No, We Don't Camp Out in our NET Van!

“So…. do you guys sleep in your van?
Do you camp out?
Do you stay in hotels?”

These are common questions NET missionaries get from young people when they see the notorious NET van, or when they find out that missionaries often travel from city to city, or to a new parish community. And of course, the answer is, (thankfully) no!

Being a NET Missionary, we are blessed in so many ways by God’s graces. We have many wonderful opportunities that would be hard to come by otherwise. One of which, is living in Host Homes. These beautiful, complete strangers, open up their doors to us, give us food and somewhere to sleep as we continue our ministry. It is mind-blowing to think that such generous people exist.

Some teams stay in a host home for 2 weeks at a time, and others just one or two nights! Imagine that, 8 months straight of waking up in a new bed on a weekly or even daily basis!  These families come in all different shapes and sizes, sometimes there are children, sometimes it’s just a couple, honestly, it doesn’t matter what the family looks like, we enjoy every minute of being there.

As well as them giving us what we need physically, they are very generous in giving us love and support in what we do.

A typical evening in a host home entails having dinner with the family, chatting about our day, and develop a beautiful relationship with them. We usually take the conversation over to the living room and share our lives with each other. Sometimes we play games, sometimes we get a tour of their neighbourhood! We even get to read bedtime stories if we have a little “host brother/sister.” It is truly beautiful to be able to meet so many people this way and to foster these unique relationships.

We share stories with the families about our time on the road and in our ministry, hear stories from the lives they’ve lived. To see the impact we are making not just on the youth, but on the families we stay with, is astounding. Sometimes members of the family open up to us with something they’ve suffered with in the past or something they need us to pray for and we take some time to pray with them.  

Each night, we make a point of inviting the family to join us for short night prayer, offering prayers of thanksgiving and intercession. It is a good way to recentre our hearts and minds around Jesus and is a perfect end to our busy days. Sometimes, even after we’ve left the home and moved to another one, we hear that the family still continues to say a night prayer together! That is just one of the ways that we can see the impact that Jesus is making through us along our journey. There are also times where the families already have a nightly prayer that they say, maybe it’s the rosary, or something else, and we happily join in on their tradition.

My family has never hosted anyone in our home before so I have no idea firsthand what it’s like to have two or more new people come and live with me, but I’m sure that I would enjoy it very much. From my side of it, and from the experience that I do have, it is an absolutely wonderful time to get to know a new family every two weeks, and to have these new encounters with all kinds of different people. To see the change, no matter how subtle, in the family but also myself, is a real blessing.

Catherine MacLean, Team 8

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