It wasn’t a piece of cake moving our families from Florida to Krakow. The Van de Voorde’s were in the midst of an international adoption and I had just given birth to baby girl #2 just weeks before the flight.
Nobody had real winter clothes of course, and the language is well…a work in progress. I’ve got down, ”Przepraszam, nie rozumiem po polsku. Czy pan mówi po angielsku?” (I’m sorry, I don’t understand Polish. Do you speak English?)
My interactions at the market aren’t nearly as humbling as the Lord’s call for us to do His work. But even more astonishing is seeing how the Lord hasn’t just called us to participate. From new encounters to old friends, we are discovering how the Spirit is powerfully moving the hearts of others to join us in laying the foundations of the John Paul II Project.
The mission of the Project is to help young people become builders of a civilization of love and truth, in the example of John Paul II. I’m not the only one of the founding team members who was present at his last international World Youth Day in Toronto. Though I went as a superficial, somewhat-disconnected teenager, the experience planted a tremendous grace in my soul. Naturally, I referred to the pope’s words to us during those days as a source of inspiration when developing the mission of the Project in 2016:
[A] new generation of builders is needed. Moved not by fear or violence but by the urgency of genuine love, they must learn to build, brick by brick, the city of God within the city of man. Allow me, dear young people, to consign this hope of mine to you: you must be those "builders"! ...God is entrusting to you the task, at once difficult and uplifting, of working with him in the building of the civilization of love
Before we form our young people to build, we must start building. Not only our staff or board members, but also our mission partners, volunteers, leaders of our partner institutions, and all ready to put their hands to the plow and never look back. It requires creativity, effort, sacrifice, and even risk, but most of all, ears to hear and hearts to trust.
We don’t simply “want your money” or “want your business”. We believe you are called to be the first builders. Some of you have shared your testimonies with us and they’re incredible. My own faith has been strengthened in witnessing God’s work in your heart, your call, and your beautifully generous response.
We made it through 2017 on budget, and have even jump-started our furniture fund! Programs launch this year and we will welcome youth to the city of mercy, the city of John Paul II, the country of Our Lady.
Students are signing up for our summer study abroad program in May and our high school program in July! The application period for both are currently open, so please share this opportunity or get involved yourself.
Continue to join us in prayer, spread the word, and lay the foundation of the John Paul II Project in the way God is calling you. His work is just getting started!
God bless you,
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1. Build for the Builders