March 14, 2010

New Year, New Hope

It's one of the most busy times of the year for us. Kids go back to school in March and church activities usually begin with Holy Week. We've been visiting lots of houses this past week, chatting with youth and their parents, encouraging them to participate in this year's activities. For the last two years, much of our time has been spent getting to know the community and building trusting relationships with our neighbors. It was hard in the beginning to get youth involved in activities because they were scared to start something new and they really didn't know us that well.

We've already noticed that things are much easier this year. Instead of dragging kids out of their houses to come to church, we actually had a group of kids show up at our door a couple of weeks ago asking, "When do we get to start?". Today, we had 16 youth show up at mass, without us previously making threats!! At a chapel where when we first arrived, you could find 2 teenagers sullenly sitting at their parents sides on Sunday, this is a big deal.

Lots of times, we don't get to see the results of our labor. There have been countless times that we have felt like giving up on a group, and others that we did give up. That's why it has been so encouraging for us to be able to see these small fruits. It gives us much more energy to start the year off and to work hard even when we're tired. If you hear us complaining in the future about annoying teens or ambivalent parents, then please remind us of times like these, where things actually worked out.

A couple of teens from our youth group.

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