Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Official HS1 Summary!

Hello dear Love Begins Here family,

We are so happy that you have stopped by to learn about the incredible happenings from High School Week 1 this summer! That week in Pine Bluff was truly something special, with 46 missionaries from throughout the Madison Diocese, accompanied by a stellar team of 14 chaperones and Core Team.

You may have seen that we crossed a milestone in LBH history during that week:

While we are incredibly proud of where Love Begins Here has come and look forward to bright future ahead, it was a humbling experience to watch these young missionaries live this day like any other. They worked hard, prayed hard, enjoyed life in community and spread the love of God to each person they met. Living the LBH lifestyle was routine - in the best of ways - as we reached this milestone and continued to pour out hour after hour of service the rest of the week in great simplicity.

As for the highlights of the week, they were varied, but a quick trip through the evaluations shows the following as the TOP 5 highlights:
1. Car Groups: We need to get from place to place, and it's done on LBH via what we like to call Car Groups. (Great name, right?) The premise is simple. One adult. Four to six teens. Good jams. Great conversation. Become friends for life.
2. Service: This question on the evaluation asked where the teens had the most fun this week -- this won the favor of the vast majority of students. Hopefully in their own homes, they are still enjoying service this much post-LBH.
3. Making New Friends: It's hard not to on a week of LBH, and from what I hear, it sounds like these young people have probably made a number of true friendships that will last for years to come.
4. Deep Chats and Heart-to-Hearts: A solid dozen people said they truly enjoyed the time this week where they were able to get to know one another at a deeper level and talk about the important things in life, like relationships, vocations and the call to love.
5.1. Frozen Yogurt: A new shop opened in the area, and a number of car groups took advantage of this cool treat on hot days.
5.2. Hose Showers: Who knew that the pool being shut down would lend itself to this much good old fashion fun. Corey and Nicky held the hose. The young people took chilly hose showers in their swim gear. Laughter rang out for a solid hour as this happened.

All things considered, this was a group of joyful, caring, community oriented young people. They sure make the world and our Church a beautiful place.

This summer, we are debuting for the first time Mission Videos that have been created to help explain the mission and idea behind LBH to the loved ones of those who participate in the work. Here is the beauty from HS1. Sit back and enjoy.

If you have a chance, hop on over to our Facebook page to see more from the mission field and regular updates as the summer goes on. Thank you, as always, for your prayers, love and support for these young missionaries. They mean the world to us.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

10 Day Forecast

There are few things that I enjoy more than looking at the 10 Day Forecast on the Weather Channel website when I am getting excited for something. It can be a party or a vacation, maybe even just a quick trip up north. I want to know what the day is going to be like weather-wise, so I can build excitement accordingly and plan out the fun. Well, consider this excitement and multiply it by about six hundred seventy three if you're curious about how I feel about being only 10 days away from June 17th. For those playing at home, that's the BIG day LBH2012 finally kicks off after months and months of planning.

First though, please see how great the past week has been via our Instagrams.

Great times all around. Check out the VLOG to get some stories behind these photos. And, if you're hip these days and have an Instagram account, feel free to follow us. You'll see all kinds of jazzy photos documenting our adventures.

And, now, in celebration of being only TEN days out from our first Mission Trip of the season, please take a look at the 10 Day Forecast: LBH Training Edition.

Wow. 10 days of hard work. 10 days of prayer. 10 days of preparation. (Keep us in your prayers!)

Then, we'll be enjoying the fruits of our labor with nearly 300 missionaries over 6 weeks of Love Begins Here Mission Trips. Praise the Lord.

- Lindsay, Mission Director

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is it hard to be humble?

2012 Core Team Member Bill is in today to share some wisdom and reflection on the spirituality of Love Begins Here. Enjoy the read... and a little VLOG trailer to help you get excited about what's to come in the next few weeks.

"Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded"
On LBH this summer, we will all have the privilege of receiving a beautiful humility checklist of sorts according to the spiritual discipline and life of Blessed Mother Theresa. While this list is profoundly rich, it is also terrible. My first peruse through the list felt like a strong punch to the gut. Sometimes being punched in the gut is good though. The pain was the realization that I personally am always in need of growth in holiness, especially in humility.
One of the items on the list reads, "Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded." This is truly the goal of a Christian missionary. This summer on LBH we will have the opportunity to do so much good work for the Lord's beloved poor. The work we will do is sometimes going to be so awesome, look so beautiful, and make such a difference that we are going to very proud of ourselves. Sometimes we will even receive some incredibly appreciative recognition for the good work we do. This is great. 
However, there may be other times this summer--and in all of life really--where the service we do for others will go unnoticed, unappreciated, and unthanked. The beautiful part of this all is the true underlying goal of the work we do and in whose name we do it.
As a line from the beautiful daily prayer of Mother Theresa and her missionaries says, 
"Shine through us, and be so in us, that every person should come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul. Let them look up and see no longer us, but only Jesus."
As wonderful as it is to receive praise and recognition for our work, how beautiful would it be if every one we served this summer could see the light of Christ so deeply alive in us that they knew not to thank us, but to thank Jesus Himself! What an honor it would be to be forgotten so that Jesus may be remembered, for our work to be disregarded so that Jesus Christ's work may be praised and glorified!
This is the true mission of Love Begins Here and really all Christian charity. Not to work for the sake of our own glory. Not even to work to solve all the worlds problems of poverty, hunger, and sadness (although those are certainly fine goals). Rather, the work of Christian charity is to make Christ's intense merciful love for each one of us visible in the world. 
Truly, if we give a man bread to eat, water to drink, and a shelter to rest beneath, he may find temporary comfort. But one day the bread will be gone, the water will dry, and the shelter will fall. But if we give him Christ, the living bread who satisfies our hunger, the life giving water who quenches our thirst, and the cornerstone beneath whose Church we may find perpetual refuge, then we will have truly loved that man. 
In this light, it will be a distinct privilege to "Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

TOP 5 - 2009

Hello LBH Family,

As this New Year Begins, we are taking a look back on all of the joys and successes of the past three summers, all building to releasing the registration materials for LBH2012.

With that, please enjoy looking back on the TOP 5 Photographs of 2009, as well as some of those that didn't quite make it but came mighty close.

#5 2009: James was the ultimate story teller, earning his car group the BIG WIN during LBH's inaugural week!

‎#4 2009: The first LBH Core Team was classic. This half of the team (Jeff and Gina) were good for all kinds of laughter, inspiration and hard work, as it is depicted here. This team was a beautiful beginning to what has become a great line of holy, hilarious young adults willing to give up their time in service to the youth and the poor in the Madison Diocese.

‎#3 2009: First, let's recognize another rockin' member of 2009's CT - Michael - on the far right. Gosh, he brought the team a ton of gifts. Now on to the real highlight of the picture - the Golden Grahams. Those who made the choice to eat some of this cereal were ... surprised ... to say the least by the extra protein discovered in their bowls at the end of breakfast. (Note: LBH was not responsible for this. General Mills was certainly to blame.)

‎#2 2009: There were a great number of highlights of the last week of LBH that first summer, including having (now) Fr. Greg Ihm and Fr. Dave Caranno with us. However, this week was all about relationship building, and this photo is in memory of one very special relationship that we fostered in the Mount Horeb community that week.

‎#1 2009: Love Begins Here cares a tremendous amount about developing relationships with the people we serve, and our first summer has some stand out examples of it. We warmly remember the good people we worked with at Durward's Glen and the many people we befriended through the Mount Horeb Senior Center, including Dorothy and Jerry. However, what still stands as one of the most beautiful projects we ever embarked on was with a very special Madison family. This photo is from one of our last days of work at their home.

And a few more LBH 2009 Highlights:
This was the moment when I knew for sure that LBH was going to be truly great. The twenty-something teens we had playing in the backyard of our home for the week became fast friends, laughing and being so willing to share their lives with one another. Joy is certainly found on Love Begins Here.

Clare was our source of inspiration and a huge source of our joy during our first week of LBH as we helped out her family at their home. Only a few more years, and she will be able to join us on the Mission Field.

The beautiful girl on the right, Madi, was deeply changed from her first LBH trip. Learn more about Madi's story next week in the TOP 5 - 2010 stories.

Helping Jerry out in his yard is the one project we have revisited every summer, from our connection at the Mount Horeb Senior Center. Hard work and a great love for those we are helping always come together at Jerry's.

And with that, we can reflect once again on how blessed we have been throughout the years on LBH. Praise the Lord for the guidance and inspiration so far; may it continue for many years to come.

Watch for opportunities to serve the poor in your own homes today.


Friday, September 23, 2011

The best 20 minutes of your weekend.

