Tuesday, March 30, 2010

three new blogs below!!!


Fr. Paul, a priest at Holy Spirit Prep High School in Atlanta, was the priest for our girls retreat this weekend. On Palm Sunday He celebrated mass and shared a really good message with all of us. He spoke mainly about the part in the Gospel that read, “The Lord turned and looked at Peter…And Peter went out and wept bitterly.” LK 22:61-62. Fr. Paul asked us what we thought Jesus’ gaze looked like. Was it angry? Were His eyes rolling because Peter did not believe that he would deny Jesus? Were they crying? No. They were full of mercy. Peter looked into Jesus’ eyes after denying Him and found forgiveness and mercy. Fr. Paul then went on to talk about how Judas intentionally gave Jesus a kiss on the cheek so he would not have to look in Jesus’ eyes. Judas steered clear of the vision because he knew he would not be able to go through with his plan. Judas knew he would see mercy and understanding eyes that would be hard to deceive. Oh if only he had looked in Jesus’ eyes?

I have been thinking a lot about this message over the past couple days. I think I use to be really fearful to look into Jesus’ eyes because I knew my life would have to change. As I have begun to gaze into His eyes though, I have found my salvation, happiness, joy, mission, love, forgiveness, etc. I cannot turn away from His mercy! As we are now in Holy week and preparing for the death and resurrection of our Lord, let us gaze into His eyes and truly seek His mercy that He so willing died on the cross to give us. As it said in Liturgy of the Hours this morning, “My servant, The Just One, will justify many by taking their sins on himself.” He longs for your gaze!!!!

St. Monica's Girl Retreat

This past weekend the missionary girls were so blessed to help put on a retreat for St. Monica’s Life Teen girls. I have been sitting here for the last ten minutes trying to figure out what to say about how absolutely amazing this weekend was but I have no words. There were so many miracles and movements of the Holy Spirit that I was able to be a witness too that I will never forget. JJ told me that I need to just pick on highlight and write about it. So that is what I am going to do.

The theme of the retreat was FIAT which worked out perfectly because the retreat started the day after the annunciation. We gave talks about the different identities God calls women to be and how we are called to say YES to them just like Mary did. I began on friday night by talking about how God is pursuing you constantly. Sara spoke on being a daughter, Haylee on being a handmaid, Paola on Sister, and Megan on being the Bride of Christ. The girls were so open and so excited to dive right into these identities and the love God has for them. Every talk was so blessed by the Holy Spirit flowing through our words. After Paola’s talk was probably the time that most stuck out to me. Paola spoke about how we are responsible of leading each other to heaven, especially our sisters, through words, actions, blessings, etc. We entered into a time of adoration with the kneeler right on the altar in front of Jesus. One by one the girls walked up and knelt face to face with Jesus and then their sisters would be behind them praying for them. EVERY GIRL WENT UP!! Every girl encountered Jesus FACE TO FACE!!! They gazed into Him and knew that they could never be the same. It was so amazing that after they moved off the kneeler for the next girl to go up, they all just stayed and gathered around the altar and did not return to their seats. It was such an emotion night with so much prayer and blessings pouring out on everyone. The adoration lasted almost 3 hours and it felt like thirty minutes. We had a debrief session afterwards and it was amazing to hear how God was moving in these girls life. It was about 8 of the girls first retreat. Gosh I don’t think words can really explain what happened. And this was just one of the amazing moments!!!

Mission of the Redeemer (revisited)

