these pink-leaved trees are as ubiquitous as red maples are back home
The final term of the school year is well underway and Richard and I are stunned to find ourselves already almost a quarter of the way through our mission period. Realizing how fast our time here is passing helps redouble our desire to make every day count. As it has been almost a month since posting last, I'll just try to summarize what exactly has been keeping us too busy to blog!
We've had a fantastic start to the term. Our theme for Lighthouse and Tahu has been "Temptation". Over the course of the term we'll be presenting on some areas of temptation that sometimes are overlooked in youth ministry, such as subtle forms of lying and stealing that are quite commonplace in "normal" high school settings. Richard dressed up as a cranky demon to share some insights into resisting temptation, a la CS Lewis' wonderful Screwtape Letters. We've been blessed with some excellent volunteer guest speakers this term and we'll be welcoming a new partner into our ministry later next month. We've also been pleased to be able to pay back our debt, in a sense, as we are asked to be guest speakers at events. This month I gave a talk on Christian Marriage at the local Catholic high school's Pure Love Club. Rich and I were also invited to speak at New Zealand's national CUF conference, although we had to decline as it involved some travel and fell just three weeks before my due date.
Rich is leading A Few Good Men in a book study of Wild at Heart. This popular handbook on Christian masculinity examines a man's desire for adventure, mission and danger, guiding young men to put these impulses in the service of God and others. In Girls and God, we're discussing a series of topics all pertaining somehow to the theme of human dignity. In addition to this larger girls' group, I also offer a smaller and much more intense girls' discipleship group called Handmaids, the aim of which is to push its 5 members as far as they are capable of going in the area of Christian leadership - and then just a hair further. This term's focus is "testimony", and each girl gave her very first witness last week. We plan to just keep assigning new topics and practicing all term, ultimately moving into on-the-spot witnessing, so as to be always prepared to give a reason for our hope!
Other areas keeping us busy: Rich and I have put a lot of time into redecorating the youth room for the new term. He's added significantly to the number of young men that he mentors one-on-one, and finds doing so very fulfilling. Fr. Michael asked me to begin a parish ministry to mothers of newborns (St. Thomas More had a bit of a baby boom this spring and we now have 5 new parishioners under the age of 12 weeks!) It's a huge change of pace from youth ministry, but I love it. In addition to all this exciting ministry busy-ness, we have also made a firm resolution to get outdoors and explore with as many family day trips as possible. These spring excursions have done much to refresh and energize us each week. They've also worked wonders on the overall "crank" level of the shorter Sealys.
some of the best-attired Tahooligans at our costume party in
honor of All Saints' Day
Rich pretending to be St. Francis
Richard truly living the life of St. Francis
Bernadette, honey, could you just pretend to be excited
that mama's holding a real live bird?
Maria jumped right on board with October's Franciscan theme;
she volunteered to babysit her preschool's pet bunny for the weekend