ST. JOSEPH, MICH. — During 22-year-old Amber Robinson’s senior year at college at Northern Illinois University, she knew she wanted to do missionary work but didn’t know where. Today, the Glen Carbon native who attends Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Collinsville finds herself in St. Joseph, Mich., working directly with youth, challenging these vulnerable Catholics “to love Christ and embrace the life of the church.”
“I had only been in Michigan for a couple weeks, but quickly met a young adult after Mass,” Robinson said. “We met up for coffee, and I got to know her. By the end of the conversation, I could tell that she was wanting to go deeper. I invited her into a more intentional discipleship. So, we will be meeting with each other once a week, and I will be going through Scripture with her. I’m so excited to see what the Lord does in her life this year!”
Robinson is hoping for more success stories like that as part of her nine-month journey with her NET Ministries (National Evangelization Team) discipleship team. Robinson’s team, which includes other male and female young adults, is serving in a parish and school in St. Joseph, focusing on helping with confirmation classes, going to school lunches to talk with students about Christ, meeting people for one-on-one spiritual discussions, and working with youth groups.
“My campus minister served with NET over 20 years ago and it sounded amazing,” Robinson said. “I then thought back to when I served with Totus Tuus in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois for two summers, and I saw what amazing work the Lord could do during the teen program and it got me excited to do more ministry work. I just want the youth to see the Lord’s love for them.”
Robinson plans on serving with NET for one year, but said, “We will see what the Lord has in store.” As for her advice on how Catholics can become intentional disciples and help others? She says that it first comes down to establishing a relationship with Jesus for ourselves.
“If we don’t know who Jesus is in our hearts, we can’t go and give to other people,” Robinson said. “We can’t give what we don’t have. We need to encourage the youth to also get involved because they are the church right now. Young people often see themselves as the future of the church, but we need them to realize they are the church now. Being a disciple may look different for everyone, but Christ doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.”