1. My new brothers and sisters! I absolutely LOVE the dynamic in our house, and as much as living in community is probably one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, it’s also without a doubt the most rewarding.
2. Before the Throne Conference. A few weeks ago several of us attended a gathering of youth leaders involved with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal across the UK. Despite a 45 minute turnaround to re-pack our suitcases after getting back from mission, the weekend was one the most blessed and Spirit-filled times I’ve ever experienced.
3. Spending an hour chatting with some wonderful 6th formers about all things ‘women-in-the-church’ related: from marriage, to priesthood, to misinterpreted Scripture. The high-5 Hannah and I gave each other as we left the room confirmed that, yes, we’d successfully busted some myths. (Sorry Jesus for originally trying to get out of that workshop!).
4. Introducing a packed sports hall to Jesus in Adoration… 3 times over! For many of the students this was their first experience of Eucharistic Adoration, which for me made it even more powerful.
5. Student Testimonies! Aside from the amount of fun we have on mission, what really makes this job worthwhile is seeing how God moves in the lives of the students we meet. One student I prayed with received healing from intense anxiety, another was given the same message from God three days in a row through different people, and another described receiving immense closure on his past from God, as well as SO many other amazing stories!
6. Our brothers cooking. One night the girls all found invitations outside our rooms asking us to get out our nicest dresses and join the boys for dinner. What a treat!! It was such a nice surprise to be honoured by our brothers, not to mention the outstanding dance moves they demonstrated later on!
7. Silent Retreat. We finished the term with a silent retreat for 3 days at our other community house in Brentwood, Essex. I’d never done a silent retreat before, and was really surprised by just how much I enjoyed it. Not only was it a great opportunity to recharge after a hectic couple of weeks, but it also taught me a lot of useful things about myself, made me think much more deeply about what God’s plan is for my life (including throwing some interesting things into the mix – thanks God!), and hugely enhanced my prayer life.
I’m so, so excited to get back into mission life after a much needed Christmas break, and to see what else God has in store for us as a team during the rest of the year!