Getting to Know Our Missionaries Better...
God has a plan for each of our lives, but He has also given us all the free will to choose the path we follow. Now sometimes His plan seems to just line up perfectly. You could fall in love with someone, discern the relationship, and get married. And those times are great, because when you feel in sync with God, nothing seems to be able to stop you. However, not every case flows so smoothly. Sometimes we hear God’s call to something radically different than what we had planned for our own lives, and that is where trust comes into play.
To give an example of this, I’ll use my own journey. When I first went off to college at the University of Florida (Go Gators), I started off studying Chemistry, on a pre-pharmacy track. In high school I had always enjoyed my advanced science and math courses, and figured that must be what I’m supposed to do. Turns out I hated it. The more I studied it, the less I wanted to do it. I simply felt obligated to because that is what I knew, and anything less just felt like I wouldn’t be living up to my potential.
I took this turmoil into prayer, and was met with even more of a call away from it. I didn’t understand; God had gifted me with a mind that grasped complex math and science with relative ease, but I kept hearing Him say that isn’t where He wanted me. With much reluctance, I began trying to discern where else He could be calling me, and started exploring in school and in work.
In my discernment, I discovered a love for speaking and writing. Mind you, I still took a job teaching math, but I knew that God wanted me to use these gifts for something. I started taking up leadership roles in campus ministry, and giving talks regularly. I looked forward to going out onto campus to go evangelize in the breezeway. I was excited when I got to talk to people, and even more so when it was about the faith. Looking back now, all of this makes sense as to how I’m called to serve as a missionary, but at the time I viewed it as just a fun thing to do.
This leads me to my main point. Evaluate what it is in your life that gives you joy. Stop reading this for a minute and just reflect upon the things you enjoy and are most free in doing. Got that in mind? Now evaluate what you are doing regularly in your life. If the two coincide with each other, then right there you are on track with God’s will! If not, think about why that’s the case. I know when I gave up my comfortable job teaching math to become a missionary I struggled a good bit. I was going from making a nice living, to trusting all my financial needs in God’s graces. More than halfway through my first year, I can now say that every obstacle that has been placed before me has simply been removed by God. He’ll use the generosity of others to help me through.
Trusting in God’s will is not easy. Sometimes we’ll go through loss of a loved one, or have to deal with an illness or injury that is out of our control. Sometimes he’ll call us to move across the country to serve in ministry. And sometimes His call is what we are already following. All of these cases though rely upon our trust that He desires for us what is best, and that we embrace His plan with joyful hearts.
“Those who know your name trust in you; you never forsake those who seek you, Lord.”
Whether an introvert or an extrovert, most of us hate sitting in silence. We’ll go out looking for others to talk with, or blast the radio when driving in the car alone. We just don’t want it to seem as if we are alone.
Now as an extrovert, who will walk outside to find someone to go talk to when I get bored, I am just as guilty of this. But it is really when I take this mentality into prayer that I hurt myself the most. There have been countless times I’ve gone into the church for a holy hour, only to spend the entire hour talking at God, as opposed to talking with God. Prayer is meant to be a conversation with God, not a monologue.
Now I know what you are saying, “It’s not like God will talk right back to me.” And you know what, you’re right, for the vast majority of us, we won’t hear God audibly speak while on earth. Perhaps you may be one of the future saints who will hear Him audibly speak, and to that I just want to ask if you could ask Him a few things for me, because I would love to get some clear answers.
So if God isn’t going to audibly speak to me, why should I sit in silence for a response in prayer? Well, while we may not hear that audible voice, He can still speak to us. In my own life, there was an occasion I was sitting down waiting for the Eucharist to process in at a FOCUS conference. I was feeling incredibly anxious, and I didn’t understand why. I decided to silence my heart to just prepare myself for Jesus, and as soon He processed in, I felt an overwhelming call to missionary life. It had been on my mind, but never in a way that I thought I should apply and then move across the country for a year, giving up my comfortable job. But I knew in that moment that God had something amazing planned for me with missionary work, and in trusting Him, I am now 3000 miles away from home, ministering to people every time I step outside.
Now that is my experience with silence, but not everyone will be struck with a sudden realization. Maybe you are already serving where God wants you, maybe you’re already following His plan for your life. In those cases you may just be given a gentle feeling of peace in the silence. When presented with a few options for a step in your life, bring the to God. Let Him reveal where He wants you through the peace He gives you with each option.
Now, we are still about a month away from the beginning of our Lenten season, but I wanted to get a head start on figuring out what it is that I should be sacrificing for Lent. I feel that to grow in holiness I can sacrifice my radio for Lent. Instead of blasting music in the car while driving, I can sit in the silence, take the time to pray, and to listen to God speak to me. So I want to challenge you to join me, and spend more time in the silence, so that you can hear God’s will in your own life.
We've been back in the swing of things for a few months now, and as Thanksgiving approaches we wanted to take this time to share what we are thankful for!
For starters, we are thankful for all of the youth, young adults, and families that we get to serve every day. It is truly a blessing to be surrounded by such a warm and welcoming community that is devoted towards growing closer to God each day. When most people outside of the Star community think of youth ministry, they see it as the first real introduction and encounter for teens. Here at Star, we have come to find how deep the knowledge of the faith and love for God is in the youth at Star of the Sea. It is incredible being given the opportunity to delve so much deeper, and have the ability to learn ourselves from those we are mentoring.
Now we wouldn't run the ministries we have without the generous servant hearts of our core teams. All the work they do, helping us plan events, leading small groups, giving talks at programs, and too many other tasks to begin to list, is what truly makes our programs great. These individuals give their time every week to help us serve the community, and each one of them brings their own unique gifts to the table, without which, the ministries would not be the same. So to all of our amazing volunteers, thank you.
