Hello my blog readers! Long time no see! First off, let me apologize for not writing in so long. It’s been a crazy month that’s for sure. At first I was planning to blog every week of training like last year, however that obviously didn’t happen. This is mainly due to the fact that every time I had some free time to blog, I was just way too tired. Summer Training this year was a lot more exhausting than last year for many reasons and there wasn’t too much free time to just sit and write. I had planned to blog the minute I got back home but unfortunately my laptop decided to just up and die on me….so now that I have a new computer AND free time, prepare for a super long post on all of training and a little of what I’ve been up to since being back!
Year two of FOCUS new staff training was quite the adventure. I was a little worried that it would just be the same thing as last year just with less stuff to do being a second year missionary and all. Well I sure was wrong. They completely revamped training this year and overhauled the schedule. A lot of the content was the same, just laid out differently with more emphasis on certain things over others. Second and third years had larger roles to play. The way training works is that all the first years go to class together, all the second years go to class together, then we’re all split into smaller groups of 7 or 8 called colleges and are named after Saints. College time was time to decompress and go over what we learned in class and just have a consistent group of people we could talk about training and mish life in general about. I loved my college last year and this year there was a lot more time given to colleges which I thought was a great Idea.
It really gave all of us a time to get to know each other and bond. We ate dinner together, went to mass together and even went and saw Jurassic World together one weekend. By the end of training we were all really good friends. It sounds a little dumb but I really liked being able to share the experiences with the new first years. It really made me feel like a leader. All the guys in my college, St. Damien of Molokai, are so amazing. I miss them already and I know that they’re all going to be fantastic missionaries and do some great things on their campuses. God Bless you guys!
As a second year, the classes I took this year built upon the things I learned last year. We took classes dealing with the Gospels, Apologetics, Discernment of Spirits, Discipleship and more. One of my favorite things I learned was probably looking at each of the Gospels and seeing where they are similar and where they differ. I could probably write a book trying to talk about all the things we learned. I wont try to go over everything here but just take my word for it that I feel very blessed to have been able to attend such amazing classes taught by some very respectable teachers. Class was also a great time to take fun selfies with friends as evidenced below.
Probably the most exciting/nervous thing about raining this year for e was the fact that I would be meeting my new team! If you’ve been keeping up with my blog or facebook then you now that I will be the only returning missionary to Ave Maria University this year. I was both pumped and terrified at meeting my new team all together for the first time. I couldn’t help but be worried that we wouldn’t all click and I was especially nervous that the first years would hate the idea of serving at Ave. I prayed and prayed for them and I’m so happy to say that I think my new team is absolutely freaking awesome.
After meeting and then getting to spend some time with my new team, I’m really excite to gt back to campus because I know that the students are going to love them. The new team consists of Team Director Maemie Donnelly from Tennessee, First Year Nick Smith from Alabama, First Year Anne Thelen from North Carolina and then myself. They are each very unique with really amazing stories and I know that we’re going to work together really well. I’m also going to be putting lots of effort into each of us being friends. . So far so good and I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things they’re going to do on campus this year. I can already sense that things this year re going to be lots of fun and filled with he love of Christ. Please join me in praying for them and our team as a whole.
Like I said at the beginning, training this year was so much more exhausting then last year. A lot of it was the schedule changes. We pretty much went from 8 AM to 8PM with a lunch break in the middle. Classes were draining and you just went to bed every night ready to pass out. But as tiring as everything was, we all still made time to have some fun. If I’m being completely honest, the best part of training was getting to spend time with all the amazing friends I’ve made in FOCUS. Mother Teresa once said that she saw and felt the presence of Jesus in the faces of he poor and lowly. As for me, I truly see the love of God and feel the presence of Jesus in the people he’s placed in my life. When you think about it, our everyday lives are filled with meaningless, random encounters with the billions of other human beings on this planet. Making friends isn’t easy when people are constantly entering and leaving your life in the blink of an eye. It has to be divine intervention when people stick around and make a real impact on who you are.
This past year I’ve meet so many wonderful people through FOCUS. I can say that if it wasn’t for their encouragement and friendship, I don’t know If I would have survived the year. This includes not only my fellow CSU rams (whom I love dearly and always will) but also the friends we’ve made from other campuses. We all come from different walks of life and have different stories but what we do have in common is hat Jesus brought us all together as missionaries at this exact place in time. We build each other up. What good is a bridge without support? I thank God for all the amazing people he’s brought into my life this past year. Looking at all of them, I can’t help but think that God must really love me to bless me with these friends. Brian, Jake, Emma, Sean, Ashlyn, Matt, Steve, Jamie, Jackie, Andrew, Jenna, Sam, Marcus, Dave, Katie, Matthew, Chris, Steve and all the rest. Love you all.
So there you have it I guess. Training was filled with classes, fellowship, beach trips, deep conversations, prayer, good friends and a whole lot of Jesus. While round two may have been more exhausting and draining than last year, looking back I also feel that I appreciated it this year a lot more. It was a time to learn and a time of formation definitely but it was also a time to be able to reconnect and enjoy the company of the friends we’ve made and have missed all year. I also got to make a lot of new friends and I’m again very thankful to God for all of them.
To be completely honest I was definitely a little homesick all throughout training. So as much as I loved sending time with everyone at training, I was very excited to come back to Colorado. Since coming back from training I’ve just been working hard at fundraising so I can get back to campus come August. But more on that in my next post. Again so sorry for the late blog post but here you have it. A pretty good overview of Summer Training as a second year. Now I just want to leave you with my favorite quote that I heard while there:
“Joy is the inner delight in knowing we are infinitely loved by God”