Monday, April 21, 2014

The Return to Nebraska

I ventured back to what some might call The Good Life and what others might call Nebraska on Saturday. Not only did I attend my very first Easter Vigil (I know, I know), but I had the privilege of watching Jiayuan enter the Catholic Church.

When I was a missionary at UNL, I had seven disciples who I would meet with on a weekly basis. Olivia, was one of those girls. Olivia had been randomly assigned to be Jiayuan's roommate the summer before I arrived on the scene. Jiayuan watched Olivia go to Mass every day and became extremely curious about who this Jesus person was and why everyone who knew him seemed to be so nice and joyful all the time. One day, Jiayuan asked Olivia about it, and started on her own journey to know The Lord.

Olivia, Jiayuan, & me.
I should mention that Jiayuan is an international student who had never heard of Jesus or the Catholic Church before coming to Nebraska. After an extended interest in The Church that summer, Olivia introduced us so she could know more people at Newman. Jiayuan taught me so much about being a missionary and evangelization. I loved our weekly lunch dates and her curiosity and the time we spent becoming friends. It was crazy to watch her go from knowing nothing to being so overwhelmed at SEEK to having a complete conversion after her mission trip to NYC. I am so happy for her, and proud of her courage to pursue Truth in her life.

Sunday marked FEASTER, and after getting hailed on while playing crochet, some friends whipped out their guitars to play for a bit. We proceeded to hang out in the living room for the next eight hours playing, singing, and laughing.  Father (Danger) Holdren is the best (better than JohnMarc).

I think the best part of visiting UNL this weekend was how normal it was. One student came up to me an hour into the Vigil party Saturday night and said, "I'm SO sorry I didn't freak out when I first saw you here - I just saw you sitting at a table and it just seemed so normal, like you still belonged here!"

But here's the thing, it is so not normal. While I was sitting in the Vigil, I was staring at the back of Olivia's head, watching Jiayuan get baptized, and I was just overcome by how strange it was that I was there. How incredibly blessed I am to have entered into the lives of these students for a year. They loved me well and allowed me to speak into their relationship with Jesus and challenge them to go deeper, to step outside of themselves, and to share His love. And here I was, a year later, sitting alongside them welcoming a friend into this family. 

I was further floored at the afterparty when students would come up to me and immediately become vulnerable with me. Many girls shared right where their hearts were at, and I stepped right into my old role as friend and mentor. Not only was I able to challenge them to make Christ more of a priority, they received it and really listened. 

This is the type of friendship that emerges from 40+ hours in a van in one week.
I am still so humbled by my time as a missionary at UNL, by my continued ability to serve FOCUS on the Events Team, and that others pray for me and support me financially to make this mission a reality.

I am so honored to have been called to FOCUS, to have had the opportunity to run alongside so many wonderful missionaries and students, and to continue to lead others to Jesus through these events. Thank you to all of you who  have walked alongside me during each step of this journey with FOCUS. My heart is humbled by your love and full of gratitude. 

 Jesus, thank you for counting me worthy, for giving me the grace to respond to your call!

Linking up with Stephanie today because everything in this post makes my heart extremely happy. He is risen! Hallelujah!


  1. I LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO HANG OUT WITH ME THIS WEEKEND. Seriously. It meant the world to catch up with you and remember our friendship :) You are the best.

    1. GAH, love you too friend. It was so so so fun to hang out. LET'S TALK SOON.

  2. It was so great to see you!! It was great to catch up and hear you talk about the work you do, instead of reading it on your blog (not that I don't enjoy it haha) :)

    1. So great to see you too Erica! Glad to hear you're doing well! Hopefully I'll see you again soon.

  3. Replies
    1. I only try to be as cool as you, Laura. Why didn't we take a picture!?!

  4. Wow! So much joy in your Easter!! So much!! Happy Easter! :D And thanks for linking up again. LOVE this!!

    1. Thanks!! Happy Easter to you too!!