Hello everyone! I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to get a blog up and running, but here it is! It's been a busy three weeks, that's for sure. It's hard to believe I've been in Florida for that long, and at the same time, it seems like I've been here much longer than that!
Because FGCU (Florida Gulf Coast University, in Fort Myers) is a new FOCUS campus, for my teammate Melissa and I, the first few weeks have really been just figuring out the campus, and the area, and our living situation. (We didn't have water for the first two days we were here, it took another few days for us to be able to get past the gate of our subdivision without it being an issue, and we FINALLY got our wireless internet up and running today—oh, make that yesterday...it's getting late!) We've been hanging out with Newman Club members (Newman is the existing Catholic student club on campus) and meeting as many students on campus as we can. Making connections early in the semester is key, and it can be a challenge to do if you haven't even completely moved into your house yet...
Speaking of our house, though... Melissa and I have been blessed with a house to live in that was bought for us by the Diocese of Venice. In all honesty, I didn't really ever in my life expect to live in a house this nice, much less right after I graduated from college....and even much less as a missionary! We moved in to a fully furnished house, right down to towels in the closet. As I said, such a blessing!
I've uploaded a video tour of the house:
(Just in case that decides to be finicky, though, here's the link on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCfbAfBSPjE)
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Let me give you a little glimpse of what the past week or so on campus has looked like:
Last weekend we did just about all of the freshman Week of Welcome events that we could, including a photo scavenger hunt around campus, casino night, and a pep rally of sorts for athletics. (We even got free t-shirts...they say class of 2014, but hey, I'm not complaining!) We met some pretty awesome freshman there, and were able to tell some of our new friends (who we found out were Catholic) about Mass on campus.
Monday we spent the morning trying to sort out some logistical stuff on campus (parking, whether or not we'd be able to get campus ID's, that sort of thing). We sat down with two girls for lunch, and had a good conversation with them. Hopefully we'll all be going to the gym together this week to do some sort of fitness class together!
Later that night, Melissa and I decided we were going to just go into one of the freshmen dorm kitchens and start baking a bunch of cookies and handing them out to people. It was awesome! Actually, it didn't start out that way, because we forgot to bring cookie sheets or oven mitts, we just had cookie dough and an oven. So we called up a few of our new friends, and scraped together something to bake on, a t-shirt to use as an oven mitt, and even some cups and milk to go with the cookies. We ended up meeting SO many people (apparently you could smell cookies all throughout the dorm and people would wander in, and who can resist a free cookie??). We've actually made plans to make this a weekly event. It's facebook official and everything! :) It's amazing how God can use a few boxes of cookie mix to set up that many divine appointments, though. It will be great to see what happens throughout the year with that group!
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we had tables set up on campus to get the word out about FOCUS and Newman Club. We had a really awesome response (and it didn't hurt that we had a raffle going on for some pretty sweet prizes...), but it was great to get to meet even more students, and tell people about Mass on campus, Bible studies, conference, and other events that we'll have going on throughout the year.
This weekend has been trying to play catch-up (and not doing too great of a job...) with all of the things that we hadn't had time to do around the house for the rest of the week. We've also been following up with people who were interested in joining a Bible study. This coming week we will be meeting with people and trying to set up times when we'll actually be meeting for study on a weekly basis. (We made a little time for ourselves, too...the beach is only 20 minutes away....)
I'll be glad when we've got everything set and things will start to get a little more "normal." (I'm pretty sure that "normal" won't ever really be a good way to describe this lifestyle...it's intense, and there's a lot of stuff that comes up that you just can't plan for. But it's been GREAT so far!)
Well, I'm sure there's a lot more that I can tell you about, but it will have to wait.
If you would pray for me though, I'll give you a short list!
•Pray that I use my time wisely, prioritizing the things that need to get done right away, and leaving less important things for later.
•Pray for the students at FGCU, ones that we've talked to already, and ones that we haven't yet talked to, but that God will put in our path later. Pray that they are able to see themselves as unique and special, and loved as a son or daughter of the Father.
•"...and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must." (Ephesians 6:19-20) And that I continue to grow closer to Christ so that I can in turn draw others to Him, too!
If there is anything that I can pray for you, please let me know! I'd love to do that for you!
I'll leave you with a photo I took from my backyard at sunset today. The clouds here have been beautiful just about every day (even though it's rained just about every day...)
God is good!