for we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Cor. 5:7

The end of October is here! Unbelievable! Going along with the festivity of fall, we painted pumpkins at one of our casual women’s nights. I’ll be putting mine out on the porch tonight to welcome any little trick-or-treaters that show up at my door….

Well, only a week has passed, but what a week it has been! Thursday flew by – 6:30 am; Liturgy of the Hours and personal prayer, 8am; exercise/errands/laundry, 10:30; apologetics study/pack my lunch/head to Newman Center, 12 – 2; meet with a couple of girls I’ve recently met, 2pm; weekly mission leader meeting!, 4:15pm;  head to daily mass with students, 5:30; household dinner/tidy the house/breathe a little, 8pm; women’s night, 11pm; sleep! Friday and Saturday were quite the blur as well. On Friday, a regional representative from Students for Life came to meet and speak with the  WVU Mountaineers for Life group. She gave a lot of practical and useful suggestions for expanding the membership of the group, ways to become more involved and visible on campus, and many resources to use. That evening we left for our Women’s Getaway Trip – a time to relax, be silly, and build sisterhood. We drove about 45 minutes to a lake house somewhere in Pennsylvania, (it still amazes me that I can be in another state so quickly!) unpacked, started a campfire, and made s’mores late into the night. Several of the ladies that have requested household applications were able to come to the lake house, which I’m so grateful for. Having the ability to spend time together in this way is so much more powerful than anything I can say. The next morning, we all woke up to the gorgeous view of the lake and trees…so beautiful! When I went downstairs, girls were already busy making breakfast together. After cleaning up, several girls headed outdoors to explore the surrounding woods, and the rest of us stayed inside, curled up in blankets and chatted away. I love how it is the simple things that bring us close to one another… we didn’t need anything extravagant or fancy, just the time to talk and share our lives with each other.

We got back into Morgantown on Saturday about 3pm, and Jillian and I hit the ground running to prepare for the Opening of the Lord’s Day Celebration at 6:30. Jillian ran to the grocery store while I pulled up the recipes and texted her the shopping list. I met her at the Newman Center and threw on an apron. Praise the Lord for the ability to multi-task and prepare several things at the same time! She had the chicken de-frosting and took care of making the rice, then headed back home to get ready. After a whirlwind of cooking, there was skillet chicken with cranberries and apples, wild rice, roasted Brussels sprouts, a platter of grapes & cheese, and warm Challah bread that came out of the oven just in time. YUM. I wish I had taken a photo to show you, but it definitely slipped my mind… sorry! After praying, singing some praise to the Lord, feasting, and cleaning up, we kicked off our shoes to relax. A group of us stayed at Newman to watch the Notre Dame game. I got home around 11:30pm and slept like  a log. Then Sunday shows up, and chilly weather along with it! Earlier in September, I had signed up to run the Labor of Love 5K – a race to raise support for a local pregnancy help ministry. (Check them out! http://www.lolministries.net/) It was 45 degrees, a bit rainy, and I was seriously missing Texas and my favorite running partner, Jaclyn! The event went well despite the weather, and they raised $387.36. It looks like they might do one again in the spring, so I’ll keep you posted!

Speaking of cold weather, I experienced driving in snow for the first time! Monday morning, 8am, the 3 of us missionaries headed to Columbus, Ohio for our combined mission leader staff day. We meet with the staff from the SPO chapter in Columbus about every 3 or 4 weeks. These staff days consist of meetings, worship & intercessory prayer, discussions, men’s/women’s small group with our supervisor, WVU/OH chapter time, and attending the formation program. In the formation program, the content we are covering deals with the battle we are engaged in: overcoming the world, the flesh, and the devil. Intense stuff! Tuesday morning, it was snowing when I woke up, and we still had to drive back to Morgantown, WV. By the time we left Columbus, it was only raining so the drive wasn’t bad. There was snow everywhere when we got back though! This is the view from my window.

I am grateful for the various ways that I am presented with to grow in knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for my faith. Yesterday during prayer, I was reading about the theological virtue of faith. A chunk of the text jumped out at me and I’d like to share it with you – “Faith, simply put, is our being obedient to what God has revealed to us to be true. Faith unites us to God through what he has chosen to reveal to us, what is necessary for our salvation….The obedience of faith is our hearing God speak to us personally and our freely surrendering to him and to his revelation.” – Fr. James M. Sullivan, O.P.

Gosh, I just love to continue learning, period! Over the past month, the SPO staff in Ohio and West Virginia has been reading through and discussing the Church document Ad Gentes, a decree on the mission activity of the Church. As I’ve gone back and looked over specific chapters, I have been reassured of my life and work as a missionary. There are times when I definitely don’t feel strong enough, or have enough energy, or am qualified enough to be doing this work. But I have trust in what I cannot see; I have confidence in the Lord to provide the inspiration and courage to continue. I took great encouragement from this line – “For he must have the spirit of initiative in beginning, as well as that of constancy in carrying through what has begun; he must be persevering in difficulties, patient and strong of heart in bearing with solitude, fatigue, and fruitless labor.” (Ad Gentes 4) How true, indeed!

I’ve also re-visited some parts of my training binder recently and found another valuable nugget to remind me of the importance of why having a heart for mission is essential to all Christians – “Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection.” (Evangelii Nuntiandi 14) 

And at that… I must be off! Thanks for sharing in another week with me! God bless you all!

Bibliography references from above, in case you were wondering:

Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, Ad Gentes. Vatican II, December 7, 1965. 

Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi. December 8, 1975.

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