Friday, October 21, 2011

The First Frosty Morning

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! It's 6:30 am and my alarm sounds. I turn it off and realize I fell asleep with my lamp on. Dang, I absolutely hate wasting energy. I groggily reach over to pull the chain switching my lamp into "off" mode, only to hear a most unpleasant "crunch." What the heck? My less-than-a-year old pair of glasses is now in pieces underneath me. CRAP! I roll out of bed in my half-alert morning stupor, rush to get ready and go out to my car to find the windows frosted over. The first frost, I thought. I don't think I'm ready for this. Most fortunately NeedToBreathe's latest CD was popped into the Taurus' compact disc player so I decided to cool off (literally) from being upset about the wasted energy, broken glasses and icy car and be consoled by the sweet sounds now filling my cold car as I waited for it to defrost.

And then I found five dollars.

I just thought I'd share that absolutely pointless story with you for two reasons. First and foremost, for your pity and a potential "Oh no!" which I especially crave. Second, I promised I'd make known, especially for those of you living in warmer areas of the country, when Fargo received it's first frost. Hopefully the events of the first snowfall prove to be as entertaining as this lovely Thursday morning. For those of you who don't understand the "and then I found five dollars" reference, oftentimes when telling a story the teller (or perhaps someone in the audience, depending on how courteous they are) will realize just how pointless the story was for anybody but the teller, and throw in that line to "make the story better" even though it really doesn't. It's basically just a way of saying, "Wow, what a pointless story."
Procession with Jesus through campus

The last few weeks have been quite a blur and even included visiting my wonderful family and a few friends back home in wonderful Wisconsin! I will say that the drive from the Twin Cities to Madison is especially beautiful at this time of year and the red, orange and gold trees made for a seemingly quick drive back. A highlight of the month however, is probably the Eucharistic procession that the NDSU Newman Center did on October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. We consecrated the entire NDSU campus and all of its past, present and future students, faculty and staff to Jesus through Mary as we processed with the Blessed Sacrament with about 90 students and community members around campus. It was quite the experience.

My discipleship chain!
This past weekend certainly earns a high ranking on my scale as well. On Friday night we had our first Monthly Mountain, a.k.a. student missionary night. We split up into each of our discipleship chains, went out to eat--ours went to a super fun place called the Drunken Noodle... don't worry, it's a good, clean time and no alcoholic drinking was engaged in on this evening! After getting our fill we stumbled back to the Newman Center to hear one of the hands-down best talks on prayer I've ever heard (and I certainly haven't heard 'em all, but I've heard quite a few so far in my day!) given by one of NDSU's peer ministers, Thomas.

Something that the missionaries have noticed since day one of the school year is that our student leaders are not praying as they ought, or at all. To be a Bible study leader and be a person who brings Christ to the people in their studies, classes, apartments, dorm rooms, etc, it is so important that they come and spend time with Him, especially since there is exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (Eucharistic Adoration) all day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. To be in discipleship, which all of these student leaders are, it is expected that they pray for at least 20 minutes each day. In all reality, that's nothin', and a few of the busiest students spend over an hour in the chapel some days. Plus, I can give a personal testimony to beginning every day with a Holy Hour and still working two jobs, taking five classes, leading a Bible Study, having time for friends and roommates, and doing a myriad of other things that filled my time at the UW the past few years. So, after Thomas spoke, give my testimony I did and hold back a bit of harsh criticism I did not. I will admit, I've heard from a few of the students that this was exactly the "kick in the pants" that they needed. We've already seen more students in the chapel at any given hour of the day and I'm so excited to see the fruits that will occur on the campus, in Bible studies and in discipleships.

This weekend I'm headed to "the good life" to visit my bestie in Omaha! Pray for safe travels and I'll update you all soon!

In Him,
Kelsey Marie

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's a Great Day to be Alive...

