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Two Years That Made a Mark
U. S. A. | APOSTOLATE | TESTIMONIES
One year later, former coworker Nathan Stein assesses the impact of his two years of service in the RC Mission Corps.

nathan stein
Nathan Stein

February 18, 2011. Will giving a year or two as a coworker (or RC Mission Corps volunteer) really make a difference in your life?  Former volunteer Nathan Stein answers that question in the following testimony.

***

I learned many valuable life lessons in my two years as a coworker: a solid work ethic, a deeper knowledge of God and myself, but most importantly what it is to love. I just finished my first year back in the “world” and have been thinking and reflecting a lot lately on my time as a coworker. In this testimony I would like to share some simple reflections and advice about what exactly one is giving to God when deciding to become a coworker.

As I said, I have been out of the coworker program now for almost a year. I am back in college and am trying my best to finish up as quick as possible to marry the most beautiful Catholic girl this side of the Mississippi! God
nathan on  missions
"It is that simple to be a coworker: pray and do whatever God asks of you."
has blessed me enormously as he continues to lead me in my journey.

It all started about three and a half years ago when I was a freshman in college. You could say that I was Catholic, but definitely in name only. I don’t know what it was that convinced me, but in the weird yet profound ways of God I found myself agreeing to attend a weekend silent retreat. To make a very long story short, I made my first good confession of my life and, unbeknownst to me, started a new and crazy journey that would lead to two years of full-time missionary work. I joined the Regnum Christi Movement that weekend and began living my faith for the first time in my life. A few months down the road I was on Holy Week Missions in Chicago when a Legionary priest, Fr. Edward Hopkins, asked me if I had thought about giving some time to God. By the time Easter Sunday rolled around I had decided and along with about 20 other young men and women received a blessing from the Archbishop of Chicago. I told my parents, put school on hold, and then off I went on the adventure of a lifetime.

I probably traveled more than any other coworker in the history of coworking as I spent time in almost every major city in the U.S. The majority of my time however, was spent in L.A., Phoenix, and Atlanta. In my first nine months I spent most of my time in L.A. working at a local college Newman Club with Fr. John Bullock. After L.A. I was sent to Phoenix to work with Fr. Michael Goodyear on Holy Week Missions for about three months. Finally, I ended up in Atlanta where I spent my second year of coworking. I worked with one of the greatest priests in the world, Fr. Dominic Pham, who taught me so much about life and what it is to be a man. My time in Atlanta was a whirlwind, from fundraising projects and missions to retreats and summer camps. Fr. Dominic brought out the leader in me by taking a chance at giving me the reins on so many projects that, if I messed up, would be a flop. He forced me to be responsible and strategic in my thinking and this is one of the greatest gifts he could have given me: the confidence to know I could do great things for Christ.

This is what it is like to be a coworker, now what is it to be a coworker? A coworker is merely an instrument of God. It doesn’t matter what your apostolate is; it doesn’t matter if you complete huge projects for Christ. What matters is your obedience and generosity in doing the will of the Father. It doesn’t matter if you are giving retreats every weekend or filing papers every day. What matters is that you have said “yes” to doing whatever he asks of you, as Jesus Christ said, “My food is to do the will of the Father.”

My second piece of advice is this: pray. If your apostolic work is not deeply rooted in prayer, it is a waste. The most important thing you can do as a coworker is pray. It is that simple to be a coworker: pray and do whatever God asks of you.

Lastly, strive to learn what it is to love. Believe me, there will be plenty of opportunities to learn how to love. Love is patient, love is kind, and love is persevering. Hang in there when the going gets tough. It is a huge adjustment to go from a world where you make all the decisions about your life to a world where you sacrifice many good things you enjoy. The first year of coworking is where you get the hang of things, the second is where you begin to blossom. Always remember Christ’s one commandment: love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

You may go into coworking thinking you are giving Christ your time, but really it is he who is giving you his time. God is never outdone in generosity.


PUBLICATION DATE: 2011-02-21


 
 

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