Saturday, September 24, 2011

She shoots, she scores!

Tim's roommates raided his closet
Sometimes I think I'm taking on too much. In 99% of cases, just when I'm about to cancel on a plan and then decide not to and "just suck it up," I am always glad that I followed through. (And heck, I'm working on that whole "being reliable" and "responsible adult" thing and it's really working out for me!) To give you a little context to why I bring this up: on Monday night of this week after seeing Fr. Larry Richards, an awesome priest and speaker who was in Fargo for the week giving a series of missions talks in the diocese (to which nearly 700 people attended, by the way!), I stubbed and quite probably broke my big left toe, which still has a bit of healing to go. A couple of days later I came down with a nice cold which brought a decrease in my mood and energy along with it. The coupling of those events did not stop my three Bible studies from going off without a hitch, nor keep me from going on the hayride on Friday night with some students and having a great time. A few weeks back Miriam (friend in Fargo and Lucas' sister-in-law) asked me to join them in the 3-on-3 tournament up in Grand Forks at UND coming up.
Neapolitan cookies I made for my girls!
I didn't know at the time that the tournament would conveniently fall on the weekend after I suffered the pains from a self-induced toe injury and a head cold, but lo and behold, I stayed consistent, didn't cancel, and our team ended up taking home the 'ship! JR would have been proud to see his girlie still be able to dribble, crash the boards, and throw up a nothin-but-net shot from down low (just like that Waunakee game senior year, remember dad?). Needless to say, being a responsible adult pays off and I'm so glad I didn't whimp out because of a little injury. I also did get to meet some of the students at UND and see the missionaries, so that is always an added bonus, along with a $10 Scheels gift card.

In other news, every once in a while the FOCUS headquarters ask us to submit a campus story about something with a student, event, extraordinary Bible study or the like. I volunteered to write this one and just thought I'd share it with all of you:
September 21, 2011 – Story for corporate from NDSU
     When I applied to be a missionary at the beginning of this year I could not wait to hit the college campus, inspire young women the way I had been impacted by FOCUS missionaries and most of all, have the time and energy to continually reach out to the students and do fun spur-of-the-moment activities with them. Since I arrived in Fargo my entire scheme has been flip-flopped and rather than being the only one reaching out to the students, they have greatly surprised a lot of us and actually want to make plans and reach out to me. You might be thinking, “Wow, not rocket science Kelsey, of course the students want to get to know you and hang out with someone who is as excited about everything as you are.” Okay, so that was my first “A-ha!” moment.
    I also figured, “Okay, so if they actually do want to hang out with me, it will probably be all the hard-core Catholics who hang around Newman all the time and see me everyday regardless. Well if it weren’t for yet another surprise being thrown my way, and her name is Lindsey. Joe, one of the male student leaders, passed me the name of a grad student he worked with all summer who, “isn’t Catholic but she needs something like this. And she ran track in college so she’ll fit right in with your athlete study.” He also threw a caveat my way: Lindsey does not really care for the Catholic faith nor want a whole lot to do with it. Great, I instantly thought, she already doesn’t like me.
Jamie (freshman in my study) and I having fun after the hayride
      I called her, a little shy at first, and received her voicemail. Three times. I left her messages, telling her the date, time and place for the first Bible study meeting and how “great it will be to see you there and meet you!” She returned my call the same day as the first meeting and thanked me for being so persistent with her and that she would meet us at the Union at 8:15 pm. She showed up on a long board, told us she’s from Northern Cali and I instantly knew we would be just fine. I opened the 13 of us in prayer and before I could do so much as blink after that second sign of the cross she blurted out, “Oh, well I’m not Catholic! But I’m Christian and I mean, that’s okay, right?” I assured her it was not a problem at all, trust me. She pulled me aside after that first meeting, asked me if I would mind having her come even though she isn’t Catholic, and I responded with a confident, “Of course. Let’s get coffee and just get to know each other so we can find out where we’re coming from.”
     That following Friday we got coffee and I think I can pinpoint it as one of the highlights of my semester thus far. Not only is she a strong Christian woman with outstanding morals, but she actually likes to ask me questions and has been trying to get to know me just as much as I have been her. And she thinks I’m interesting—you certainly cannot go wrong there! That first coffee date we planned to go hiking in Minnesota that coming Sunday and since then she has been the one asking me to randomly hang out, go for a bike ride to get some ice cream, come over to meet her grandfather who’s in town, go for sunrise runs, etc.
    The coolest part about my budding friendship with Lindsey is that we can be 100% ourselves with one another, ask each other questions about our pasts, thoughts, desires, ideals and most importantly, our faiths. Not only has she been continuously coming to study each week, but also she recently sent me a couple of sermons about communion and would like to get together to talk about it and see what I think about communion (a.k.a. the Eucharist), since she understands how different our opinions and beliefs are. I cannot wait! No matter how the Holy Spirit works in both of our lives it truly is an amazing experience to be able to just live my life, spend time with her doing ordinary activities and growing together as sisters in Christ. God is good, all the time.

