United in Community

People have always said, surround yourself with people you want to be like. For a while (or at least for the most part) I felt like I did. I associated myself with ambitious hard workers and constantly strived for perfection. What I didn’t take into account is how supportive my friends would be of my decisions. Growing up was difficult, with not many friends supporting me where I wanted to go, the people I dated, or why I went to church.

 

The hardest challenge was when I was deciding to serve with NET for the year. I got accepted quite late, and my small Catholic group of acquaintances (family friends) were mostly supportive, but my close group of friends were far from happy. A lot of hurtful comments were made, like jokes of a quarter-life crisis, why am I trying to leave my life, etc. It felt like if I did not conform to social norms, anything I ever do would never be enough. The call of God was too strong to pass up or even ignore, so regardless of what anyone said, I went anyway.

Since coming onto NET, I’ve met so many young adults who are on fire with their faith, so devoted to God and try their best to be the best version of themselves. My teammates are there for me through thick and thin, always assuming the best of me and calling me higher. Though sometimes conflict arises, I think the beauty of being with a group of different people is to learn how to love sacrificially, support endlessly, and to build lasting bonds of fellowship with amazing young adults nationwide. With different life experiences and perspectives of the ever-changing world, it has been quite an adventure reaching out to the youth of PEI. As the year progresses I can’t wait to see the changes in our lives, the growing we’ll do and the fellowship we will create during our time of ministry.

What initially drew me to NET (besides an opportunity to travel across the country), was to find fellowship and new friends who were deeply rooted in their faith. I would meet 61 other missionaries who (similar to me) chose to have a personal relationship with God, who said YES when called upon. Though we all have different stories leading us to our ultimate conversion, all our paths converged this year to be radical - to give a year to serve a quite desperate need in our diverse country.

I can say being placed on an island was not a place I ever expected to end up, though I see the beauty in my new environment. Having always been close to a big city, coming onto an island with a population equivalent to Toronto except with more space, Summerside is a tiny “city”. The generosity and the community in Summerside have been absolutely astounding, and it shocked me that not only did most people know their neighbours well, many were Catholics! Many of the adults have a close-knit group of friends who are strong in their faith, and I realized the young adults are lacking the same zeal. There is a desire for fellowship for Catholic young adults, to venture with through the difficulties that come with navigating becoming a full-fledged adult.

Friendship is a very comforting thing to have, and according to Winnie the Pooh, is “something we hold very dear in our hearts.” I hope throughout this year, I not only grow deeper in my faith, but am able to walk with those who feel alone or desolate in their own journey to God. I look forward to meeting new people, the unexpected adventures, as well as the rollercoaster of life God decides to present me with. Most of all, I am excited to be able to look back at this year with fond memories and wonderful individuals that I can gratefully call my brothers and sisters in Christ. And most importantly, know I’m never alone.

Nathania Hu, Team 5