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Thursday
Nov052015

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Katie Dexter


I find myself in a coffee shop where I’ve spent a lot of my time studying, but surprisingly also building friendships (so maybe not quite as much studying!). I’ve met a dear friend here who is the manager in this coffee shop. I don’t think she is aware of how much she’s impacted my life, as much as she says I’ve impacted hers. I want to thank you all for your love, prayers and support which has given me the opportunity to build relationships with people here in the Republic of Ireland.  Last week marked 8 months of my 10.5 months living in the Emerald Isle.  These months here in Ireland have been FULL of me learning about who God is, who I am as his daughter, and how God’s mission is taking flesh here in the Republic of Ireland.  I’ve been challenged and encouraged in so many ways during these months.

 In early September I began a pilgrimage around Ireland with classmates and mentors exploring the celtic roots of Ireland.  While on this journey, I unfortunately heard news back home of my aunt’s passing. This was especially hard while being so far away from home, but I was blessed to be surrounded by fellow pilgrims and friends who prayed for me and my family and supported me throughout the remainder of the pilgrimage. I spent a week and half journeying around Ireland on this pilgrimage learning about the Celtic way of Christianity through those like as St. Patrick and St. Brigid who helped transform pagan Ireland to Christianity.  Throughout this pilgrimage, I saw first hand High Crosses which dated back as early as the the 8th century. These crosses told the Story of God by depicting parts of Biblical narratives on each panel to those who were illiterate. Learning about how these high crosses served to share the story of God in Celtic times, reminded me how throughout this year I have been able to serve as a high cross to those who don’t know or fully understand the story of God.

Like my friend who manages a coffee shop, God has given me the opportunity to share with her stories in the Bible which have offered hope to her, but I’ve also been able to share the story of God just through my presence as our friendship continues to grow. It is in my relationships that I have been able to share the story of God, and therefore, serve as a high cross in my community.

 After returning from the pilgrimage, my rhythm of life here in Ireland began back up again. I have the opportunity each week to serve in various places in the community. And just to share with you a couple opportunities I’ve received recently… I just began helping co-lead a health and well-being module for young people; covering physical health, social health, spiritual health, and mental health at the youth project I volunteer at in the community with youth who are at-risk.  I also have the opportunity this Friday to lead a creative arts night at our local youth cafe—which I am looking forward to. Throughout this year I was given the opportunity to engage with a local community and each opportunity I have been given has shaped me significantly. As my time here in Ireland comes to a close, I look forward to sharing with you all about how I’ve been shaped and how God has allowed me to participate in His mission and I can’t wait to hear what this year has held for you and how you too were able to engage in God’s mission. My challenge to you is to become high crosses in your communities and to share the story of God with those around you. Christ has died, Christ has risen and Christ will come again.

Grace & Peace,

Katie Dexter

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