Hello friends,

It is autumn. Wow. It seems like just yesterday that we were immersed in our work on this local mission field, dancing around with glow sticks attached to dark clothing, hearing jokes about cookies being tossed into rivers and enjoying community life in a way that is hard to put into words. However, summer is not meant to last forever, as the Scriptures remind us again and again (see Sirach 51:30) that the Lord's timing is providential, and by his grace, we are called to a wide variety of things in the different seasons of our lives.

Even though we are called to loving our families, working hard in our school work, cheering on our favorite football teams, and being watchful for opportunities for service this autumn, I hope you would not mind taking a break this weekend to watch a little summer in review video. Blaine did a great job putting this together for our Shareholder Dinner last month, and we are now very excited to share it with all of you.

It is about 20 minutes long, so I would suggest finding a warm beverage for you and a loved one, and settling in to laugh, reminisce and be inspired by all that happened this past summer.

Once again, thank you for checking in on the latest and greatest from Love Begins Here.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

LBH Travels the World

Hello Love Begins Here family,

Yesterday afternoon, the majority of Core Team's past happened to reunite on the streets of Madison after a daily Mass downtown. (Sadly, we were missing Michael & Jeff of LBH2009 and Jared & Molly of LBH2011, but seven for eleven on a random Monday isn't bad.) While friends of Peter were gathering about for a pizza party at St. Paul's to welcome the new freshmen to campus, he quite proudly exclaimed to his friends - new and old - this is my Love Begins Here family, when introductions were needed. I think the description is fitting, as that is what we aim to form on weeks at LBH - a close community where love can begin in the home. It was a pleasure to run into three former missionaries on the streets, as well. It makes me, and the Core Teams of summer's past, quite happy to see these young Catholics at Mass and desiring to be a part of communities in the Church.

As the masses head back to school this autumn, I wanted to take a moment and share a few newsworthy items from the LBH world. First off, the blog of the Women's Care Center in Madison featured Love Begins Here and the good work they did there at the end of July. Please check it out. As you do so, if you are in the Madison area, consider if you are able to help out with this year's 40 Days for Life.

(LBH2011 teens work to clear the landscape at the newly forming Women's Care Center.)

Ten Love Begins Here missionaries had the extreme blessing of being able to travel on an all-expenses paid trip to World Youth Day in Madrid from the 14th through the 23rd of August, where they were able to show their award winning short film at a film festival, as part of the official events of WYD! It was a blessed experience for sure, and we wanted to share a few Missionary of Charity related photos with all of you.

(Lindsay sported these LBH/Mother Teresa themed TOMS all week in Spain.)

(There was a number of exhibits about Bl. Teresa around Madrid that week, as this photo is advertising.)

(We spent a lot of time in Spain sharing with our new friends from all around the world about the mission of Love Begins Here. It was especially exciting when we ran into MCs and got to share about LBH with them.)

Not more than four days after returning from Spain, about a dozen members of the Love Begins Here family got together to host a Benefactor's Dinner for those who bought stock in LBH this past summer. It was such a beautiful occasion to share stories from the summer, enjoy some murkey with our guests and look ahead to the bright future ahead of us. To all of the supporters who came and those who could not - thank you. In all seriousness, you inspire us to continue doing this work and make it possible for us to do it with joyful, unburdened hearts.

As this new season arrives, know that the LBH team continues to keep all of your in prayer. Please do the same for us.

With love,
LBH Mission Director

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August, already?

Hello Love Begins Here friends,

We're sorry to keep you waiting for almost a full month here. There will be a lot more reflecting to come in the next week or so, before 10 of us from Love Begins Here head to Spain for World Youth Day together. However, today we got a very sweet card from a parent of a two year LBH veteran with some words I wanted to share with you all, along with a few photos from the past couple of weeks.

"This program my daughter has attended for 2 years, and she actually beams and glows when I pick her up. She also says, "LBH is the only camp I ever want to attend!" The Holy Spirit is truly alive, growing, burning and shining in all of you and our children. Many blessings to all of you. My deepest appreciation and gratitude."

Well said, LBH mom! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. The Core Team feels incredibly blessed to be able to do this work for the youth of the Diocese of Madison and beyond, and it would not be possible without parents entrusting to us the lives of their stellar children!

Yes, you are seeing correctly in that center photo. Our great Bishop - His Excellency Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison - visited this past week on our final night of Mission Trips! What a blessing.

Look forward to more from the Mission Field coming your way very soon.