Here I am, after a busy summer of teaching Totus Tuus in Wichita, taking a few weeks before heading back to Ohio! And goodness, I recently finished my first week of break with the Midwest Catholic Family Conference!
I love that Conference. I highly encourage everyone to take some time and attend the MCFC; it is the first full weekend of August every year, at Century II in Wichita, KS. There, you have the info, so there's no excuse not to go next year! :P
Anyway, this year, I opted not to volunteer (TT teachers were asked to volunteer if they could), since I was teaching TT all summer. This weekend was going to be some ME time! Haha...very funny thought....since when is "me time" a good thing to focus on? It's all about what God wants us to do for others!
So I walked in on Saturday morning, ready to go shopping at some vendors, talk to people, go to talks, focus on myself. Me time, here we come!
I walked to the first row of vendors, and casually waved at a parishioner from my church, Chris Stewart. His booth was for Casting Nets, an AWESOME radio show and ministry that he heads up with another legit man, Tony Brandt (check out their website at http://castingnetsonline.com/). I was talking to another man at the booth, while Chris was giving me this rather strange look (he does that at times).
And then he asked "Hey, could you help me out?"
My thoughts: Well "me time" is going to have to wait, because of course, I want to help Chris out. Maybe fold T-shirts at his booth or sweep the floor or something. But I love helping people, and he's awesome, and of course, it will be fun on top of that!
Chris: "So...I really need help at Jason Evert's booth..."
My thoughts: Whoa, JASON EVERT?!?!?!?! HE'S MY HOUSEHOLD BROTHER! And a nationally known speaker and author. That's kind of REALLY awesome. I can sell books at his booth? Sounds great!
Me: "Awesome, sounds great!"
So we walk down to the "Chastity.com" booth (Jason's booth--his awesome website is www.chastity.com--check it out!) And Chris proceeds to teach me about selling books. So I settled down, prayed morning prayer, sold some books, prayed mid-morning prayer, sold some more books, and talked to the people who walked by. And it was peaceful, beautiful, and great! And what do you know, because I had thrown the whole "me time" out the window, God was sending me the honor of selling some books for Jason Evert! But God likes to outdo Himself....
At about 10:30 or 10:40ish (I lost all sense of time, I was so busy), Chris rushed in with Jason, as well as another awesome girl, Demi. Demi, myself, and Jason proceeded to set up his massive posters. And I figured I'd say "hi" to Jason, sell a couple more books, and leave for Mass. And then maybe sell more books later on. No big deal. But no. God is soooo ridiculously EPIC!
Chris: "So AnneMarie, you need to treat Jason like royalty. Take him to his talks, make sure he has everything he needs, take him to Mass, and where he needs to go for lunch. Okay?"
My thoughts: WHAT?!?!?!?!?! Speakers at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference ALWAYS have designated "speaker angels" who take them to Mass and talks and such. And whoa, here I am, a lowly sophomore in college, being graced with the honor and job of being a quasi-speaker angel for Jason? Seriously? AWESOME!!!!
Me: "Great! I will definitely do that!"
My day then continued on with taking Jason to Mass, taking him to talks, selling books/running his booth, assigning duties at his booth to my dad (who stopped in for a little bit to help) and another friend of mine who dropped by to help. Saturday night I sold books and organized the booth while Jason signed books late into the night, and at a little before midnight, my dad and I took him to his hotel. Sunday consisted of meeting Jason at his booth, selling books for him, getting instructions on clean-up, informing him of his morning schedule, selling books for him after he left before Mass (his flight left in the early afternoon), and taking down his booth at the end of the Conference! When I finally made it home at 6:30 p.m. or so, I collapsed. I was exhausted! But I was so fulfilled.
Giving of my whole weekend in service brought me joy and peace, and helped me to learn to love others more, unreservedly. There were a couple times during the Conference that I just needed a break; so during Mass and work, God showed me how to rely on Him, seeking His strength from my weaknesses. He gave me the strength, grace, and energy to completely immerse myself in my duties. Out of that weekend, God gave me so many gifts that I couldn't even come close to deserving: I got to work at a booth, which was a ton of fun; I spent some wonderful time in prayer; I had a couple good conversations/banter with Jason (we're household brother and sister, and our households have a tradition of pranking....such as, my household has had his Induction bowling pin ever since he graduated from Steubenville), I met with multitudes of people--some of them already good friends--AND got to have really good conversations with lots of them (especially about chastity); and I even got to minister to different people in various ways. Mainly through prayer...I would have people come up to buy books, or learn more about Jason Evert, but within a few moments, I would be talking with them about their lives, their relatives, their situations. And then they would start giving me prayer intentions! And I faithfully have been committing their intentions to prayer. God works in crazy wonderful ways, and I am so full of joy at what He has done! I found that by giving up my "me time," everything worked out so much better on God's time, in His plan!