There has been so much going on here at Covecrest but it is amazing how through all the doing I have still found time to be. The spirit of my prayer has been on fire lately. I have been enjoying so much spending time with the Lord as often as I physically can in the chapel as well as during my daily activities. I truly know now what St. Therese was talking about when she had no words to describe the things the Lord was doing in her heart. My encounters with the Lord have left me without words. My sisters and I are all training for a half marathon at the end of April (Country Music Marathon) and my running has turned into an amazing prayer time for me. But through it all I have been hearing God calling me deeper into BEING and asking me if my DOING is really helping me to grow? And if it isn’t then how can I make it an opportunity for growth? I have been praying through this for about a week and it has brought me back to Mission of the Redeemer, Pope John Paul II’s encyclical. As missionaries we were asked to read the encyclical before beginning our mission year. I read it like I would any assigned reading, kind of zoning out at times and not really retaining much. After six months of God filling my heart with an unending desire for mission, the encyclical has come alive for me and I cannot stop reading it. On the very first page John Paul quotes Corinthians saying, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.” WOW!!! It is my responsibility to be preaching the Good News with my whole being at every moment of everyday. Of course I have heard this plenty before but after two straight weeks of DOING I had to evaluate myself and see if that is what I was actually doing. Was I witnessing to the gospel every minute to the youth ministers, spring break work groups, visitors, retreat groups, etc? I realized that God was calling me deeper into my prayer at this moment to make sure that my doing was coming out of prayer. It all has to flow out of prayer because prayer is where I always encounter the Lord and I must know Him before I can preach Him. As a Covecrest staff and missionaries we have been trying to pray before each meal we serve, each work project we do, each task we undertake because our work MUST flow out of prayer and BEING present to the Lord! Mission of the Redeemer brought me back to what BEING a missionary meant again instead of the DOING of mission (which is very important but I must first be present to the LORD). Erik even started us having Mission of the Redeemer lunches…less idol conversation.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I promise when I have a moment to process what God has been doing to my heart, I will let you all know. Know that my heart is overflowing with His love and I do not think I have words to describe it (kind of like St. Therese).

Song: All of Creation- MercyME

Sunday, March 14, 2010

1 Cor 15:10 For By the grace of God I am who I am.

The End!

Friday, March 12, 2010


Alright so this is going to be really random BUT I was thinking yesterday about emotions and how most emotions usually inspire some kind of release. For example, sadness makes me want to release tears, anger makes me want to scream, joy makes me want to laugh, happiness makes me want to sing, etc. All have some form of release. Sometimes I just long to feel that release. I think that is why when I am sad I just feel like watching a girlie chick flick that I KNOW is going to make me cry, or when I am happy I will listen to a song that I LOVE to sing...and living in the middle of the woods is really helpful when I want to scream (this only happened once though and it was not because I was angry...I was on the eight day silent retreat and just wanted to be loud!)

Song: NEEDTOBREATHE (anything by them) while I was thining about this "Come Lay It Down" was playing on the radio....The Outsiders is a great CD though!!!


So sorry it has been so long since I have blogged. Life has been absolutely crazy! We had the staff retreat last weekend so everyone flew in from Mesa, St. Louis, Germany...and we had a big fun party! Hahaha we had an amazing retreat and it was very relaxing. It was so good to see all the missionaries again and meet all the staff that I have talked to on the phone but never actually had a face to go with it.

Fr. Oscar from South Florida led the retreat for us. One night he led us through a meditation called The Healing of Memories. Basically you close your eyes and you imagine yourself infront of the house you grew up in. Then you walk in and go to your room. He told us to find our safe place in the room...mine was weirdly in between the door frame of the closet. I think that was my safe place because I use to always have my toys jam packed into the tiny closet and I would sit right outside of it and play. Anyway...so im sitting in my safe place and Fr. Oscar starts telling me that all these people come in one at a time; mom, dad, sisters, grandparents, etc. They all start apologizing for things and saying they love you. I was my nine year old self so by this point my parents were still (and still are) my heroes so I had no idea why they were apologizing to me. So quickly I just began to play and enjoy being in my house. I moved away from this house when I was 9 and I was devastated! I still love that house! I love how my family was always on top of each other. I loved the old brown couches. I loved the random back door we had that we never used. I loved my pink and green room. I loved my neighborhood. Most every memory I have in that house is happy because I was probably to oblivious to notice the bad stuff. (I am noticing I am pretty oblivious sometimes) So I went around playing dress up, playing on my porch with my cats, playing mail, barbies, church, etc. any game I use to play. So then Fr. Oscar said that the one person I did not want to see walked through the door. It was this very dark figure who represented the devil to me. Why was the devil walking through my room? I was praying into it when I realized that he is the reason for all my sin...I can blame no one for the sin I have fallen into, not a single person who walked through the door before him. It was a really cool thing to realize because I can change myself but I can't change another person. Knowing that I do not have grudges towards anyone is so nice and knowing that I am not the same person as I was even 6 months ago comforted me. Falling into the devils temptations were so easy for me before I surrendered my life to God and now it is not so easy for him. Praise GOD!!!

