Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Glory Story"

Here at FMC, people sometimes share their "Glory Story" - just a moment where God swoops in and saves the day or you immediately pray for something and it happens or just any "wow" God moment.
Soooo, story time!

Yesterday I was praying and thanking God that I don't have to deal with Youth Ministry anymore. I've made myself believe that I am terrible at small group leading and I'm really awkward and I just can't relate with teens...and most of all I am not funny. Well, immediately after that, the director of FMC (Joseph Summers) asks me and 3 other Missionaries to work a Freshman retreat. In this moment I was just in shock and couldn't believe it, but it's so typical of God.

So this morning we leave at 6:15AM to work Notre Dame High School's Freshman Class retreat in Crowley, Louisiana. I decided to ask Jesus to please make me funny. I have just always wanted to be the funny one sometimes...I want people to laugh! I love it when people laugh!
I felt like if I could make the teens laugh, they could relate more to me and in turn maybe listen to me and in turn simply think I'm awesome ;)
Sooooo, I shared my simple prayer with 2 of the missionaries in the car on the way to the retreat and they seemed to get a kick out of it, but other than the initial giggle, we didn't make a big deal about it.
Well, as the 150 teens arrive in the KC Bingo Hall, I got a little nervous, but the retreat was SO fun. It was literally the most effective, fun, simple, and impacting Catholic high school retreat I have ever worked. After some of the main talks, we split into guy and girl groups, which was FABULOUS. Those girls are striving for holiness.
Anyway, I literally told one story or just an interrupting word or made a hand motion or noise and I had the entire room bursting in laughter...I have no idea what I said or how I did it... but for the rest of the day girls were telling me I am hilarious or so funny or (my personal favorite): "Have you seen Pitch Perfect? You remind me SO MUCH of Fat Amy." Ummmm, not sure how to react to that, but she is pretty funny hahahaha

At the end of the retreat, one of the missionaries told the girls what I prayed for...which in turn made them laugh even more...
I truly cannot remember a single thing I told those girls (holy spirit moment), but they were beautiful and I love them and even my little prayer to be funny was sincere and genuine - but simple - was answered!

God answers even our smallest prayers!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"The True Missionary is the Saint"

"I would like to encourage everyone to be a bearer of the good news of Christ and I am grateful especially to missionaries.... – who by accepting the Lord's call, leave their homeland to serve the Gospel in different lands and cultures." Pope Francis Message for World Mission Day 2013

Missions are kind of a big deal...If you didn't know that already. The Catholic Church and practically all Christian churches are all stressing the importance of World Missions Sunday. Well, what the heck is it? says that, "it is a day set aside for Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the Church's missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice."
At Intake, we faithfully read Pope John Paul II's Encyclical called Mission of the Redeemer (if you're feeling fancy - in Latin: Redemptoris Missio). This work by JPII is getting me super pumped up about Missions. He says in the encyclical that World Missions Day is a day in "which seeks to heighten awareness of the missions, as well as to collect funds for them, is an important date in the life of the Church, because it teaches how to give: as an offering made to God, in the Eucharistic celebration and for all the missions of the world." In this encyclical he says that the church is in the "new springtime" but Catholic Foreign Missionaries in the world are decreasing and the "missionary drive has always been a sign of vitality, just as its lessening is a sign of a crisis of faith." Honestly, we have a sick Church. Our Director, Joseph says that if our church was healthy we would have foreign and stateside missionaries in every parish and in every diocese throughout the world proclaiming the Gospel and serving the poor.

So I've gathered that this is the point of World Missions Day: to remind the church the importance of Missions, to renew the zeal for the Gospel, to increase knowledge of Missionary activity throughout the world, and to remind the Church that we are ALL called to be Missionaries.

In the time of the Apostles, being a missionary was a normal vocation and the entire church was missionary through witness of personal conduct and through proclaiming the Gospel whenever and wherever they could. Pope Francis even says that, "Everyone should be able to experience the joy of being loved by God, the joy of salvation! It is a gift that one cannot keep to oneself, but it is to be shared. If we want to keep it only to ourselves, we will become isolated, sterile and sick Christians. The proclamation of the Gospel is part of being disciples of Christ and it is a constant commitment that animates the whole life of the Church."

So if we, the church, do not act as the Apostles did and proclaim the Gospel - we are not being good Christians. We are withholding truth and goodness from those who have yet to hear the good news.

