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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Challenge Girls’ Appeal Results in First Donation for Clubhouse

Chicago Girls
From left to right...Ellen Kozarits, MaryBeth Freitag, Jeanette Pieper, Sarah O'Daniel, Katie Leible

by Mary Beth Freitag

St. Louis, January 30, 2006. This January, a group of five Challenge girls and two moms from St. Louis went to Chicago to propose the creation of a clubhouse fund to a possible benefactor named “Mr. Smith” (for privacy, we will not use his real name).

I was one of the five girls on the presentation team and would like to share our experience from the trip. I know I am speaking for everyone when I say that it was absolutely amazing. Through the Holy Spirit, we did a lot of great work to spread the mission of Challenge.

The trip was very eventful; it took a great deal of perseverance and determination from everyone, but it all worked out in the end. First of all, the trip had originally been scheduled for December, but had to be changed due to bad weather. We had one weekend of ice and snow in St. Louis, and of course it had to be on the weekend of our trip! But we were not discouraged - we rescheduled and thankfully it worked out to do it a month later.

Preparing the presentation also took a lot of work. We started from scratch, but after weeks of writing, practicing, critiquing, and eventually practicing a demo for all of our parents, we were ready to present. Our work paid off! On January 12, Sarah O’Daniel, Jeanette Pieper, Ellen Kozarits, Katie Leible, Mrs. O’Daniel, Mrs. Kozarits, and I all piled into Mrs. Kozarits’ car and embarked on our journey to Chicago.

When we arrived at Mr. Smith’s office, we prayed intensely to the Holy Spirit for guidance. Mr. Smith was very hospitable and we felt really comfortable with him. It was a great environment to speak in, and I could feel the Holy Spirit in the room, making us calm and relaxed. I knew that what we were saying was a work of God and was going to have a great impact upon Mr. Smith’s soul.

The greatest part of this presentation, however, was not the presentation itself. After we had all finished speaking and the power point presentation had ended, Mr. Smith started talking to us, telling us how much our testimony and presence had helped him, and then he went on to tell us his personal conversion story. He shared with us how a pilgrimage to Europe had changed his life and his faith. He also told us how hard it was for him to keep his faith strong amidst the currents of our secular and materialistic world. I think that the reason he told us all of this was because he saw in us the love of Christ and the strength that we have as Challenge members to stand against the currents of the world.

Jeanette Pieper said, “Our presentation really showed me what it means to be a strong Catholic girl in today’s society… it really showed me how I need to keep my faith strong.”
We all had similar sentiments.

Katie Leible said, “I was really inspired by Mr. Smith’s testimony, and his willingness to share his experiences with us showed me how much of an impact we made on him.”

This presentation showed us Challenge in action and what our simple testimonies can do for people, people who are struggling within our faithless society and people who are searching for Christ’s love.

Mr. Smith gave us a ten thousand dollar check to put toward a clubhouse. We are planning to get his daughter involved in the Challenge club in Chicago and hope that he will be a great friend of Challenge and its mission. When we left, he told us to keep doing what we were doing. We took that home with us, with a renewed faith, determination to live the mission of Challenge to the best of our ability, but most of all, with a yearning to love Christ and continue building his Kingdom.



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