In that moment Isaiah came to the realization of how blessed he is not only to administer to the youth but also to administer the adult and young adult community that is thirsting for Christ just as much as the youth.
This past couple of weeks together as a team has not always been easy, but I have honestly never loved a group of people more and I know it is because God has put this team together. God is definitely moving mountains through us and through the youth we are encountering and is working miracles for the greater glory of His plan.