We love retreats! And we love putting them on for teenagers! So when we were asked to help out with the Spirit Alive Youth Conference in Wentzville, Missouri we were ecstatic! This was a bit different for us because we weren’t putting the retreat on ourselves, instead we were working with a team of other people who had been organizing this conference for several years now – and we were happy to help! So 9 of us (about half of our team), embarked on what would be the longest distance yet for us to travel for a retreat. 600 miles later (one-way) and after 12 hours in our beautiful blue bus (a trip that would normally take 9 hours in a car), we had arrive and were eagerly looking forward to an amazing weekend with over 100 teens for the conference! Overall, the trip and the conference were both a huge success! Through this trip, God showed us a glimpse of what He has in store for our future as a ministry – and we are more than ready to rise to the occasion and serve!
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” “Here I am,” I said; “send me!” ” – Isaiah 6:8
“He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” ” – Matthew 4:19
We’ll let the rest of the story be told by several of our team members. First, our newest member…
Bethany Hughes… First fact about Missouri: it is a lot colder than Georgia weather. I was not expecting it to be cold and stay cold ALL day, plus they had a constant wind (brrr). Despite the cold, Missouri is sooo beautiful. We had perfect timing and were able to be there when the leaves were changing and falling (I could sit and watch leaves for days…it’s one of my favorite hobbies). An amazing thing in Missouri was to see a Catholic church almost every 2 miles. Quite different from what us southerners are used to, with there being maybe one per city.
Trips are always exciting. I love the planning, organization, details, and the adventure of the actual trip. The Missouri trip was a bit different for me. I wasn’t in control; I didn’t know all the details or the organization. I didn’t know I would be able to go until two weeks before the trip. The scariest part of going to Missouri was knowing that I was getting ready to embark on a twelve hour bus ride with seven complete strangers (no big deal right!?!). Well that was going to change soon. There is no better way to bond with your new team members than on an twelve hour bus ride (even though a majority of the time was spent sleeping). I will save you all from the boring details and just tell you about the awesomeness.
The exciting points of the trip for me was making pb&j’s on a moving bus (that was a challenge!), jam sessions, games, and getting to talk and know my fellow teammates. What was even more awesome was being able to lead the team in my favorite form of prayer – the rosary. On our way to Wentzville we made a pit stop in St. Louis, where God gave us the opportunity to visit the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. The Basilica is the largest and most beautiful church I have had the opportunity to visit. Along with just being able to see the splendor of the church, we were given the grace and honor of going to the back to see their relics. What a true honor it was to be in the same room as a piece of the original cross. I mean can you imagine? Being in the same place as a piece of the cross that our Lord was actually crucified on. What a humbling experience. After our stop at the Basilica we made our way downtown. We went to hand out the pb&j sandwiches that we had made on the trip up, which proved to be a little harder than we thought when we didn’t find that many hungry people on the streets. But God works in wonderful ways and we finally found ourselves in front of a homeless shelter and were able to give a group of men the sandwiches and fruit that we had left. We we were able to talk to and witness to our brothers in Christ there, and even signed one man’s arm cast and prayed with him.
Our next stop was Wentzville, Missouri where the conference was being held. Here I just want to thank our amazing host family who opened their homes and hearts to us! At the actual retreat I helped with a bit of everything, wherever they needed me. I also got to get out of my comfort zone and lead a small group. Small groups is one of my weaknesses…I always feel inadequate in helping lead/teach others about following and living their faith. Through this trip God was able “gird my loins” by renewing my trust in my capabilities through the Holy Spirit.
It was such a blessing that God put the Mobile Mission in my life, I am so joyful to be the newest member of the team…well I should say family. God revealed to me piece by piece throughout the weekend how He plans on using my life for His glory. How He can work through me to show everyone that they are adequate enough, that God created them in His image for a purpose.
Evan Glowzinski… This was a beautiful and blessed opportunity for all of us. To leave our home state and travel to help with a retreat in a location none of us have ever been to. We traveled as missionaries sleeping on a bus, and literally living on what could be considered the 8th sacrament for youth ministers: coffee. Traveling together strengthened bonds of friendships and even started a few others. For me, going through the ups and downs that always seem to happen before a retreat is always made more beautiful when surrounded by those you love and serve with. One of the highlights for me, outside of the retreat, was getting to visit the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis. This was the first time I was able to see a church this beautiful and to have it be a pilgrimage before the retreat truly helped set the tone of service for me.
Tony Roberts… First of all, the Mobile Mission bus was a perfect road trip vehicle…everyone had a spot to sleep and a nice window view. We made peanut butter sandwiches in the bus to hand out in St. Louis and we visited the Cathedral Basilica and saw all the beautiful art and relics. This was a truly impactful visit, even though it was just a stop in our way to the conference. The hospitality in Missouri was amazing, and I loved seeing all the Catholic churches on every corner. The conference was held at a church built in the 1800’s with a beautiful altar. Traveling halfway across the country to help with a conference we’d never been to – we didn’t know what to expect, but the teens attending were very excited to be there and all the volunteers and other speakers were great. The highlight of the trip for me would be Saturday night adoration when the priest walked around the whole room with the monstrance, stopping in front of each and every person there.
Check out more pictures from our trip!