Alright so I am going to start something new....Each blog I am going to recommend a book, or song, or something to you! So today I want to recommend the band Gungor and the song "We Will Run to You." SOOOO GOOODDD!!!! I love running to this song. It is 9 minutes long and has an amazing instrumental. I find that instrumental music helps distract me when I am running. It takes me to a better place until I reach my running high!

Prayer Request: Please pray for Chris and Erik (my missionary brothers) who are in Haiti right now and Stephen and Tim who will be going on tuesday! Pray for the people of Haiti as well who have created a permanent home in my heart! HOPE!!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

1,000 Years Later

I am studying/ reading through Deuteronomy. I have been wanting to get into the Old Testament and I felt called to start here. It's amazing to me how thousands of years later I can still relate this book to my life and the world we are living in today. Moses' people were called out in order to be blessed by God and then sent into new lands to testify and proclaim God's name and to honor Him above all things and to not make pagan idols of animals or manly statues. But how often do we see that in our world today? People making idols of money, cars, jobs, celebrities, and shaming God's name in the process. People make idols of anything and sometimes place it higher than God in their opinion but in Deut. 4:24 it says, "For the Lord your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God." He is not going to just back down. He wants us all for Himself and He created us and freely gave His love, son and redemption to us. The least we can do is honor Him with our lives and hold Him about anything else. The least we can do is receive His blessings with open arms and share His love with all we come in contact with. As a missionary God calls me to new and foreign lands (could just be Atlanta) just like the people of Egypt to share His love. I say YES to the call! My heart gets fired up when I think about the radical love it will take for secular worldy people to have a conversion of heart. Watching God move in such a way is a miracle.

Lord, I praise you and thank you for your jealous love that has pulled me away from the ways of this world so many times but continues to love me.

Deut 7:6

This book is sooooo amazing and I can still relate to it today. God is always relatable!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dependence on Him

LifeTeen missionaries agree to living by a rule of life structured around St. Benedicts way of life. We read a different rule every morning during morning prayer in order to meditate on them and see how we are implementing them in our lives. Yesterday our rule was "Glorify God in our Dependence on Him." Each rule has one if not more bible verses and little instructions. I have heard this rule probably five times before this but yesterday it reall struck me because of my Lenten desire to completely surrender to Him and lose my life. I want to share what the rule says with you guys:

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ Or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” Mt 6:25-33.
God is worthy of our trust. He desires complete dependence on Him. God does not ask for more of us, he asks for all, for everything. He is our everything. We are committed to depend on God with our worries, our finances, our fleshy desires, our passions, our attitudes, our fears, our joys and all that we are.

We can and should rely on God for EVERYTHING! He will provide us with all we need. I am a missionary completely relying on His providence for me to survive day to day and honestly majority of the time I feel VERY spoiled. I am showered everyday with His love, in my prayer, in my community, in my prayer partners and benefactors, in all that surrounds me. I am comforted by the Consoler not only when receiving consolation but even in the suffering because Joy is in my heart. I never go hungry. I have a warm bed with a roof over my head in a perfect trailer. I have a family that loves me and is constantly supportive and praying for me. I experience His glories revealed everyday because my eyes are opened to recognizing Him in everything. True joys come from His love not from material things and when we depend on Him, He will provide us with those joys. GOD IS SO GOOD!!!

