Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How I Got to WYD.....Part 2

Kayla Bess 

"I remember when I first heard about World Youth Day, I had not been going to the Newman Center for very long, and the whole "catholic thing" was still very foreign to me.  Initially I was very skeptical about committing to go; all I knew was that the trip was just the right cost to completely empty my savings account, and that it sounded like an amazing opportunity that could not possibly be regrettable.  So thankfully, I accepted.  I believe the biggest sacrifices being made have been those from other people.  I've received almost too generous of gifts from my dad's elderly neighbor whom I barley know, and from a lady who lives in the same apartment building as me and paid me to "water her plants" every few days while she was on vacation for a week, even though they were nearly drowning from all the rain we had received earlier.  God bless them.  Even my dad bought my painting from Dare to Soar, for far more than I had ever expected to receive.  Thanks Dad :)….  

It is also very exciting when people ask me when I'll be leaving for school again, because I always get to throw in that even though school begins the 22nd, I'll be leaving the 9th for World Youth Day.  Since many do not know what it is, I get to tell them what the journey is all about, and, Catholic or not, their eyes light up and they are astounded at how many other youth will be joining in the praising.  It makes me want to be that "authentic witness of Love, Truth, and Life" even more.  I want others to feel the joy that comes from having a Father with unending love, and I hope that with Christ's help, we can show them the beauty of it."

Dana Garber

As soon as I found out that World Youth Day was in Madrid, I was signed up.  I have always wanted to go to Spain and I knew that it would be a great trip.  I did not think that money would be too much of a problem; I had saved up some money and I was also planning on doing fundraising and sending out support letters.

I will be a graduate student at ISU this year, so last March, I applied for a graduate assistant position.  I actually applied for a few different GA's.  If I received one of these, I would receive a scholarship and a job for my last year of school.  In April, I found out that I had received a GA position in one of the departments at the University.  I called to accept the position, but informed them that I would be a week late to school since I was going to World Youth Day with the Newman Center.  They told me that they would have to rescind my offer, as they needed a student to be there the first week.  I began to doubt God a little bit during this time because I had known the entire time that I was supposed to go to WYD.  After this, I wasn't sure how I was going to go on the pilgrimage and pay for school for the next year, as I was kind of counting on this GA position.  

However, as I had felt that the Lord wanted me at WYD, I knew that He would work it all out, and that I would be able to handle whatever He chose to give me.  I continued to wait, praying that another opportunity would come up.  A few weeks later, I was contacted by another department at the University; they offered me a different GA position.  This position was in the department that I had wanted anyways, and was a better position in my opinion.  Through this all, I learned that God really does know what we need, He was just testing my faith.  He reminded me of his promise - "He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it."

Liz Kunkel
“I am having a hard time putting into words the experience I have encountered even just to get to World Youth Day.  I guess the only obstacle, or at least the biggest obstacle, I faced was figuring out how to pay for the trip. After each payment was due, my "World Youth Day Fund" dropped back to zero, and I started over trying to fund raise for the next payment.  And almost every time I did not come across the money until a couple days before the payment was due, or even the day it was due. 

As I sit here looking back, I am truly speechless at the awesomeness of God and the faith of some of His people.  I wasn't sure this pilgrimage was what God was calling me to do, but I figured I could at least try to get the money, and if God wanted it, He would find a way.  And He did.  He is so faithful. 

I wish I could give credit where it's due, but majority of my donors were anonymous, an act that I am completely humbled by.  Others who donated un-anonymously - is that even a word? - (a few of you might even be reading this), I want to take this opportunity to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I am sure the pilgrimage will be more amazing than I can even fathom right now.  Know that you and your intentions are in my thoughts and prayers, especially as I travel to Spain and France!

I don't know what the Lord holds in store, but when are His plans anything but amazing?  Challenging, yes, but never without the grace to succeed, and always just what we need, even if we don't realize it right away.  He is so good to us.  We only have to say ‘yes!’”

Ali Lundstrum

The Lord is so good! I had saved enough money for the trip from last summer at Walmart, but I knew many people were having trouble raising the money so I asked Father to help and he was very generous in letting Andrew and I give hot chocolate away after Mass and we made $128! The Holy Spirit really was working through the parishioners in Havana. Hannah and I also went to other parishes in our home town asking to speak at the parishes but none were successful. One of the most fun fundraising events was "Karoling for koins"- poor Hannah was wearing clogs in the snow. That’s a good offering. Praise be to God she has all her toes. ;)