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Turn to Jesus (Article)

What You Give Is What You Get… Times 100
Emily Holmes on her years in the RC Mission Corps

Emily Holmes coworker
Emily Holmes (left) with a fellow RC Mission Corps volunteer.

By Mélanie Pilon

If there’s one word that describes Emily Holmes, it’s “outgoing.”  After two years as a Regnum Christi Mission Corps volunteer in San Jose, California, that hasn’t changed – but much has. 

Emily had a jumble of reasons for wanting to volunteer a year but most of all, she wanted to give herself to others and to share the gift of faith she had been so blessed to receive. 

Her experience has taken her by surprise. “I guess I expected to change a lot of peoples’ lives, for people to think, ‘Oh wow she’s giving a year to Christ.’ In reality it’s the people that have changed me and Christ is ‘giving a year’ to me.”
“What is this True Love Thing?” 

One of the greatest lessons Emily has learned from her team in California is the meaning of true love.  “I never understood this before. I would be like what are people talking about? What is this true love thing?”

But now she understands that “true love is a mom waking up in the night for her crying baby. True love is a consecrated woman putting up with me 24/7. True love is being patient with a girl when she’s not doing what you need her to do. True love is dying on a cross for each person. I’ve seen it day in and day out as a volunteer, the dedication and sacrifice of the consecrated, the moms, and the other volunteers!”

She fondly remembers the family spirit that made her years a joy. “One time, I had to make a video, so my director stayed up late to help me finish it. She didn’t have to do it and never once did she complain about being tired or anything!” 

Working for the Big Guy

One thing Emily has never been in these two years is bored.  She spends most of her time with teenage girls, whether it is in her work with Challenge girls’ clubs or her visits to Canyon Heights School where she helps organize activities for the girls there.  On top of that, she spends some time on the road traveling to three different cities in California to do the same.  Holy Week missions have definitely been a highlight and she is deeply grateful for the time she spent working with the ECYD Mission Corps Volunteers who came to spend their summer in San Jose. 

The best part of it all is seeing God at work.  Just recently, one of the 7th grade girls Emily knows decided she wanted to get baptized and receive her first Communion.  “Those are experiences you don’t forget.” 

Everything has meaning when you remember whom it’s for.  “You get to serve Christ 24/7 no matter how that is: if it’s running a retreat or doing the dishes, you are always working for the Big Guy!” 

A Different Sort of Paradise

A lot of people would agree that California is a piece of paradise:  the beach, the sun, the ocean.  Emily agrees, but the paradise she has found is a little different from what most people see on postcards.  She has had the gift of having a chapel in the house where she lives, and always having Christ truly present there. 

“In truth it’s like I am living in a little paradise… there is always a place to go where you know someone is waiting to listen to your sob story or your joyful story or how some girl is driving you off the wall. My time in the chapel growing closer to Christ has given me the chance to share so much with him: laughter, tears, homesickness, everything!”
Getting Back What You Give – Times 100

Not everything has been easy for Emily during her volunteer years.  And yet even the hard days have been worth it in the end.  “There are days when I was like, ‘This is it, I have had enough, I’m looking at flights and going home,’ but I am so happy that I didn’t. If I had I would have missed all the things that Christ wanted to give me! I would not be who I am today.”  

All this time working for the “Big Guy” has made Emily a new person. “It has surprised me how much I have changed. And it’s not that I look totally different or act different. I’m still weird and do crazy things, but it is the inside that has changed so much. The way I see things is different. I want to serve others. My faith now is my own!” 

God’s math is not like ours.  Emily admits that “it isn’t easy. In fact it is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done (in my long 19 years of life), but I would not change any minute of it. It is worth giving up everything for Christ because He gives you so so so much more in return! What you give to Him, He gives back to you but 100 times better!!  Really, if you are looking for Christ, you will definitely find Him here!”



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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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