A Learning Curve

I met Rachael at a grade 7 retreat in Okotoks, Alberta this past week. While I was introducing myself to the retreatants, I mentioned that, true to PEI stereotypes, I like potatoes. Upon hearing this, a hand shot up and a girl yelled “I love potatoes, too!”. In the moment, I was only thankful to have an energetic person in the group and so I was surprised later when I discovered that she was in my small group. Rachael didn’t talk a lot during our first couple of groups, but still, she was always smiling and you could almost feel the joy radiating off of her.

When lunch came around, I had gotten my food and had come out of the kitchen only to find Rachael sitting alone in a corner, eating her sandwich. Now, I find that I relate to people more easily one-on-one rather than in groups, so I walked up, sat with her, and we got to talking. I was surprised at how quickly our conversation got deep. Almost immediately, she cut the small talk and told me that she really wishes her family went to Mass more often. While we ate, Rachael shared with me about how when she was 6, her family got into a car accident and she broke her back. She had had to stay in the children’s hospital for a month with her mother across the city at the general hospital at the same time - unable to see each other while they recovered. She told me of how she had missed a year of school during her recovery and then could only do half days for the year after that. Because of this, she missed out on a lot, especially sports. She is fully recovered and mobile now, but her mom is still very careful about what she lets her do in case it could aggravate her back, so she often still feels very restricted.

After hearing all of this, I was totally taken aback, and kind of grasping for something to say to relate to her - to show her that I’m trying to understand. In the end, all I could muster was that I’m glad that she’s okay, and that she could be there that day. That seemed to be enough for her. She told me that she was very glad to be at the retreat and to have met me. She even went on to tell me that during the talk I gave called “Who are you?”, which focuses on identity and how ow God made you and views you. It had been just what she had needed to hear, and that she couldn’t help but cry while she listened. Again, I was blown away, but this time by how incredible the Holy Spirit is for working through me to touch the heart of His daughter. My only job in all of that was merely to invite Him in, speak for a few minutes, and trust that He would work in whatever way He needed to, which He did!

Following that incredibly humbling lunch, our retreat moved into the prayer ministry portion, in which we go to a Church and have a quiet time of prayer. During this time, small group leaders go around to their group and invite them to pray with them. So I was doing this and when I came to Rachael, I found that she was crying. When I asked if she was okay, she said that she just keeps thinking about how great God is and about how Jesus died on the cross for her and that she is just so thankful. Yet again, I found myself stumped by this girl. I wasn’t expecting something so beautiful and selfless from a girl who has been through so much hardship.

Thinking back on her response, I’d like to think that I would have the same faith in God if I were in her shoes, but truthfully, I know that that would be incredibly hard for me. This only made me realise that this girl, despite being years younger than me, could teach me a thing or two about trust in the Lord.

After I prayed with her, the retreat finished, and everyone was gone, I was still thinking about her and her desire to love Jesus. I was totally astounded by Rachael’s faith. I learned that even though our mission as NET missionaries is to spread the good news to the youth, we can learn just as much from them. I found myself evangelized that day by the very person I myself was ministering to. I know that the Holy Spirit was working through the both of us at once to reveal what He wanted us to hear. I am beyond blessed to have met Rachael this week and I’m really looking forward to seeing what God has in store for her this year.

 

Kristin Scott current NET missionary, Team 5 - Christ the Redeemer school Board, Alberta.