And finally, we are thankful for being given this opportunity to serve the community. All those who have made it possible, and continue to make it possible, for us to serve as missionaries have blessed us with this wonderful opportunity. We could never have imagined all the graces that God has been able to pour out on us through serving as missionaries here at Star.
This Thanksgiving, we will be keeping you in prayer, and we hope that you are all able to celebrate this time with loving friends and family.
>>>The Star Missionaries
Happy 2nd week of Advent!
'Tis the season to patiently wait for the coming of Jesus! ... & play in S N O W.
Bridgette, Tess, & Gabby took a trip up to the Cascade Mountains this past week where they found themselves admist the beautiful, cold, white fluff-- also known as snow.
We hope & pray that you have been able to dive right into the Advent season this year. We pray that your heart is becoming full of hope & joy as we prepare for Christmas!
Know that we are praying for YOU. Please pray for us too!
Our Lady Star of the Sea-- Pray for us!
>>> The Missionary Girls,
Bridgette, Tess, & Gabby
The time is H E R E to begin all of our Youth Programs again--& your missionary friends are ready to let the fun begin! Ignite, Sparks, Teen Confirmation, Fidelis & Fraternus, will be kicking-off in just a short couple weeks. We are excited to finally be able to meet all of you & see what the Lord has in-store for each of us as we journey through this year together.
This year, Tess Magin will be leading our High School youth group, Ignite. Bridgette Rueff will be leading our ladies' group, Fidelis & our Middle School youth group, Sparks, again. Gabby Herndon will be leading Teen Confirmation this year.
THANK YOU to all who have welcomed us so warmly these past couple months as we have been transitioning into this coming year. All three of us are feeling settled-in & confident in what the Lord is calling each of us to do. We cannot wait to meet you all & dive even deeper into our Catholic faith!
We are praying for YOU. Please pray for us too!
Our Lady Star of the Sea-- pray for us!
Bridgette, Tess, & Gabby
2014-2015's Missionary Internship is coming to a close! We can't believe it's already been a whole year! There's just one more week to wrap up programs, a couple closing retreats and then we'll be saying goodbye to Our Lady Star of the Sea. Malcolm will be the first leave, but then the rest of us will shortly follow. Malcolm flies to Massachusetts on June 4th to visit with his family before heading over to Columbus, Ohio to continue with his education. Jacque will head down to her hometown is Salem, Oregon where she'll start school. David will be moving back into Seattle where he'll also go back to school. Josh and Bridgette will be heading back to Southern California. Josh will continue his education and Bridgette will take a short vacation before coming back for another year with Our Lady Star of the Sea!
Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare to make our transitions!
Praise be Jesus Christ!
This week we are all getting back into the swing of things in the office. We are super excited to be planning several big events for the youth coming soon and are feeling more and more inspired as we begin to see real change in our youth, giving us a necessary boost in our daily lives. Fraternus is now collectively preparing for their spring excursion, as Josh is cementing his role as commander. More and more youth are becoming involved with our various programs. Bridgette is incredibly happy to begin her planning promotion for the junior high rally, themed Know Mercy, and her 8th grade retreat. Jacque and David are finishing their preparations for confirmation, with their incredible retreat starting tomorrow. Malcolm is especially pleased about how Ignite Youth Group is progressing, and is hopeful for the future. David is stoked for several young adult events, which promise to be a blast. As we progress deeper in Ordinary Time and our preparations for Lent, things begin to flow more smoothly, in the office and around town.
Please pray for us and our youth!
-The Missionaries of Our Lady Star of the Sea
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
We're all trickling back in to Star of the Sea after having had wonderful Christmas breaks. Feeling renewed and refreshed we're all very excited to head right back into our programs! We're also so happy and ready to welcome Josh Hollcraft into our team. Josh is 20 years old and from central California. We're so sure that he'll be warmly welcomed into this parish family, as we are all excited to have him!
We'll be sure to keep you updated!
May the joy of the new born King fill your hearts!
Lately, things have been pretty busy here at Our Lady Star of the Sea. We just got back from thanksgiving break and now we're trying to wrap up all our programs for this semester. That means retreats, a vocation day, the Advent mission, and Christmas parties!
Starting December 18th we'll all be heading home for a couple of weeks to spend time with our loved ones for Christmas! We'll all be returning in January, but with a twist! There's going to be a new missionary intern joining us! His name is Josh Hollcraft and we can't wait for him to join our team!
Please keep us in your prayers as we return home and also for Josh as he prepares to become a Star of the Sea Missionary Intern!
May the peace of the Christ fill your hearts!
Fun Fact about missionary life: Every month the missionaries have what's called a team day. What that means is that once a month on Monday we spend intentional team bonding time just as together. No ministry related things or outside friends, just one another. Last month we got a permit, went out into the Olympic National Forest and chopped down our own Christmas trees! This month we went to Leavenworth, a small German themed town, and it was snowing! It was so much fun hanging out and playing in the snow.
Welcome! This is the first update of the year for the 2015-2016 missionary team at Our Lady Star of the Sea.
It's been about five months since we arrived in Bremerton, but we've long since been settled into the routine of missionary work in this beautiful parish. There are so many wonderful people here and we can't wait to get to know them!
Starting out here is crazy exciting and kind of intimidating, but the people are so welcoming and hospitable that transitioning into this Parish has been so great. We're very well taken care of here! Eager to spread God's love and inspire the youth of this parish to do the same we're settling in for the long haul!
We'll do our best to update this blog regularly for our missionaries next year (whoever you are!) so that you can get a taste of what to expect here at Our Lady Star of the Sea.
CHECK OUT our Missionary Podcast on YouTube!
Star of the Sea's Missionary Interns
Young adults from around the country come together to live and serve the Lord at this beautiful Catholic parish in the Pacific Northwest.