Friday, June 3, 2011

Answered prayers left and right!

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord."
                                 Jeremiah 29:11-14
Well if this passage doesn't sum up my first week (or even just today) at NST I honestly don't know what could do a better job. Did you read it closely? Read it again. God will provide exactly what I need, so long as I pray to Him and ask for His help. Always, from the beginning of time, God has had this in His plans for me, Kelsey Marie Kaufman! Talk about hope and having trust in God's promise!

The week has been an absolute whirlwind. And it is exactly the whirlwind I am meant to be in. There are over 300 missionaries for the upcoming year (not all of them are first- and second-years therefore not needing to be present at training the entire time) and literally, probably about 98% of them are material for becoming lifelong friends. No joke. Even among all of the conferences and retreats I have been on in the past I have never been to something particularly aimed at the best leaders and best leaders only.

We are divided up into colleges named after different saints and I am in the college of St. Catherine of Siena... wooo doggie. She's definitely been interceding for us because crazy "coincidences" continue happening around every corner and it's almost freaking me out a little (but actually not at all). All of the colleges have a brother or sister college (depending on whichever is opposite, for example we have a brother college) and apparently one of the rules is that the brother colleges have to ask their sister colleges if we will be their sister college (even though it's assigned anyway). Tonight our brother college surprised us by having some tables set up after mass and brought down pizza bagel bites with mac n cheese while dressed up in throwback 80's attire and whatever else they could scrounge up at the nearest thrift store. In the middle of dinner they stood up in the middle of the cafeteria and just BELTED out their own FOCUS rendition of The Lion King's, "The Circle of Life". Not only did they have the attention of all 250+ people in the cafeteria, but the three guys who chanted the background part were saying, "pink pajamas penguins on the bottom" because one of them used to mistakenly think those were the actual words! It was hilarious, and after listening to the song again I can totally see how he'd be confused!
 All the guys here are total gems and it's so freeing to know that the relationships formed with them have one common root: striving to live out the Gospel while learning to love Jesus more every day. It also helps to know that as first-years none of us can date because we signed a contract prohibiting ourselves from any romantic activity for the first year on staff, known as the legendary "dating fast." So guys, I guess that's to say the cat's out of the bag, and try to contain your disappointment: I will be single and not dating for the next year. Bring. it. ON. In all seriousness though, the first-years have enough on their plate in terms of personal growth that will take place this year, and throwing a budding relationship with another first-year missionary on top would probably be a recipe for disaster.

In other news, and the news that many of you have been waiting for... I got my placement tonight for next year!!!!! And better yet, I'm genuinely excited about a place that gets even more snow than Wisconsin--North Dakota! I'll be serving a missionary at North Dakota State University (NDSU.. I have a feeling this acronym will be a little too difficult for me, I've already called it UWNS-obviously it would be in the UW system, UNSD...etc) in Fargo, ND! I already checked and apparently there are at least 10 nearby Culver's locations so all in all, I'll be set!
I met three of my four teammates, Jenne, Sarah and Lucas, and they are just great. All I can say is that watch out North Dakota, because Kelsey Kaufman is comin' atcha! I went out with Sarah (left) and Jenne (right) in our matching bison Catholic tee's to a favorite hotspot just down the street: Cocomero. It is an incredible FroYo (frozen yogurt, duh Kelsey...) place where there are multiple flavors of yogurt and lots of toppings and you just help yourself and then pay $.47/oz! It's kind of an ice cream addicts' version of heaven on earth.

Alright, I am up way past my bedtime and have a full day of classes again tomorrow! All of you are you in my prayers and I hope that I am in yours-I definitely need 'em!

Kelsey Marie

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