Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"The witness of the Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission"- Pope John Paul II

Hello and Happy Advent,

Thank you everyone for your love and prayers. I have definitely felt them from across the oceans! I remembered my brother's birthday on the 30th and relyed on your love to get through it - Please keep him in your prayers this Advent season.

November was a blessed month. The youth groups were in full swing and the kids seemed to thouroughly enjoy the term. I gave a talk on Mary to the high school kids and gave a talk on strength and conversion to the middle schoolers. The girls group that we had on Wednesdays was wonderful, and we spent the rest of the term studying "Theology of the Body" which was a huge success. We ended the term with a retreat for the middle schoolers which was based on Holiness. I gave the last talk on going out and living our life in a way that brings glory to God. As you can see your prayers were needed this month - please keep them coming :) We're ending the school year with a huge celebration Sunday this Sunday to share with the parents and parish what went on all year.

I'm chaperoning another retreat this weekend for the Pure Love Club that one of the youth implemented outside of the youth group. Isn't that great! The Lord is truly building up leaders all around me. Please keep these youth in your prayers, chastity is a new idea for most of the culture here.

The conference planning in under way. I have traveled all over the diocese visiting the schools for a second time since I've been back. I met with all of the coordinators at the schools to talk about the best ways to get the word out about the conference to the kids. Then I traveled back again and spoke to some of the kids at more assemblies, and we implemented a lottery so that one student from each of the Catholic schools in the diocese wins to come to the conference for free. The kids are really having to be sold on this... We're not in Steubenville anymore, Toto!

The schools are almost out now for the summer, so over the break we will be working on mailing all of the students an additional letter and form so that they're parents see everything as well. I am learning so much. I had no idea that so much PR was going to be required. I am looking forward to when it is over and I get to work more on planning and implementing the actual conference and less PR, but in the mean time I am learning a lot!

Fun stuff!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with a wonderful "traditional" meal and celebration put on by Fr. Michael, and two friends, Daniel and Kieran. We even had a turkey! It was such a blessed time and we all said what we were thankful for this year. I think the Lord knew that we missed being home :)

We had our end of the year beach day with the highschoolers - the weather is finally beginning to be friendly and I spent the whole day in the water! I'm learning how to body surf - who said it was all work and no play? :)

Lastly, Kerstin's parents have come to celebrate Christmas and its been so wonderful to have some Americans here with us! Christmas will truly be an exciting time this year.

I hope this update gave you a little taste of what we've been doing, so far away from home. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and happy 2010!!! Please play in some snow for me - we are a little low on it here :) And I love getting letters if you get a chance - hint hint - ;)
My address is...

St. Thomas More Catholic Church
Attn: Krista
17 Gloucester Rd.
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

God bless you all! Know of my prayers for you and your families this Advent.

Merry Christmas,

Monday, November 2, 2009

"I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

My dear family and friends,
Thank you so much for your patience with the blogs. For those of you who do not know, I lost my brother on October 16. Timothy Francis was nineteen years old and fell asleep at the wheel on his way home from work. He had such a beautiful heart, with which he loved everyone he knew. Timothy had such a simple way of loving God, he simply lived for Him everyday, and I hope that one day the same could be said for me. I know he was proud of my desire to do mission work, and I am happy to helping here now even more with that knowledge. Please remember him in your prayers, especially this month in which Catholics remember all the souls who have gone before us. I've added a photo, so that you have a face to go with his name. My little sister, Tori, is with him in the photo.

I was only in New Zealand a little over two weeks when I got the call from my sister. Three days later a got another call from relatives who got together and wanted to fly me home to spend a couple days with my family. I flew back to the states for a week and am now back in New Zealand. It was wonderful being with my family during this hard time. I do not know how to thank everyone enough. To the friends and family who were there for me, prayed for me and my family, sent cards, or called, please know that I will never forget your compassion and kindness. Thank you for everything.

I am getting readjusted here quickly, and am glad to be back serving again. Please keep the prayers coming, for I need them now more than ever. The conference planning will be getting back on track now, the youth groups are both going wonderful and I am very much enjoying helping out (I'm giving a talk on Our Lady this weekend!), there is a girls group that is studying Theology of the Body, and lots of other little projects are getting started! I'm being blessed to help out also with a young adult night this month, for those of you in that age range you know how important those are, so please pray extra hard that it is an awesome night!

