ĐOÀN THỂ GIÁO XỨ

L.A.S.T.

LEADING AND SERVING TOGETHER

L.A.S.T. is a team of young adults who desires to continue their journey with Christ after receiving the sacrament of Confirmation. The LAST team serves together with Life Teen leaders in seeking to spread the love of Christ to others while continuing to build up their faith life and leadership skills.

My family became my joy, and my religion is what kept me in balance. I am involved LAST, and I attend the meetings every Sunday to prepare a teaching of the weekly gospel to the students. The ability to work with students a few years younger than me reveals my comfort with interaction with others. Most of the other leaders and the directors of the program are older so therefore I have also been able to connect and relate to the adults on a consistent basis. I believe that my involvement in LAST has really opened my eyes to the greater things in life. Through my service at church, I have grown not only with my leadership capacity but spiri- tually too.  Although life is busy with school and work, I have come to see that the opportunity to come to my church and serve every Sunday reveals to me that He is there with me every step of the way. I know I am an academically content-driven student, but I realize that there is a world outside of school that can prepare me a brighter future. Dedication towards the LAST program has led me to the right path in life: to help others through service and to take a step into leading an organization of my own.  -- Victoria Nguyen, 12th Grade--LAST member

LAST is not just a group of leaders that boss people around. It is a group of amazing people that take their time out of their lives to spread the love of God. Every single member is such a wonderful person. You can always trust them. LAST is a team of people that are passionate about God. They have the patience to learn about him and to help the ones that are trying to find God. I joined LAST because they make me feel TERRIFIC. It is like a big family. You can always count on them to make you happy, smile, and laugh. I also joined because I love help- ing others learn and grow their love for God. No matter how the week went, knowing that I am in LAST on Sunday will make my week wonderful. -- Nancy Nguyen, 10th Grade -- LAST member

About 4 years ago, I was asked by two good friends to join a youth group called L.A.S.T. as a leader. Although I was still active as a youth leader within our parish community, I did not have the opportunity to see what L.A.S.T was. After my first meeting with L.A.S.T, I got hooked. Their enthusiasm and love for God and each other was contagious and immediately recognized that this was where God was calling me to be. As the years went on, I became L.A.S.T coordinator and it’s been a blessing to work with these amazing leaders and teens. Through L.A.S.T, I was able to grow deeper spiritually by praying daily for each other and serve God faithfully. Every Sunday,  come to L.A.S.T. and I see God in these teens; I see him working within them. They are my inspiration, because without them, who would I be serving? --Liz Bui-- LAST Coordinator

“Qui cantat, bis orat”– St. Augustine In complete, candid honesty, the strongest driving point for me for initially joining the band was the op- portunity to sing in front of others. Music had always been part of my life growing up, and while I wanted to serve the church with my talents, I was initially driven by the chance to perform. What was not in the job description, however, was the baggage that comes along with service to the Church; gradually I found myself missing out on nights with friends to finish preparing for retreats, crumbling under the pressure of questioning my own abilities as a worship leader, and stressing out to the point that, I kid you not, I was starting to have nightmares of all of the things that could go wrong on a Sunday mass. Despite the countless woes, I would not have it any other way. Each stumbling block slowly transformed me, even before I realized it, from a timid, insecure teenager into a God-fearing woman. The greatest reward, however, is watching the teens who we serve become molded by God into instruments themselves to serve others. Admittedly, at times I come into practice with burdens which blind me from being able to praise wholeheartedly. It is when I see a band member or a student lifting their hands in praise God, regardless of his or her surroundings, that I am reminded why I am here to serve. St. Augustine states it beautifully when he says, “One who sings, prays twice.” The music which the band delivers is a way for all of us to express our praise to the Father in ways that is most comfortable to us. To witness the fruit of God’s work through the transfor- mation of the students and the leaders, and to know that the band has a hand in this has deepened my faith and has humbled me in ways I couldn’t begin to ex- press. No longer is being in front of the Church a talent showcase, but is now an opportunity for me to testify to how I was changed from the inside out through Christ. -- Thuy Linh Hoang--Music Ministry Coordinator

How can you serve God? LOVE first.  I have served in our youth ministry for so long (almost ten years) that it has become like an involuntary action that I don’t even think about anymore, but just do. I started out in the youth ministry through the choir, then teaching Giáo Lý class, then assist in planning special events and activities, and now coordinating our Life Night program. Serving in the youth ministry requires a lot of sacrifice and time, but it became easier the more I served and set out time to do it, like how any other habit develops. But that habit came first through love. Mother Teresa says it best, “the fruit of love is service.” So in loving God, I prayed to Him daily and offered myself to be an instrument that He desires me to be. What became of my love for Him is now my vocation to youth ministry. Serving in the youth ministry is like a good habit that I’ve ac- quired throughout these years out of my love for God.

So if you are pondering on how you can serve God, start with loving God – through prayer, receiving the Eucharist and visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacra- ment as often as you can. Then start with small acts like be a teacher assistant for Bible classes, assist with church festivities, join the choir/band, partici- pate in community projects, or even help cook in kitchen. Yes, everything requires time, but having your time consumed by loving God and all matters related to loving God is its own reward. =) Trang Vu, Life Teen Leader  “It is love alone that  gives  worth to   all   things.”  - St. Teresa of Avila

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