Until next time, please keep myself, the other missionaries and all of the students at NDSU in your prayers, God bless you!
Yours truly,
Kelsey Marie 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Sweet Farewell

"She's at it again." Uh oh. Kelsey's creative side came out and she decided to compose another poem. 
"Hey everybody, do the Kelsey pose!"
I realized that the three poems I've written most recently have all been dealing with saying goodbye to either a person, place or thing: first, the epic lost brown fleece, second, a poem in Spanish for Mamá as I left Santiago and now a third as the summer in Fargo draws to an end. Truthfully, each day I am more surprised how much I love this city, especially when I get directions somewhere and know that it just takes a couple of right hand turns on a grid street pattern and I can arrive at my destination without a hitch. In fact, the other night Jenne and I just got in the car and drove for an hour and a half and made less than eight necessary turns to get all the way out and around the boondocks and back. I've never experienced such straight and flat roads before! It's kind of a fun change...for a while. 

Itasca State Park
On Sunday my friend Lindsey and I drove to Itasca State Park in Minnesota and it looked just like Wisconsin! I did not realize how much I missed all the green forests, bodies of water and hills until I actually came face to face with them and had forgotten that such amazing topography exists!

Jenne, myself and Katie (UND missinoary) at The Forks!

In other exciting news, I am officially leading three Bible studies: one on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Do you realize how much baking I can do now?! I'm so excited. I'm also in a free class being taught by Msgr. Goering on Johannine Literature (a.k.a. John's Gospel and writings in the New Testament) on Tuesday nights and currently Lucas and I are trying to get the FOCUS missions department to let NDSU have a campus-specific trip--whereas currently anybody from anywhere can apply for a mission and if selected for a trip you don't choose with whom and to where. You could say I'm really getting thrown into the mix of things and am totally okay with that. As long as the Lord's Will be done in all that I do, I certainly could never complain about such an awesome opportunity to serve Him on campus. 

And now if you'll bear with my attempt at being somewhat artistic:

A sweet farewell to thee, dear friend, must I bid,
for the sunny days and warm nights 
were the last things from which I hid.

A farewell most strange defines this good-bye,
for it not be intended for a person
but rather a season, warm and dry.

Yes, "pathetic," you may well think,
but listen closely, hear me out;
the only thing I won't miss is the stink.

The landfill in Fargo is a center-of-the-city mess,
and each time the wind blows just right or we drive ‘round town
our ability to breathe becomes less and less.

Sweet summer in Fargo may have been just a dream,
but to enjoy each day’s sunshine to its fullest
was for some more than others, extreme.

Define extreme, the reader may well demand,
the beach in Detroit Lakes with Student Leaders,
pizza at Zorbaz and burying our friends in the sand. 

Certainly other ways to enjoy such a fine season
in recent weeks have occurred, for example
take Jenne and I—off to Canada we were allured. 

Lovely Winnipeg we saw in merely a day,
bringing up the gifts at the Cathedral’s Sunday’s Mass,
visiting a near-Saint’s shrine and “The Forks” marketplace ‘eh?

It wasn't before long that we returned to the grind,
myself still meeting new students, heading up three Bible studies,
and attempting to fix my planner like clockwork so it's all perfectly timed.

From day one as a missionary at NDSU
I have mentioned it more than once, however
the students keep impressing us anew.

The students we work with lead more than Bible studies,
they are chairs of campus organizations, work multiple jobs
and in all their classes continuously seek new buddies.

I genuinely enjoy spending time at our office
where the team casually jokes, pokes fun at the girls
and Lucas becomes all of ours' accomplice.

An example of this was a most clever and delightful prank
played on Tim, our one-of-a-kind team director, 
who upon seeing his desk we had hoped for a big “thanks.”  

We used our creativity for the extra “Free Buckluck” tickets we had 
and as we were cleaning out the office, what a better way 
to get rid of them than to cover Tim’s desk, computer and mouse pad. 

I’m still not positive that he knew it was us,
but here’s to being bad at pranks, a first-year missionary,
and hopefully not losing all of Tim’s trust.

My first month in Fargo has been a summery breeze,
as the first frost lies just beyond the horizon
I can begin to imagine the upcoming half-year freeze.

Sorry, Tim.
Guilty as charged.

Please keep me in your prayers and know of mine for all of you! 
In Him,
Kelsey Marie