Meet our youngest Oblate Missionaries!
Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Margaret Graham. I am 20 years old, and I am a team member of the Oblate Youth Ministries. After World Youth Day 2002 Fr. Mike Dechant and Bro. Dan Dionne helped to create a group called the FROG (Fully Reliant On God) Squad. The FROG Squad is a service ministry called to be pilgrims of peace and leaders for youth. Since joining the group, it has provided me with an outlet which enables me to give back to the community in more than a physical way. It allows me to connect with people on a spiritual level.
I am currently in my second year of the Bachelor of Arts program at Concordia University College of Alberta, with goals of attaining my Bachelor of Education in 2010. When my nose isn’t stuck in a book, studying, I’m with the Oblate Youth Ministry team in various Jr. High schools.
Since I am a full time student I am only able to work with the team on a part-time basis. I go to class all day Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, I join the rest of our 5-member team either on retreat or in the schools for the residency portion of our mission. People ask me how I have enough energy to do both and I say, “When you have a passion for it, God gives you what you need.”
When I first joined the team I was anxious about what expectations they had put on me, and what expectations the kids had for me. Was I really capable of teaching them about the God who I was still discovering? At first I stood on the sidelines and was basically a spectator. Now, it’s not uncommon to see me singing out ‘Awesome God’ and dancing the actions right alongside the kids. The first time I gave a talk I was really nervous; I hoped I wouldn’t teach them anything incorrectly, and I worried that they wouldn’t understand me. I worked very hard preparing my talk, using reference points and reading university papers online. It went well, overall.
Now that I have done a few more talks, some impromptu, I understand that the kids just want to hear how God has been in my life and why Jesus is MY hero. They don’t want to be preached to. Plus, the more I teach, the more I’m learning and reinforcing my own faith.
I remember the first time I realized I was making a difference. I had written a talk on the meaning of life and I was sharing it for the first time. That morning the kids had been a little rowdier than usual, and it was hard to get them all settled because their energy levels were so high. Once I started my talk I became keenly aware of how many sets of eyes were on me and how many sets of ears were open to me. They seemed fascinated. Someone told me afterwards that you could hear a pin drop during my whole talk. What I was saying was finally on a level that they understood and was something that they could relate to.
At the end of my talk I challenged them with the same challenge the Oblate Youth Ministry team had challenged me with a few years ago: ‘Wherever you go, go with God; and whenever you go, GO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.’ I wasn’t sure at first, but I see now that I am making a difference.
Being in the schools with the kids is such a worthwhile experience. With dreams of becoming a teacher to these students later, I get to be a friend to them now. While in the schools I have learned more about the way young people think and feel than I ever would in a classroom. Oblate Youth Ministries has blessed me with these opportunities to grow. So, am I capable of teaching these kids to be good people and to follow the will of God? Through Oblate Youth Ministries and all the smiles on the faces of those kids, I am becoming more and more capable everyday.
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