Real Quick Glory Story

Okay so as you know we have been teaching each other in our formation classes. Yesterday Paul taught about evangelization (the Church's mission) but instead of teaching he sent us out! We were to go out to Clayton and pray with people. Paola and I were partners and the whole way down the mountain we were just asking God for boldness and for divine appointments. We went first to the Family Dollar where we met Sarah. She is probably 90 years old and was buying fake flowers to make arrangements at her house. She was so sweet and let us pray with her right there in the store. She told us that she wanted to go on mission to Haiti! A 90 year old woman wants to bring love and prayer to these people and so should we! We also went to CVS and Home Depot where we met some skeptics who quickly backed away when they heard "missionary" and "prayer" but we perfectly fine asking us if we knew where hoses for water heaters were located. Um no... so Paola and I just said a quick prayer for them.
So we still had thirty minutes and we were wondering where to go to pray with people. I immediately thought of the RaceTrac gas station because if you walk up to people while they are pumping gas they can't run away! (I know we cornered them but we really wanted to love on people!) So we walk up to the first guy, Tony Flores, (yep same last name as Paola) and began by introducing ourselves and asking if he needed prayers for anything. He said no but we later learned that he has a son who is a missionary in LaGrange, Georgia, he has an adopted grandson from Guatemala (same as Paola) and he works with the Census Bureau (he offered us jobs on the spot for both being bi-lingual). I think Toni needed a lot of prayer even if he didn't think so. Prayer does not just have to be in times of dire need. God is ALWAYS listening and as the gospel this morning said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be open to you."
After we said goodbye to Toni, who really needed to get back to Atlanta, we sat back in the car and were trying to decide if we should go or wait for one more person. We decided to wait and God called us to Tracy. Tracy got out of her car and her sweet father went inside to pay for the gas. We walked up to Tracy and introduced ourselves and asked if we could pray for her for anything. She immediately got so excited. She couldn't believe that two young girls were actually at a gas station just wanting to pray and love on people. She immediately started telling us about her mom who just had knee surgery so she went to pick up her dad to go shopping. Her dad suffers from alzheimer and is slowly fading. She asked us to pray for continued strength for her to love her parents in their time of most need. SO SELFLESS! She was so thankful and then she said, "You know I ALWAYS go to Ingles to get gas but for some reason my father insisted we come to RaceTrac. God was leading me to you guys. Thank you for your prayers and your love." WOW GOD!!!! She NEVER goes to RaceTrac and we just happened to be there...God of the details or WHAT!? Divine appointment or what?!

The other missionaries had some amazing encounters too. Hayley and Sara prayed with a woman in a liquor store and another one in a lingerie shop who both cried and were so thankful. We are called to Love people with Christ's love. How often do you have the opportunity to encounter people each day and to pray with them and to love them? Everytime you walk into Wal-mart, a restraunt, a school...smile at someone. See how their day is going. You never know what a simple selfless gesture will do for someones day. Ask God for divine appointments in your day.

Thank you God for making us bold, for giving us strength that is so beyond our abilites.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunny Days!

This weekend was by far the most beautiful weekend I have seen since being here (well maybe not but it had no ice or snow so that was good). Covecrest hosted three amazing groups this weekend, Prince of Peace, Korean Martyrs, and St. Thomas Aquinas. God blessed me in so many ways this weekend. For the past week I guess, we have been talking about joy and how it is a choice and what really makes us joyful. Before I became a missionary I probably would have thought a yummy meal, nice cozy bed, a good movie, etc. made me joyful and happy but as time goes on I realize those things all fade. I want joy that lasts and this weekend God showered me with so many experiences that brought me joy that will never fade.

To begin, my sister Rebecca has an amazingly beautiful soul. For about a year now I have been witnessing her faith grow into more then just a sunday obligation but into a relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Everytime she blogs or tells me about an encounter she had with God, I start crying. It makes me so joyful!!! And the feeling will never fade. Rebecca, continue to let your life be God's song...you make Him proud EVERYDAY!

I was also able to encounter so many wonderful people this weekend. (People bring me lots of joy) Deacon Nick Johnson, who went through training with my dad, was here this weekend. I have not seen him in so long but he is always fun to be around. It was great to hang out with him and catch up. I was also able to watch the Korean Martyrs rap the Our Father and to go to mass with them. YES, in Korean! I love being part of such a Universal Church!!! They sang the Our Father so beautifully.

This was the third weekend that St. Thomas Aquinas has been here this year. They had a little bit smaller of a group so I was able to get to know some of the core members better. They probably come in second favorite to the SJN core! They really do have a strong group in service for the Lord to give glory to him everyday! It's such a blessing to be a witness to it. And I found out that they are all diehard Lost fans! YEAH!!! We were all discussing our theories...only 14 episodes left!

The missionaries were able to be outside all day on Saturday working on the mountain biking trail for summer camp. I had yet to work on the trail and I really prayed that morning that I would find some joy in doing that work project (I'm not a big fan of pruning and gardening so I was not too excited about this mountain biking trail) but it ended up being such a beautiful day and a lot of fun. The Benzinger boys all came out to help and it was fun to watch Chris take down a tree single handedly (sp?) hahah what a macho! I really missed Mark and Sara this weekend though because they were away on a job interview and discernment retreat!

Finally, if you do not know my sisters and I are training for a half marathon at the end of April. I was able to have some really enjoyable runs this weekend because the sun was shining so beautifully.

