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 | By Mike Frieseman

As Interns at Summer Youth Mission

Harmony and Térèsa Allow the Lord to Work Through Them

Harmony Bird and Térèsa Gjernes arrived at their internship from different areas of the country and with different faith backgrounds. But they share a common desire to seek God’s calling, coupled with a willingness to serve. This summer, they answered that call in a practical way through a 30-day internship participating in the daily life of the Servants of God’s Love (SGL) religious order in Ann Arbor. The specific focus? Helping to organize the third Flint Summer Youth Mission. The Lord set them on a path of service and hard work, and rewarded them with the gift of friendship.

“I just moved to Michigan from Colorado in March,” Harmony says, “and I recently started RCIA. While I was still in Colorado preparing to move to Michigan, I learned about Flint. I was livestreaming Christ the King Mass when Father Tom [Firestone], a pastor in Flint, visited to share his heart for Flint. A love for the city just dropped into my heart, even though it was across the country and I had never been there. I had an awareness that somehow my life would intersect with it. And here we are.”

“Things started coming together around that time for me too,” adds Térèsa, “In the spring, Sister Rachel, who is leading the mission work in Flint, came to me about this opportunity. So I prayed about it and everything just sort of fell into place.”

“For me, receiving this invitation to become a sister was the best gift of my life,” Harmony says. “But it’s so much more than I imagined. I feel like this opportunity to serve [God] is preserving me. In Flint, I am so challenged, but there's something in me that keeps calling me back. I feel so ill-equipped all the time, but that is a really refreshing place to live. I have been praying for a long time that God would teach me how much I need him. It is in this opportunity to serve and the challenging positions he’s put me in where I realize that I absolutely depend on him.”

Térèsa agrees, “With Flint, not much unfolds as expected, and I have the type of personality that likes to prepare and plan things ahead of time with the idea that things will run smoothly. I think that living with the sisters has encouraged me to slow down and learn more about what rest means. My heart feels really heavy when I'm in Flint, and I get really exhausted. On one hand, I have to work really hard, and on the other to trust the Lord that it’s OK to rest, that I can let go of things.”

“We have both been struggling in different areas with [the challenge of getting enough rest], so we’ve been able to pray together and with the sisters,” adds Harmony.

“Overall, it has been a beautiful experience realizing that this is the body of Christ,” Térèsa says. “We're here together. We can trust one another and allow the Lord to work through us and to understand that the burden we feel is developing within us a sense of compassion for the people we serve.”