Testimony 1: Lessons from Hallmark
I taught religion to the whole middle school, from sixth to eighth grades. I was also the homeroom teacher to the sixth-grade boys for most of the years I taught there. I was always on the lookout for anything I could use for my boys or for teaching in general. One evening at the convent, we watched a Hallmark movie, and I walked away with a one-line golden nugget that the Holy Spirit told me to write down for my boys: “A boy with courage grows up to be a man with courage.” I wrote it on my board the next day, and it stayed up all year long—and for all the years following. When the boys made good decisions like telling the truth, owning up to their mistakes, or encouraging each other, I would say something like, “Praise the Lord! I’m so proud of you. A boy who owns up to his mistakes will become a man who will take responsibility for them as well.”
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Testimony 2: Am I a Missionary Disciple?
I was freaking out. I had been asked to give my first talk to the high school youth group, a group of about eighty teens. It was a talk on being a missionary disciple, and I didn’t feel like one. Mostly because I had recently graduated college and come into the Church through RCIA, and so most of my experience of the faith up to that point had been very “mountaintop,” full of consolation. But for the past two years, I had also worked a job as a waitress—a job I had started while still in my undergraduate studies and which was now my full-time job. This work environment that would consume hours of my day could make it very challenging for me to live like Jesus. Foul language, even a culture of sexual harassment, was everywhere. Though I wasn’t swept up entirely into all the sinful behaviors, it could be suffocating at times.
A popular saying that was making its way around social media was “bloom where you are planted,” but I felt as if I was wilting. Now I was supposed to give a talk on how to bloom, and I felt as if I didn’t know what that was like! Luckily, I had ties to a good community, and the overwhelming advice of my sisters and friends was to go to prayer and ask Jesus to show me where he had been working. So, that’s what I did.
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