Texas, here we come!

Good afternoon!

I’ll give you a little background before I get to explaining the title of the post. I have been serving as a campus missionary for the last year at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Saint Paul’s Outreach has chapters in seven states across the country. Each year, missionaries are sent out to work at these different chapters. Some missionaries return to the campuses where they went to school. Most missionaries embark on an adventure to a school that they have never been to before. It’s an exciting, but often scary, proposition: will you move across the country to serve at a school you’ve never been to and with students you’ve never met?

This past week all of the SPO missionaries have been gathered together for our first training of the year. We are learning how to raise funds for our mission work and how to explain what SPO does to those who will be partnering with us (both financially and spiritually) in the coming year. And, for new mission leaders, training is the time where they find out where they will be serving the next year. Individual mission leaders find out where they are going personally throughout the week, but we do not learn who we are serving with until the team announcements on Tuesday. It’s a time of great excitement and hope as everyone learns who they will be serving with for the next year!

And now for the big announcement…drum roll please…

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Ben (my Fiancé) and I will be serving at Texas State University this coming year!

We are sad to be leaving Seton Hall, but excited to serve with our new team and meet all the students in Texas!

Here’s the story of how this came to be: We had a great year this past year and I met a ton of amazing people. In January, Ben and I prayed about whether God was calling us to continue working in college ministry with Saint Paul’s Outreach. We got a resounding yes from Him and planned to continue for another year at Seton Hall. But, God sometimes has different plans for us than what we expect.

Around Easter, our supervisor came to us with a proposition. They needed a Mission Director and an administrator at Texas State University this coming year. Ben had served at Texas State the previous year, and it would be beneficial for them to have someone who had been there before lead the team. So, they asked us if we were willing to move.

Through a lot of prayer and conversations, Ben and I decided that if the Lord was asking us to step outside of our comfort zone and move to a new campus, we wanted to say YES! to his call. It was a difficult decision to make because we have so many friends at Seton Hall, but we know that the Lord has great things in store for those who follow where he leads. We will definitely miss Seton Hall and our team from last year, but we know that the upcoming year will bring great blessings and abundant grace.

This post is the beginning of another great adventure. We will spend the summer raising financial and spiritual support for our mission work, getting married, finding a new apartment in Texas, preparing for the year ahead, and moving. It will be a busy time, so please pray for all the transitions coming up. I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us!

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Catching Up

Hello!

I had no idea it had been a month since my last post until I logged on to write this one and saw that it had been that long. I apologize for the silence. So much has happened in the past month! Here’s a recap:

The SPO NJ Benefit banquet went splendidly! The event ran smoothly, the speaker was phenomenal, and we reached our fundraising budget. There’s a ton more I want to tell you about this event, so I will be dedicating another post to that soon.

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Dr. Robert George speaking at the SPO New Jersey Benefit Banquet.

Ben and I went on a Marriage in the Holy Spirit weekend to prepare for our wedding this summer. It was a beautiful weekend filled with wisdom, wonderful examples of marriages, and time for conversation. It was definitely a blessing to our preparations!

The end of the school year was filled with goodbye and end-of-the-year parties. There was a pool party, a good-bye-to-the-missionaries party, a Campus Ministry year-end lunch, and many other smaller get-togethers to say goodbye. It was sad to have to say goodbye to so many people we have gotten to know over the past year. Leaving sure is hard.

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End of the year pool party for the students involved in our Formation Program.

Our staff evaluated and celebrated the past year at our spring staff days. We left campus to stay at a gorgeous lake house and evaluate our successes, growth, and areas for improvement. We also had the opportunity to honor one another and share how the other people on our team are awesome people!

Ben and I took one last trip (for now) into New York City and finally saw Les Mis. It was an incredible show and I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to see a musical. We also traveled into Brooklyn and visited a marked called Artists and Fleas that I’ve wanted to see all year. We finished off our trip with a dinner of delicious fish tacos. Despite all of it’s craziness, it has been fun to have the opportunity to visit New York City many times this year and we will miss being so close to it.

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Last meal in New York City!

After all the year-end fun, it was time to pack all our belongings back into my Prius. Let’s just say that it was exercise in efficiency, patience, and teamwork. We got most of our things packed up and only had to send a few things back to Minnesota with a few of our teammates. We used every square inch (including the glove-compartment, under the seats, and in the cup holders) to pack our things.

Then, it was time to embark on the adventure of driving half-way across the country back to Minnesota. We stopped in Columbus, Ohio and stayed at two of the households there. I had never been to Columbus, but it was a cool city to visit. Then we drove to Appleton, Wisconsin, where I dropped Ben off at his parents’ house. We unpacked Ben’s stuff and then I made the last leg of the journey back to Minnesota on my own. It was a long time of driving, but I made it back just in time for…

My sister’s graduation! Laura graduated from the University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!) and I made it just in time to see her walk across the stage. I am so proud of her and all she has done. Her next step: applying to graduate school to be a Physicians Assistant.

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Laura’s Graduation in Northrop Auditorium

The next weekend my sister and one of my bridesmaids hosted a camping-themed bridal shower for me. It was so much fun and I loved getting to see my Minnesota friends again. It was a blessing to get to pray with friends and share this special time with them!

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Great friends at an awesome bridal shower.

They day after the bridal shower, my parents and I headed to central Wisconsin to meet Ben’s parents. We’ve been trying to plan a time for our parents to meet each other, but it hadn’t worked out before this. We grilled and had a picnic and are happy to report that everyone got along splendidly.

I have hit full-blown wedding planning mode. I’ve been making pocket squares, planting centerpieces, scouring thrift stores for vases, practicing making bouquets, designing the programs, sewing alterations to my dress, shopping for bridesmaid gifts, and the list goes on and on. There’s a lot to do in the next few weeks, but thank goodness for Asana, my to-do list app, so I know exactly what needs to get done each day.

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Going to the farmer’s market (one of my favorite places) to buy cut flowers to practice bouquet making.

And now, I’m off to pick Ben up from the bus station because he’s back in town for the first of two SPO staff trainings this summer. Training doesn’t start until Friday, but we have a little bit of wedding planning to do tomorrow.  It’s been a busy month, and today, June 1st, starts another crazy one. But, I’m excited to kick off another year of mission work at training and meet all the new Mission Leaders. Stay tuned for more of my adventures from training!