Last weekend, SPO and FOCUS at Seton Hall hosted a Halloween party! It was a great night of dancing, talking, eating, and dressing up. It was a welcome alternative to the other Halloween parties around campus that usually feature revealing costumes and drinking. We teamed up with FOCUS (another Catholic missionary group on campus) to put on this event. Ben and I were dressed up like a black and white photo. It took a lot of makeup and hair spray, but, in certain light we definitely looked like an old photo.
A picture is worth a thousand words and I’d like to share more of the pictures from SPO events, so I am going to start Photo Friday on Heartfelt Musings. Each week, I’ll post a picture and tell you about something that is going on with SPO or my life in New Jersey. Come back each week to see something new!
Back in September, we had a small group kick-off night so that students could get their books, meet their small group leaders, and learn a little bit about the reason that we have small groups. These small groups are groups of 5-7 students that meet weekly to discuss a section of the book Starting Point by Andy Stanley. This weekly meeting is a time for students to talk about life and faith in an environment that fosters good conversation, invites thought-provoking questions, and builds relationships of trust.
Photo by Anthony Toung Cheong, sophomore at Seton Hall University
My work is mainly in the office; I am not on the ground every day eating lunch with students, hanging out with students, and living with students, like all of the other missionaries are. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to witness the work that the Lord is doing on campus, and I was struck by the impact that he is making on students. This semester, our missionaries are leading groups of students in a book study that involves watching a short video on DVD. I lead one of these groups and I had forgotten to take the disc out of my computer before I gave the (now empty) case to Annie, the next missionary leading a group. An hour before her group, Annie called me asking for the DVD. I told her I could be there shortly and bring it to her.
Then, before I could leave to bring her the DVD, I got caught up working on a reply to an email that came in. Pretty soon, 5 minutes before her group started, I was speed-walking across campus to bring her the disc. I was so frustrated with myself that I had gotten distracted and was going to be late to bring it to her. But, the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves, and he had something to show me. As I climbed the 5 flights of stairs to Annie’s dorm room, I was getting more and more frustrated with myself. By the time I made it to her door, I was out of breath and wondering why I always had to be running so late.
I knocked. A student opened the door and I was greeted by the sight of five or six college women sitting in a circle eating hot soup. They were talking and laughing. A few were still serving soup in the kitchen. The smell of soup and a welcoming atmosphere wafted out the door. These women, freshman who had recently left the familiar world of family and high school, had found people to connect with. They had formed a community.
I needed to see that. The timing was perfect. If I had come over with the DVD when Annie first called me, I would have come over to an empty apartment, said hi to Annie, and then left. But, God wanted me to see this scene. He needed me to see that the work we are doing is not limited to what I do on my laptop or in a spreadsheet. The time I put into ordering books, training student missionaries, keeping track of the budget so that we can buy materials for our events, and sending countless emails isn’t the reason I do my job. I do my job because the work we are doing is creating community, building relationships, and changing lives. The Lord knows what we need, and when we need it. He knew I needed to be late that day. He had something to show me.
Yesterday, Pope Francis arrived in Washington, D.C. to begin his trip to the United States. He will be staying in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia. A group of missionaries and students from Seton Hall will be traveling down to Philadelphia on Friday to see him at The World Meeting of the Families on Saturday. Watch my instagram account for more up-t0-date news about our trip to Philly (my instagram account also posts to my Facebook and Twitter). You can also see my latest pictures on the right-side column of my blog. It will be a crazy weekend and there will probably be bigger crowds than I have ever seen before, but it is going to a once-in-a-lifetime weekend.
If you want to follow along on social media, our SPO crew will be using the hashtag #SPOpeVisit. We will be tweeting from both the SPO National and SPO New Jersey Twitter accounts, which you can follow here:
For live streaming of all that the Pope is doing, check out the Vatican Youtube channel here: Vatican Youtube
This post is long (very long) overdue. I’ve been in New Jersey for three weeks (as of today). SO much has been going on in the past three weeks that it would take pages to write about it all. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I am going to retell the highlights of the last few weeks in pictures. This is a long post, so stick with me!
As you can see, it has been a busy three weeks since I got to New Jersey. It has been a fairly smooth transition, though, and I have settled in to my new apartment on campus. I will share more about where I live and what I do for SPO next week. Thanks for taking a look at my first few weeks on the East Coast!
On May 27th (only 12 days away!) I will begin working as a mission leader for Saint Paul’s Outreach. Saint Paul’s Outreach is an organization that ministers to college students and leads them in growing as Christians. As I begin this new journey, I am going to use this blog to share photos and stories as I move across the country and begin this new work and calling.
Over the summer I will write about how God led me to serve with Saint Paul’s Outreach, what I will be doing as a campus missionary, and how my journey is going so far. I will spend the summer in Saint Paul, Minnesota building a support team to fund and pray for my mission work. In August, I will attend training and work at an event called The School of New Evangelization (a conference for students from all over the country). After SNE, I will depart for one of SPO’s chapters (in New Jersey, Ohio, or Kansas.) Please pray for me as I prepare to begin this new chapter and embark on this crazy new journey!
P.S. I updated the look of the blog! I hope you like it 🙂