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