All in all these experiences all brought me so much joy and non of them were material things. They won't fade. They will be in my memory forever! WHAT BLESSINGS God is showering on me so simply. I just need to open my eyes more because blessings and joys like this happen everyday.

"When your blessings become burdens something in you needs to change"

Prayer Requests: Pray for the Benzingers to find a moral Haitian Lawyer to help with the adoption.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


The days leading up to lent were becoming fewer and fewer and I still had no idea what to do for Lent this year. There are the usual sacrifices of sweets and soda but conviction of the love God has for us calls me to more.
Last year for Lent I was in Spain studying abroad. Those forty days were probably the most beautiful of my life. I began to go on dates with God (walks in the parks, coffee, etc.). I read Hid Word more. I went on a pilgrimage to Fatima, walking 20miles through the beautiful countryside of Portugal with 700 young adults and only 3 who spoke english. I experienced mass in 5 different languages. I spent Holy Week in Rome and had stantions of the Cross with the pope on Good Friday. He was showering His love upon me and I received it with open arms. I fell in love with Him and truly realized it was because He loved me first.
I had no idea what He would want for me this Lent. He has been drawing me deeper into His love and romancing me for the past year, but I know there are always ways to go deeper.
So Lent began yesterday and I still was praying into these forty days, these days of preparation. This morning in the Gospel reading Jesus spoke so clearly to me what this Lent (and the rest of my life) would hold for me. God showered me with His love last Lent and it is now my turn to respond.
Luke 9:23-24 says, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it."
I am losing my life. I am returning His freely given love by freely giving myself to Him. I will choose DAILY to take up my cross and to surrender to His will for my life. I have not stopped smilig today about the thought of losing my life to Him (whose hands could be better?) A complete surrender. A complete dying to self. It makes so much sense that this is what He is calling me to do not just for these next forty days but everyday. Mark Hart pointed out today in our conference call that Luke's Gospel is the only one that says DAILY take up your cross. This is my journey and hopefully all of our journeys to DAILY pick up our cross and follow Him. I want to die more to myself everyday so that I can live more for Him.

Suggestion: read "Fullfillment of all desire" by Ralph Martin....SOOOO GOOD!!!

Prayer: Please pray for the Holy Spirit's movement of LIFETEEN that we can continue to be obedient and Docile to the Holy Spirit!


If you would have seen me about ten days ago I would have probably seemed like of the most joyful people you had ever met but for these last te days I have been very grumpy and uncomfortable maybe even a little bitter. I was uncomfortable with my community, routine, prayer, etc. No one was doing anything particular, I was just really grumpy and I could not fight it. I began really praying into the mood when it laster more than 3 days and I realized it was not just hormones. I knew God was making me uncomfortable for a reason but I didn't know why. Probably 3 days later I heard Him say, "Kaitlin, only I can make you happy. Only I can fill and satisfy your heart." I realized by these words that I was relying way too much on my community and routine of life to make me happy. I wanted my brothers and sisters to bring me joy when in all truth ONLY God can give me those things. I needed to be relying on God more than I was because only He can fulfill my needs that humans unfortunately will never be able to. He had to make me uncomfortable for me to listen. If I was in complete comfort I would have probably never paid attention to the ways He was trying to make me realize that Happiness comes from Him. He had to pull me away from my comforts so that all I would have was Him to turn to. In all Truth and reality, HE IS ALL I NEED!!! Thank you God for making me uncomfortable.

Prayer Requests: My brother, Mark Kowalski's, mom has lupus and is unable to leave the house. Please pray for her healing and strength.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

God is Love

In formation we have begun a section where the missionaries are teaching each other. We were each assigned a certain topic considered as a Core Value to Life Teen and faith in general. I teach in two weeks on affirmation (hilarious because right before Chris assigned it to me I was telling the missionaries how awkward affirmations make me feel). This week Mark taught us about Love and Sara taught on Eucharistic Spirituality. They both did so amazing.

Mark talked about three major points: God is love, how we love God, and how we are to Love thy neighbor with God's love. 1 John 4:7-21 Here are some short points from his talk.

God is Love- 1 Cor. 13: 4-8- most people know this Bible Verse but it is explaining everything that God is because God IS LOVE! Why do we continually turn away from this Love? It is so amazing! God is NEVER finished which means LOVE is never finished. Love (God) is self-giving. He literally gave himself to us through Jesus. Shouldn't we do the same and give completely of ourselves?