About 3/4 of our fellow walkers for life
Yes, I am not only referencing the wonderfully tuned Travis Tritt song, but also just the fact in and of itself--each day we are given is a great day to be alive. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to participate in the Fargo diocese annual "Walk With Christ for Life," where the Bishop (in this case it wasn't because he happened to be in the Holy Land, no big deal) processes with the Eucharist and a large group of people to North Dakota's only abortion clinic, located in downtown Fargo. It really was an amazing experience to walk with hundreds of people from the community, pray Rosaries there and back, and of course have the Blessed Sacrament leading the way with a myriad of altar servers, priests and other religious. Incredible. One of the reasons I loved it so much was that the streets were blocked, we had portable speakers hooked up for the Rosaries, readings and prayers, and seeing the people that we walked by just stare at us, wondering what the heck we were up to. Something that the great Msgr. Goering said when he gave just a few short words encouraging all of us to stay strong for life was that, "God can accomplish anything and will put an end to abortion." It's as simple as that. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the idea that it seems impossible to put an end to something so prominent in our world today, but God can and all he asks is that we have faith in that and truly believe it. So, here's to kicking off my restricting boots of unbelief and adopting a new outlook: faith and trust in the fact that with God all things truly are possible (Mt. 19:26)

Tim, our heroic TD walking for life
Also, this past week was, as usual, really great. Great is such a lame word to describe how unbelievably much I love being a FOCUS missionary, and I use it all the time. Here's to kicking that habit and starting to use more exciting synonyms! So what I really meant to say was that this week was totally out of this world! (These might be over-exaggerations, but just roll with it) With the student missionaries and the Bible studies we are going to have a men's and women's night each month in place of (or in addition to, depending on which night your study is held) the usual Bible study for that week.  Last week we invited all the women over to visit us in our cozy little apartment on Broadway to hang out, have some fellowship and of course give this girl an opportunity to try her hand at baking something new. We had a pretty decent turnout and it was cool to meet some of the freshmen in Bible studies that I probably wouldn't have been able to meet for a while otherwise. Also, some of the School Sisters of Christ the King showed up and added to our topic of discussion: modesty. Jamie and Katie, two girls from the Bison basketball team, were the only two girls from all three of my studies that showed up, but it was well worth it. We played some wii and had serious bonding time over some EPIC fail cookies Jenne and I made.

Women's night = Great success!
Dream. Boat.
Also, I've done just as much play as I have work. For example: Jenne, Sarah and I watched all of the extended versions of LOTR (Lord of the Rings; my first viewings and not only am I in love with the movies but Legolas as well... basically a dream, but it's okay because I'm on a dating fast, and he's a fictional elf so that's gotta be okay, right? Right). Also, we played Apples to Apples in my Thursday night study and we all laughed a lot, which was great, er, I mean, top-notch... And the only green adjective card I ended up with was the word 'lovable.' How convenient. In A2A (my own abbreviation for the game, feel free to be impressed), each person takes turns flipping over a green card and then all the other people have to lay a red card with some sort of noun on it. The flipper looks at all of them and then chooses their favorite one--whether because of irony, humor or just because it fit best--and the person who won gets to keep that green card and the person with the most at the end wins. There's a little trick that apparently at the end of the game each person should be able to look at the green cards he or she collected and discover that those describe them best. And the only word I got was lovable. Awwwww. Ha, I'm just kidding, but when there were words like crazy, magical, intense, and disgusting played, I'd gladly take lovable any day.

As a few last remarks, last week was also Bison homecoming week and the Husker's Big Ten debut as they got destroyed by the Badgers! This created the makings for quite the friendly environment in our own apartment as Jenne is a born and raised Husker whereas I'm a born and raised Badger. Not bad. Luckily, Jenne and I continued bonding over the reading out loud of Heaven is For Real, which is super adorable and I highly recommend. And it's finally beginning to look like fall. Yay.

To all of you who support me with your prayers and financial support, many thanks and I'm praying for you! God bless you!
Kelsey Marie