- God's grace.
Seriously, I was thinking earlier just how impressed I am at the wonders of coffee, and how no exhaustion has been it's match! There were a couple times I'll admit that I didn't think the bean would have it's effect. But I was wrong--it was just that the first cup wouldn't have nearly the same effect as the second or third. Boy am I glad I figured that one out!
I had the opportunity to serve as an interviewer last weekend in Chicago for the FOCUS Great North Region interview weekend, and while it was great to be around my missionary friends and meet awesome people, those can be some long days. And I'm not entirely sure I've had a chance to recover. In fact, I know I haven't. But that's okay, I've got exciting plans this weekend!
Bryan and I had a nice adventure to accompany the weekend, too: we rented a car, drove to St. Paul on Thursday night, flew from MSP -> ORD on Friday morning at literally the crack of dawn, and then reversed it to come back into the Hinterland on Sunday night. It was great to have the quality time with driving, but I'll be honest, both Bryan and I (him especially as he started coming down with a cold--fast!) were ready to be home by the time we got just outside the Cities. Many laughs had by all, Culver's custard devoured to celebrate Sunday and Jim Gaffigan's humor to entertain us on the way back. Joy, joy, joy.
Although the weekends always seem to have a flaw or two laced in logistically, they certainly win me over to FOCUS every time I go. This is now my third weekend as an interviewer and fourth or fifth as a missionary "working the weekend." Various talks are given throughout the course of the weekend; "The Need" and "The Call" being two that always seem to inspire me. I really don't think there will ever come a point that I don't need to be reminded of the darkness in our world (I apologize for the double negative), and how blessed I am to have a relationship with Jesus who loves me and wants to be known by others. When all is said and done, I just genuinely want to share him with everyone.
Ha! That reminds me of a story. Yesterday on campus Jane and I were "barehanding" aka walking around and talking to random students about matters of Faith, God, Religion, etc. Some missionaries really dread this (including me) because let's be honest, it's not the most comfortable topic to approach with a random stranger. And if you're wondering to yourself: what's the point of that?! To that I reply: I'm a missionary! If I really believe what I believe is really real (tongue twister) then it is my duty and obligation to share the Truth with as many as I can. "The road is narrow that leads to life and those that find it are few." (Matthew 7) It also just helps us stay focused on the mission and not get too comfortable because let's be real: we were not made for comfort, we were made for greatness. (Classic FOCUS line, and quote by JPII.)
Back to my story: Jane and I are randomly walking around the basement of the student union where all the people gather to feed. It's lunchtime and we have no luck finding an available young person (preferably female) to engage in a friendly dialogue. As we're on the verge of exiting the premises, I spot a young man out of the corner of my eye, eating a sandwich at a nearby table--alone and not wearing headphones. Victory!
KK: "Jane! Him! Let's do it."
(KK and JV make a B line to the student)
The following conversation takes place (RS = Random Student):
KK: "Hi I'm Kelsey."
RS: "I'm Jordan."
(Kelsey and Jane surprised at his friendly and welcoming reaction.)
JV: "I'm Jane."
KK: "We're Catholic missionaries and are walking around talking to people. There's a statistic out that 80% of college students come to college and walk away from their faith (this is true, by the way!). Why do you think that is?"
RS: "You wanna know the really funny thing?"
(KK and JV unsure, caught off guard, and open to hearing what he has to say)
KK: "Yeah, I do!"
RS: "I haven't been to church since my grandpa's funeral sophomore year of high school. But you wanna know the really funny thing? I went last night for the first time in 4 years with a friend that invited me."
(KK and JV experience the "jaw drop" coupled with "extreme disbelief," and seriously can't believe what he just said.)
Jordan proceeds to tell us how the sermon was exactly what he needed to hear and that he's even Catholic (bonus!). We extend an invitation to Mass followed by a chocolate fondue (which turns out to be a huge success! How could it not?) and he seems genuinely interested--now that's not something we run into every day!
For example, on Wednesday Jane and I find ourselves between meetings with students (again at the union) and have a few moments to spare. I take a seat on the couch next to her and we begin chatting. While talking I overhear in a not-six-inch-voice, "You just need to find a good Catholic girl!" Of course I stop mid-sentence and ask Jane if she heard what I just heard. She didn't, so I inform. She pointed to the railing that looks down at the same lunch room we visited yesterday, so you can see the people sitting at the tables. We run to the railing, peek our heads over, and four pairs of guy's eyes glare up at us. Awkward.
We back away slowly, put on our coats, and obviously laugh so hard they can probably now hear us from upstairs when we just heard them from downstairs. "Jane, we're gonna go talk to them right?" I ask her. "Well duh," she responds. Without batting an eye we walk downstairs, right to their table and ask them if they were just talking about needing a "good Catholic girl." They all deny, but we know it was them because of two things: 1) their tones of voice and 2) there is literally nobody else around in their close proximity. Finally one, Colton, speaks up and tells us that it was him, and I'm pretty sure if all the shades of red could be represented in rainbow-like fashion, that would be the color I'd use to describe his face.
Jane and I inform them of our "Catholic mish status" and that we know tons of cute, single, "good Catholic girls." Colton doesn't seem so interested in our offer, and the other guys have the looks on their faces of a younger sibling that just got the older one in trouble. I know this look because I've practiced it so many times.
How funny life is. I've noticed how while I used to be so nervous to talk to random strangers, I really just don't get too bothered by it anymore. All I want to do is share Christ with these people and as the age-old adage goes, "eternity is worth the awkwardness." Plus, let's be real: we meet someone. He/she doesn't like us. We walk away, and probably never see him/her again. Not so scary! But I probably needed to be reminded of that more than all of you.
With that being said, I'm packing up the Great White and taking a road trip down south to the great, corny state of Iowa to visit Lee. Please pray for safe travels!