Please pray for the high school kids that have now been told about the Catholic Youth Conference (since we have spoken at all of the schools now), that they are open to the Lord's call for the one's that are supposed to attend. That they would have the courage, even if they're friends aren't coming, to come!

Thank you so much, everyone. Know of my prayers and my love.

In Jesus' Heart and Under Mary's Mantle,

Friday, October 9, 2009

Safe and Sound

Greetings from Mount Maunganui!

I arrived in New Zealand on October 2 after 40 hours of traveling!  The Lord provided a series of safe flights and before I knew it I was here.  Thank you to everyone who was praying, the prayers paid off!

It is still very much winter here, so it took a little while to adjust (I've learned how to keep a fire going for the house, and many other ways to keep warm), and I'm feeling well now and excited about getting to work.  I will get some photos up as soon as it is warm enough to go out and take some :)

Everything is moving fast down here!   I have met so many wonderful people, including many of the teens from St. Thomas More.  The two youth groups are set up for the high school (which they call college) and middle school (which is called intermediate).   I have already been able to help with singing for Mass (two days after I arrived!), spent some time in the office helping with youth group preparation for this term, and we will be going around to all of the high schools in the diocese over the next two weeks speaking to the youth  about the conference!  Please pray that the student's hearts are open to the idea of the conference and that they all sign up right :)  We are working out details and the plans for the conference are all coming together.  The conference is truly going to be an amazing experience for the youth.  

Also, please keep the mission in your prayers, for the teens hearts, the youth leaders health, and for St. Thomas More as it makes all of this possible in New Zealand.
Know of my prayers for all of you!  Your intentions have come with me all the way over here and I am praying for you daily.  Especially the youth group at St. Thomas a' Becket - Keep being Hardcore for Christ! Thank you all so much for your love and support. 

In Christ,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Two Week Countdown!

Hello Everyone :)

Falls just around the corner, and so is the mission trip! I just want to thank everyone again for all of your support. I have no doubt that I would not be where I am without it. The two week countdown has begun and I'm trying to remain cool :) But things are just so busy and crazy that I know without your prayers I would be completely overwhelmed. Everything is going smoothly though for the most part and I feel like almost everything is in line to go. Passport, Visa, plane tickets - check, check, check!

The Catholic Youth Conference is now less than 6 months away! We've lined up (as far as we know) all the possible speakers, plane tickets are bought (or being bought), and Danielle tells me my room is ready for me! I will be living with the two full time missionaries who are beginning their second year at St. Thomas More in Mount Maunganui. Danielle Castellucci and Kerstin Brueck! Both dear friends, I met Danielle in my home town of Carrollton, Ohio, where we went to high school together, and then I met Ker when we travelled to Austria in our study abroad program through the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. Ker is originally from Germany, but her family came to the United States when she was 8 years old. I'm so blessed to be able to spend this 6 months with them, and I cannot wait to get started!

About two weeks ago the Arlington Catholic Herald interviewed me, and the story came out in the paper today. Its great because it lets a lot of new people know what the Lord is doing in New Zealand, and if they would feel called to donate to the conference they can through St. Thomas More's website. The link for the article is as follows, if you want to check it out! http://www.catholicherald.com/local_news/detail.html?sub_id=11064

My next week and a half is very crazy - I go home for 4 days, then I'm back in DC for 4 days, then on the 27th I go to North Carolina to visit family, then from there I fly out on the 30th! Please keep the prayers coming, and be assured of mine. God is going to do such great things in these kids' lives! I will write once I'm there - its not too long now.
Thank you for your love and prayers.

In Christ,

Thursday, July 23, 2009

September 30, 2009

Greetings in Christ!

This is my first blog and I'm so excited! I leave to do mission work in just over two months. I fly from LAX on September 30. I plan on updating this blog one more time before I leave and then frequently while I am away.

I first and foremost would like to thank everyone for their love and support. It makes it so much easier knowing that you are all behind me. The Lord has truly blessed me already in this experience by showing His love for me through all of you. Thank you for making this possible and accompanying me to New Zealand!

Please keep the prayers coming. I have no doubt that I will need them! The conference is still in the planning stages and I am still very much in the fundraising scene, and not a day goes by without its own unique challenge.

Know of my prayers for you.
Thank you and God bless you!