Love of God- Be obedient and take up your cross. "Love is uniting of our will to God's" St. Therese...the closer we grow to Him, the more we desire to do His will and begin to loose our fears of what His plan may hold. This is exactly where I am in my journey with falling more deeply in love with Him. I am surrendering to His plans for my life and fear is no longer taking over. I am at peace with His control of my life because I am convicted of His love for me.

Love of thy neighbor- We cannot love our neighbor without loving God first. If you hate your neighbor then you hate God because God is in your neighbor. Choose to LOVE them because all people long to be noticed, accepted, and loved. It is also important to recognize that we can not love each other without first spending time with Jesus because otherwise we do not know what real love is (importance of my morning prayer). We can not create the feeling of love because it is a gift from God. I see so many people around me who think that they are in "love" but they think of love as just a feeling and when that feeling fades then they leave. But Love is so much more and greater than just a feeling that the world describes it as(Read Heaven Song). God longs for us to experience with each other the Love He shares with us. Accept His love and your ideas of Love with change. I have been convicted of such a truth in knowing His love that I love people in a completely different way. I look at my brothers and sisters souls and see how God desires them and so I long for them to grow closer to Him. I Love them where they are at with God's love pouring out from me because I do not have love to give them except through Christ. When we don't rely on God, we rely on humans who are not big enough to fill our needs. Love is not always easy. It comes with sufferings and hardships also know as the cross where we truly witness the difficulties of choosing to Love people even when we don't seem worthy. We must choose this love though. Jesus chose to wash Judas' feet even though He knew what Judas was going to do. Loving people gives them dignity. This idea reminds me of Stephen and Erik who are in Haiti right now. They went there with the sole purpose to love people and in loving them there are giving the people dignity.

"What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without the love of Jesus, everything is useless." Pope John Paul II

Thursday, February 11, 2010

All they need is love!

Wow so many things have been happening here at Covecrest for the missionaries. We had the youth ministers retreat, confirmation retreat, we went and visited the 8th grade classes we put retreats on for earlier this year, and we have begun to teach ourselves the Core Values. Mark taught us about Love on Wednesday and Sara taught us today about Eucharistic Spirituality. God really spoke through them and gave all of us a new incite on how God is Love and how we are called as Catholics to Be Eucharist. I really want to write blogs about those but today I feel very called to share our visits at the schools.

Back in October myself and seven other missionaries helped put on a retreat for the Holy Redeemer 8th grade class. Middle school retreats usually run a little different than high school ones. They need to be really high energy and a lot of interaction so needless to say I remember being very nervous going into that retreat on how to bring God to these pre-teens. But the retreat went great. The schedule went off without a hitch. The talks and small group discussions went well and I truly fell in love with those kids.

Fast forward to Monday when we went to visit them. Again I had that nervous feeling that they could care less that we were coming, "O just those missionaries again...sweet I get to miss class!" was what I thought they would be thinking. But God showed me just how HE brought himself into these kids lives! They were so excited to see us. Sara's group literally ran each other over to see who could get to her the fastest. I was blown away by how much they loved us. We met with our small groups and began talking about the retreat, what they liked and remembered. It was a really amazing and special time just to catch up with them. I asked if they remembered anything we talked about...blank stares. I thought to myself "why are they so excited to see us if they didnt even get anything out of the retreat?" But as we were leaving the girls would not let us go, some even cried and begged us to come soon. The boys wouldnt stop laughing and punching each other. I was so moved and I realized then that it did not matter what we said to these kids back in October but it mattered to them how we LOVED them. They felt LOVED by us. They remembered that LOVE and wanted to keep feeling it that is why they were so excited to see us.

God made us and calls us to LOVE. That is our sole purpose on earth because once we love with Christ's love everything flows from that. All these kids needed was LOVE and God worked through us to give them that!

I shared this thought with the missionaries in the car and we all kind of looked at each other and said "Do we even remember what we talked about? hahaha"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rainy Tuesday

Its a rainy tuesday up here in the mountains. Cold and wet days kind of make you want to crawl up in the double wide (my home) and watch a movie. Luckily today is our day off after a crazy weekend so I can do just that. This weekend we, the missionaries, hosted a confirmation retreat for 6 smaller parishes in the atlanta area who can not afford to do it themselves. It was so blessed but soooo tiring. I gave a talk on the gifts of the Holy Spirit on saturday night. I had a talk all prepared but when I met the kids, I just felt that my talk was relating enought to these kids. Hours before I gave the talk, I went and prayed for an hour in the chapel. God kept telling me to be vulnerable so I stood up in front of everyone and just started talking. The Holy Spirit truly flowed through me. I have no idea what I ended up saying but a lot of kids affirmed me afterwards so I guess the Holy Spirit did a good job!

