Let me tell you one thing about our life here: it’s amazing! God is continuing to show up in so many uncountable ways—I love it. Our life is about to become a whole lot busier (at least externally…I feel like we’ve been busy since we’ve arrived here!) in the next month or so, as God has given us a whole host of opportunities for reaching out and building community: a Core retreat for the team here in Süsterseel in November, an XLT at a parish in Roermond (NL), and two retreats for teens and young adults in December. We’ll also be spending some time with the Core teams from parishes in the Netherlands when Chris and Erik fly out in December—so excited to see some of our missionary family! There’s just so much, I could go on and on about all the ways God is providing us to be able to invite people into deeper relationship with Him.
This theme of invitation has come up consistently in our prayer (and more than once on my blog, ich glaube…). God is continuing to prove to us that all we can do is invite; nothing we could say, nothing we could do can inspire any conversion or change lives. Only God can change hearts. Our role is simply to say, “come and see.” But if nothing else, we’re learning that this posture of invitation has incredible results!
As I mentioned, we’re having a couple retreats for teens and young adults here in December—the Core is planning the Joyful Noise retreat for the teens, and Fr. Roland is preparing a silent retreat for young adults. Thanks be to God, we’ve had amazing response from teens who are signing up left and right to go! We’ve had to print out additional copies of retreat forms so that we can give them to more teens. One of the biggest glory moments for me came when one of the teens invited her friend from school to go on retreat with her. When we were talking about it in the Life Teen office the other day she said, “I’m a missionary!” with so much excitement in her face, it brought tears to my eyes (I think we startled her a little bit when we all shouted “Exactly! Yes, you are!” at the same time…). That’s what it’s all about! Little moments of invitation, one after the other, that lead up to more and more people saying “yes” to God and what He wants to do in their lives. (oh, and p.s. her friend is coming on the retreat. Further proof that sometimes an invitation is all you need…)
I think this section from our Rule of Life defines what this mission is all about:
“Life Teen Mission bases are welcome places—a place where people are refreshed, restored, revived, and experience God; where the focus is not to escape ‘normal life,’ but to pursue the face of God and encounter Him personally. […] Our goal is to conform our lives to the ultimate mission of the Church, the Great Commission: ‘Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations’ (Mt 28:19). We are committed to teach young people about God’s loving plan of salvation, to empower them with prayer and the truths of the Church, and to launch them into God’s mission.”
That one moment with that one teen in the office renewed my excitement for this mission, where more and more people are feeling empowered to live a missionary life—something we are all called to do—and invite people into relationship with Him. God has been doing the work long before we got here; we’re just now getting the chance—the privilege!—to watch it all unfold.