1. 85 people have come to NOLA Wesley this year!
We have had 85 people in the building for NOLA Wesley events this year, not including attendance for our open mic, which is our biggest draw but hard to record individual attendance for. 43 people have been to 2 or more events, and 34 people have been to 3 or more events. Out of these 85 people, 49 have been freshmen!
2. We launched a freshman small group!
For the first time in four years of ministry, we have enough freshmen for a weekly small group. Our spiritual formation leader Maddie Rombough has done a fabulous job with them. As you can see from the photo, it’s been difficult to get the men to come out, though we do have two freshman guys coming on our fall retreat. I’ve been playing racquetball and basketball with the guys at the gym and I hope to get them interested in prayer labyrinths some day.
3. We raised $132 for Houston flood victims at our first open mic!
Our open mic regular Gabby Pucci contacted me after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and asked if we could turn our open mic into a benefit show for Houston. So we got three popular acts from Loyola and we raised $132 for the Houston Coalition for the Homeless.
4. We started a coed intramural soccer team!
Another major milestone for Wesley this year is that we have enough people to start up a coed intramural soccer team. This has created a great leadership opportunity for our sophomore co-captains Ally Martin and Ink Berko. They even made their own jerseys! Their first practice was today, and their first game is this weekend.
5. Our worship team sounds amazing!
Our new worship leader Marissa Cazalas (MC) has teamed up with Carolena Albert on keys, Zack Hartfield on drums, and two vocalists Lauren White and Marisa Jurczyk. They’ve come up with three and four-part harmonies that sound incredible.
Our second worship service was on Labor Day weekend. The neighboring fraternity houses were having “pool parties” where they set up kiddie pools in their front yard as an excuse to dress scantily. So three topless, shoeless guys stumbled into our worship service looking for a bathroom. We asked them if they wanted food and they made plates for themselves. At first, they went out into the foyer to sit and eat, but one of our student leaders went out to join them and invite them back in to eat with us. So they came back and joined us for worship. It was an incredible lesson in radical hospitality for our students.
7. A freshman made an incredible painting!
The freshman small group had a painting night and one of our new freshmen named Lauren McGrath made an incredible painting inspired by Van Gogh’s quote “I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream,” which is such a beautiful summary of the contemplative, mystery-rich Christianity we’re trying to teach.
8. We stood in vigil with immigrants!
Last week, I took six students with me to a vigil downtown sponsored by the Congreso de Jornaleros, one of the most powerful grassroots immigrant worker organizations in the country. We listened to a series of Latina women testify not only about the horror of having their families ripped apart by deportation but about the way that their faith in God is the only thing that has carried them through. Those women evangelized my students more poignantly than I ever could.
It’s only been a month but the school year is off to a fantastic start for NOLA Wesley! I can’t wait for the many adventures that await us. If you’d like to be part of our adventure, please consider becoming a monthly patron. Since May, we have tripled our monthly pledges from $398 to $1241. We are hoping to reach $2000 in pledges by the end of the year.
Please keep praying that God would show us his will for our ministry and that he would connect us with the students he has called to join us.