Sunday night we spent the night at my house in atlanta and watched the superbowl! We stayed in Atlanta because we went to visit the 8th grades that we ran retreats for earlier this year in October. The visits were so blessed and although the kids are struggling with a lot of things, they couldnt stop hugging us and some of the girls even cried when we were leaving because they just loved having us around. I truly realized that these kids probably dont remember a thing we talked about in our talks (heck I dont even think the missionaries would remember what they talked about) but they do remember the way you LOVED them. That is why we are created to LOVE with Christ's love because people remember those feelings!

Prayer Requests: Pray for all teens preparing for Confirmation as well as all 8th graders preparing for high school.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Missionary Life

Hiding JPII in the boys showers...later I had a snowman hidden in my shower on our 8 day silent retreat!
Work projects! We built a floor...I felt like extreme home makeover

Meals on Wheels...talking on Banana phones!

Megan and I

Prayer group in Mexico

Jesus' Temple

I have been reading the book Irresistable Revolution for a while now and the other day something really struck me. My whole life I have heard the scripture that Jesus would tear down the temple and in three days rebuild it. It immediately makes me think of Jesus that His body would be alive again on the third day after His death and people would believe. But it is so much more than just the obvious that we all know happened. Jesus died and by His death we can now have eternal life. We were dead but on the third day He brought us all to life again when He rose from the dead. "Jesus dismantles as He redefines the temple as His body, as our bodies, the mystical body of the Church" (Irresistable 323). WE ARE HIS TEMPLES. Living, breathing temples...not buildings, not stones, not service halls, LIVING TEMPLES. Acts 17:24 says "God does not live in the temples built by human hands." We are reminded here that we are God's temples because the Spirit lives in us! As a Catholic every time I partake in the mass I am also a living temple of Jesus. I need to be presenting myself as Jesus' hands and feet and treat my body as a living temple for the Spirit.

"Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true."

Prayer Requests: Please pray for Rickey, my sisters father in law, He is being let out of the hospital but he was having some heart problems. Also please pray for my missionary brother Erik Martin and a good community friend, Stephen Smith, who are on their way to Haiti.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Lately I have been having this overwhelming desire to just Love people and tell them how much Jesus loves them. I try so hard to email and call people to keep everyone up to date on how God is moving but I find myself running out of time. I prayed about how God wanted me to share His love to all when majority of my time is in the mountain and in prayer. I feel very called to begin writing on this personal blog again. I love writing for the Life Teen blog but I feel like I need something to share my everyday occurences. God is always moving and I want to constantly be in recognition of it and not just keep it to myself but share it. I want to be able to write some of the things that I tell my missionary sisters at night. Just little things that God is revealing to me in prayer.

We have just recently started studying Pope Paul VI's Evangeli Nuntiandi (Evangelizing in the Modern World). The Pope writes about the churches call to spread the Gospel, to live the Gospel, to tell of the kingdom of God and Salvation, and I feel that this is my way to answer that call. "Those who received the Good News and who have been gathered by it into the community of salvation can and must communicate and spread it." I may not be able to have phone conversations with everyone or write emails to everyone but I still want to tell all of the Glory of God.
This morning in morning prayer the reading from Romans 8:18 said "The sufferings of the present are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed IN us, " not just TO us but IN us. He doesn't just show us, we take an active roll in His Glory. I want Him to use me to reveal His glory.
I might even use this blog as an outlet for struggles or a way to get prayer requests out. I just want to invite people into the mission, into the call to spread the Gospel, into God's glory!
It will be a way for me to discuss my own personal formation with what I am reading and glory stories from the people around me. A way to express everday life as a missionary and life living in community! I am constantly being reminded of His love so why not share it!

God, You are glorious and beautiful. I long to live everyday to bring You glory. Use me to reveal Your glory to those You desire.

Prayer Requests: David and Olguin, two orphans in haiti who might be adopted by the Benzingers (a family in my community in case you do not know them) Please Pray for Gods will to be done!