Happy Saturday, Ladies!!!
Last weekend, I had the wonderful privelage of interviewing one of my dear friends, Anna Spankie. Anna served as a NET missionary the past two years and was so gracious to share about her experience. NET is such a wonderful ministry and I know you will all enjoy hearing what she had to say about it!! Enjoy!!
+ Tell me a little about NET.
NET Ministry stands for the National Evangelization Teams. It’s basically a number of young people, somewhere around 175, from around the country, and even around the world, that give nine months of their lives to serve with NET. What it looks like serving with NET is either being on a retreat team, which does retreats around the country, traveling every single day, and spreading the gospel to middle schoolers and High schoolers. There are also parish teams, which focus on really building up a parish community and the youth activity sight that they have there. They minister and disciple to the youth there, but also minister to the host families that they stay with. We stay with random people for days or weeks at a time during NET. By ministering to our host families we hear their stories and spread God’s love to them too.
They send you to five weeks of training, when you get there in the fall, and then you are sent out in teams of 9 to 15 people. So that’s just a little about NET.
+ What intrigued you about NET and made you sign up?
I had always had a desire to do some kind of mission work like that. I had heard about NET mostly through a friend. She went on a NET retreat, told me all about it, and I wrote it down on a sticky note in my Literature book and never saw it again. But it was just something so different and so radical to give up a year of your life to go and just give of yourself and to meet people and to love a team and to serve other people. That’s what really drew me to apply. I was really nervous because you are really putting yourself out there in a totally new environment that you’re not use to at all. But it worked out!!
+ Once you signed up and were accepted, you were assigned to a parish team. Expain the differences between the two types of teams and their strengths.
Retreat teams are very much “you bounce and you go”. You don’t have much time to build relationships. But there are a lot of glory stories that can come from that, like instant conversions. With a parish team, though, you just watch them grow and that’s your glory story. You see where they were and then you see how far they have come.
+ What were some of the activities that you were involved in while participating in NET?
On a weekly basis, we would go to a local high school and middle school for lunch twice a week. We really sat down with the youth that we met there and built relationships. We didn’t just sit down and say “You wanna talk about Jesus”, because that’s not how you really go about it (evangelizing). We helped with a lot of Confirmation classes. The parish that I was at had a huge Hispanic community, so we were really involved with them during their confirmations. We did things called open youth house for high school one day and middle school another which was just a block of time to have fun, kinds of create that fellowship with good Catholic friends, and then we would usually end with praise and worship very briefly. We would also go to masses and sit with families and introduce ourselves to them.
Our main goal was to meet people and then go out with them, one on one or in groups, and talk to them and get to know them. Then this would eventually lead to discipleship, whether that be discipling someone one on one and helping them build their faith life and creating a discipleship group that would meet regularly.
+ What was your favorite part of the NET experience?
My favorite part about NET was being on a team. It was the most difficult thing. (haha) But it was the most rewarding in that it taught me authentic relationships, how to fight for relationships, even when they are hard. You have these relationships that are built on such a solid foundation of the faith. You encourage and you inspire and you have hard times and you learn to reconcile. But its really a beautiful gift.
Ministry wise, my favorite part was working with the middle school and high school girls. They are something else!! It’s just really beautiful to watch these girls and see where they’re at, and then you see them come and find a relationship with the Lord. They slowly, very slowly, see their worth and that they’re loved. Seeing them transform is truly a very beautiful thing.
+ In a nut shell, how did NET help you grow as an individual and follower of Christ?
In a nut shell, it really helped me to come out of myself, get uncomfortable. It challenged me to use my gifts and talents and not keep them all to myself. Over all, it helped me to form a relationship with the Lord, on a deeper level, especially through consistent prayer and having people keep me accountable in my prayer life. But above all, I think it just teaches you to love and to serve. You learn to love your team. You learn to love each person you encounter, because each person that you encounter is a moment where you are seeking to bring the Lord’s love to someone. On a parish team, you go from ministry at the church to ministry at home to that girl we see at Starbucks every few days because we go there a lot. (haha) You just learn to love everybody.
+ Now that you are done with NET, what is the next step?
The next step, as of right now, is leading the youth group at our parish church. That is just the next step and I will see where that leads me. Kind of walking with blind faith, like “Jesus show me the next step”. That’s just what’s next for now!!
+ What would you say to someone who is interested in NET?
Just apply! Just because you apply doesn’t mean that you will be accepted, its just putting yourself out there to be open to what the Lord has in story for you. Just be open to it because its the most difficult thing you will ever do, but its also the most rewarding, by far. A lot of times at training, they talk about what the Lord is going to do in your own life is even more powerful than the work that you are doing. Because you go to NET and you’re like, “I’m so ready to change the world and inspire people”, and then you finishd the year and are like “Woo, Jesus, you jst dropped a bomb on me”. Just be open and don’t be afraid. Have courage!!