On this world missions sunday weekend, remember that we are in the New Springtime of our Church, we are ALL called to be missionaries - whether you are stateside or foreign, and it is our duty as Catholic's to proclaim the Good News of Salvation to all those who have never heard of it before!

So Church, I'm talking to all you fellow Catholic people, get off your tuckus and DO something!!! There are SOO many videos and writings made by many great Saints and Popes and little baby lay missionaries like me who have an abundance of information about the urgency of missionary activity. So the resources and tools are out there, now it's your chance to getcha-self educated. Everyone of every culture, race, and belief have respect for Pope Francis so let's listen to this holy man when he says for us to make a mess of things!

Let's not be lukewarm or mundane; let's be SAINTS!

"The Missionary is the Saint"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jesus Thinks He's Funny

Small recap of the past week at Big Woods:
1. everyone is getting sick
2. the Bailey Family has lice
3. everyone is sick
4. we have bed bugs

Oh yeah, it's been crazy. Community life has definitely not been a breeze, but somehow (by the grace of God) we are not all going crazy and laughter still fills all of the rooms. When one of the babies started getting a cough, we knew it wouldn't be long till it spread to almost all 40+ of us. Then, the whispering began of one of the 4 Bailey daughters having lice eggs in her hair... of course it spread. Each day another person gets infected with the sore throat, coughing, sneezy, and achy-ness and the smell of the essential oils fills up the rooms.

In the Annex (the place where I live with 3 other girls), 2 of the girls have been complaining of being itchy and jokingly claimed it was bed bugs. Well, I thought they were just being dramatic because I wasn't itchy except for my absurd amounts of mosquito bites on my legs. Since they thought they may be allergic to something in the bed, they got some plastic covers to put on it and then they found it.... bed bugs. So we've been living almost 3 weeks among bed bugs that have bitten us and have comfortably lived in our house among us. This afternoon after our work day we had to take out all of our clothes in trash bags, seal them and put them outside so the sun can suffocate and kill the bugs. All four of us put our clothes outside, took 3 pairs of clothes and put them in the dryer on high heat and showered so we can have clothes until Sunday. Luckily tomorrow morning we are having an exterminator come and fumigate our whole place but now we are all separated living in empty spaces around Big Woods.
After putting all of our clothes in trash bags outside, we left to go to Christ in the City which is like a Young Adult Adoration/Praise and Worship/Fellowship thing. I couldn't help but laugh at all that is going on.

This week I have been in really great communication with Jesus. Like, really good. I've just been straight up and treating him like a friend and a teacher and a brother. I told Jesus that I am happy to be here and to have this wonderful strong two-way relationship with Him. I also said how things have been easy...I haven't really struggled with anything. I like everyone, I haven't been worked too hard, the service days have been really good for my prayer life and have been very helpful in teaching me how to pray with people. Of course, sometimes I get overwhelmed with studying and reading and comprehending all of our reading material...but if that is my biggest struggle - praise God! This has been easy so far, no manual labor to make me sweat, the roomies are so dynamic and fun, the community is crazy beautiful... I have it easy! No complaints. HA soooo, have you ever heard of the saying "be careful what you say/pray for and make sure you are really specific"?
Well, God just thinks He's reaaaal funny. Today I overslept, ran into a lot of inanimate objects, almost broke my ankle, then almost broke my foot, found out we had bed bugs, moved all of my stuff outside, shrunk some of my clothes and then finally I thought about, "What if it rains and all of our clothes are outside?" ...not even a millisecond after this thought, one of my roommates runs in and says, "you will not believe it. it's pouring." Soooo we had to go get our stuff and move it under the back porch of the Big House.
Normally, I probably would be crying because it is all just so overwhelming... but I am laughing. This is insane, but it is a beautiful adventure. I haven't complained once because there is nothing to complain about! God is good, life is good, my family back home is good - so there is no need to worry. God is completely taking care of me and I have absolutely no need to worry. Although my roommates now may thing the bed bug epidemic may be my fault since I told God my life is "easy" hahaha

But really, we should rejoice in the good times and the bad, when we are sick or healthy, when we are infected with lice or bed bugs or when we are..not infected with lice or bed bugs. "I trust in your faithfulness. Grant my heart joy in your help, That I may sing of the Lord, 'How good our God has been to me!'" Psalm 13:6

So with my scrapes and bruises and sore throat and now that I am in a clean bug free bed with a joy filled spirit I can say: "In peace I shall lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me secure." Psalm 4:9