Week one comes to a close.

As noon on Friday of this past week rolled around, the youth may not have been exactly jumping for joy quite like this, as the country side of Pine Bluff was the site to the goodbyes to to our newly made friends.

In the midst of our goodbyes, the leaders heard a whole lot of great things coming from the kids. They watched the lives of others get brighter and came forth out of the darkness in their own lives to truly be alive again. I think it would be accurate to say that we did in fact see the light before the sunrise this past week, if we could take our inspiration here from both St. Augustine and Matt Maher.

With many youth this past week coming into their second week of LBH, many of us knew or had heard from those we knew and convinced us to come on the trip that the week held great promise. But, only God could have clued us in on exactly how bright this world would become and the many new things we would experience. Some of us went whole days or the entire week without complaining, we didn’t update our Facebook statuses constantly and we went without some of our usual comforts – cell phones, iPods, makeup, comfortable beds… really, the list could keep on growing. Through all of that, Mother Teresa’s promises really held up – by living simply, we were able to love others and the One who gave us life more deeply. And, that’s what Love Begins Here is all about.

The Core Team would like to thank all of those who came on this week of Love Begins Here. You growing desire to persevere throughout the week, your love of each other, and your excitement about LBH truly inspired us and is continuing to do so as we are in the midst of our second week.

We would also like to thank those people who helped us out in big ways this past week, including Fr. Rick, Fr. Francisco and Fr. Vernon for celebrating the sacraments with us and for giving us a home. To the Schoenstatt Sisters, St. Vinnies in Monroe and the good people at the Mount Horeb Senior Center for allowing us to serve them and alongside of them. And, a great huge thank you to Tony Butler for being a great example of what it looks like to answer Jesus’ call to serve, being our biggest fan and helping us find projects to work on this week. And, of course, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to you – our blog readers and supporters. Thank you for loving us and keeping us in your prayers.

Speaking of prayers, please keep Madi and her family in your prayers. It’s going to be a long road to recovery, but with people like you all supporting them, the journey will be filled with Christ’s peace.

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