My name is Bethany Szamocki, I am 23 years old and I’m from Springfield, Illinois. I come from a family of nine. I'm the second oldest of seven kids. My parents have been married for 23 years. I was a kid who loved Jesus growing up and who was always the first one to raise their hand in Sunday school classes. It wasn’t until about eighth grade when I was hit with my first opportunity to suffer.
I was going into my freshman year, very excited to start my life as a high school student, when all of a sudden my parents made the decision to move to a new state, I was crushed. Instead of dealing with my emotions I bottled them up and decided to hold resentment and anger towards my parents and especially towards God. Although I never stopped believing in God I sure did treat him like he didn’t exist. It wasn’t until my junior year where I hit my rock bottom and knew that I needed supernatural help and so I called upon the Lord and I asked him for his forgiveness. I remember asking God for a second chance, a second chance to be a better person, a second chance to change my life, and a second chance to finally achieve true happiness. This is what led me to serve with NET Ministries for a couple years after high school. My first year I was stationed on the east side of the United States, then I was asked to serve for a month in Scotland, and finally I was sent to Southern California for the last year of my mission. It was on my last year of mission that I came across the Missionary Intern Program with Star. One of my teammates attended the parish and spoke very highly of the missionary program. For Thanksgiving that year we got to spend our break at his house in Washington and that is when I got to attend mass at OLSOS. I have vivid memories not so much of what Star looked like but what I felt when I was there. I can recall a great sense of the Holy Spirit‘s presence in the church and it felt as though the whole community knew that Christ is present in the Eucharist. I’ve been to Catholic Church my whole life and I had never felt so a part of the body of Christ than I did in that moment. That is what truly inspired me to apply for this mission program. My first year serving here with Star of the Sea, I was put in charge of the Confirmation program in the Young Adults Ministry. I loved every minute of it: I was challenged, I was formed, and I was loved by the parish and my team. This year I will be in charge of the Young Adults ministry. I am very excited to see what will come of this year. As impatient as I am, the Lord is so good at surprises and He always has the best ones in store for us.
My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight • CS Lewis