Hello everyone! My name is Nina, I am 23 years old and I started in September to serve as a full time missionary with Life Teen. You will be reading more from me and how God is working in my life, but this first blog I mainly want to share with you how I got here, at Covecrest.
I am 23 years old, I graduated from university with a Master’s degree in one of the Behavioral Sciences and I am from… the NETHERLANDS!! Yes, that iny-tiny country somewhere in Europe, where everyone wears wooden shoes and eats Gouda cheese all the time, while sitting in their garden with tulips and a windmill… Dutch is my first language, but since I learned English in school I am able to write this blog in English, yay. I’m from the south part of the Netherlands, the province named Limburg. The last five years of my life I lived in Utrecht, a great city in the middle of the country, where I went to university.
I grew up in an amazing, loving family, which I’m very thankful for. My parents still live in my hometown, my eldest sister Stephie lives in Washington DC, and my younger one, Elise, lives in Utrecht. I was raised Catholic all my life. As a family, we went to Mass every Sunday, we would pray together and read the bible. I attended youth groups at a young age, in which I learned a lot about the Catholic faith and about who God is. However, I never really experienced God’s existence in a very personal way. When I was 15 I got the opportunity to go to Saint Louis with a group of people from the Netherlands that wanted to start Life Teen in my country. It was there, during an XLT, in adoration, that I actually felt God’s presence. Both in the Eucharist, as in my own heart. I just knew He was true and so was His love for me. At that moment I made the decision to go for it! I really wanted to learn more about God, grow in faith and knowledge and share this with the people around me. I got involved in Life Teen in Roermond as a band member… and I have been since, all the way through university. During my last year of university, I started to get more involved in a student parish from the brothers of St. John, in Utrecht. Here I got to grow in my faith through visiting Mass more regularly during the week, silent adoration and philosophical and theological teachings. And I experienced all this being a part of a wonderful community, with students of my age, all journeying with and towards Christ.
I graduated in the summer of 2011.The months after that I applied for a job and started to work part time. For the last years I had been thinking about the possibility of doing a year of service after I graduated and this desire kept on coming back. I felt a little bit restless, not sure what I wanted to do, or what the Lord wanted me to do with my life at that point. I realized I was in need of focusing my life on Christ more and I wanted to invest in my relationship with Christ. When I’m confused and not sure what to do, I can get a bit cranky… especially when people start asking me questions I’ve been thinking about myself but haven’t quite figured out yet. So one night my dad asked me about this idea of applying for Life Teen missions. I was watching a movie and was a little annoyed by him asking me at that time, so I didn’t really respond. But that night I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I was so glad he brought it up! It was a little scary, the idea of leaving my family, friends, community and country for such a long time. But at the same time I got really excited about it! It was like I finally opened my heart more to the Holy Spirit and God’s plan for my life. Lent had just gotten started, and I decided to pray about it during this season of grace… But after one week I was already pretty sure that God was calling me to apply (as I said, what a season of grace, hah!). The next morning I talked about it with my mom and sisters. The idea of applying for this mission and becoming a missionary gave me such a joyful feeling and a great sense of piece came over me. So I decided to jump, take the leap of faith and trust God that, if it was His will, I would be accepted and if not, something else would come up for me.
Many weeks, pages of application, prayers and skype calls later I was invited by Life Teen to be a full time missionary… and here I am! It is wonderful to see how God is faithfull in fulfilling the desires of our hearts! I am already so thankful that God has called me here, it is a true blessing to be here and get the opportunity to grow closer to Christ and share this with all the people in the community and those I encounter here. Please feel free to join me on this mission through prayer and reading the blogs I’ll be putting up here. You can always send me an email ([email protected]) if you have any questions. God bless you!
“Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!” (1 Chronicles 16:8)