Keep the fire going……
Just this week a wonderful email was sent to the ACTS Missions' offices. Many of us look for ways to contribute, to help out and/or to raise funds for our ACTS community.
John Ploch and Darrell T. Brownlow have grown up together and are lifelong friends, so once John became a team member for an ACTS Retreat, he naturally recruited Darrell to attend. As they said, "the rest is history." Both men and their families support their Parish, St. Ann's in La Vernia, Texas and their ACTS family in some really unique ways. Darrell is a geologist and rancher, and John is an engineer and they have gotten creative in their approach, and have basically set aside an area for "ACTS Crops" on Darrell's land.
In Darrell's own words, "[Growing the corn was]...Quite amazing event. John and I partnered in all of this, we cleared a part of my ranch land, he planted, harvested, and sold corn by the side of the road and gathered ACTS Brothers & Sisters to help raise $4,245. I've sort of donated this field to our ACTS team now, so that we can grow different crops and raise money for ACTS. As the attached pictures show, before the rains, I had to irrigate. Then the rains came and everything started growing like crazy, including the Deer. The Deer started jumping over the electric fence so I ended up High Fencing the field to keep the deer out. (My buddies say that while every other ranch in south Texas is high fencing to keep the deer in, I'm fencing to keep them out! Ha)."
"We also donated a Father-Daughter deer hunt for this Fall, and picked up another $3,100 in the live auction at our dinner a couple of weeks back. It's been a fun way to keep the ACTS fire lit in some of the guys. Several of my ACTS brothers are bringing their kids down to help pick and weed the field. [We] should have watermelons by mid-July (now that the deer are fenced out)."
"Did my first ACTS Team this year", Darrell shared, "of course, a totally different perspective and just as rewarding, if not more so."
Service comes in as many forms as there are people. As one of our board members put it, "This story and photos, these two guys can inspire all of us on how to 'keep the fire going' through service." Thank you, Darrell, and thank you, John, for "letting the fire fall".
We met Bobby Acosta at the 2016 Catholic Women's Conference on September 9th. Yes, the women's conference! He had an exhibitor's booth near the ACTS Missions exhibit. One of the things we find in our travels is others who feel passionately about spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the ACTS Retreat. Bobby attended his retreat in 2004, and from there everything changed. "If it wasn't for ACTS, I wouldn't be here," he says. "I used to arrive late to Mass. I was the first one to leave Mass, before the song finished. After my ACTS Retreat, my whole life changed, as did the longing of my heart to be faithful. After my wife attended her retreat in 2006, we wanted to serve our parish in a more tangible way. She became a Eucharistic minister and I became a lecturer at our parish, St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles" in San Antonio, TX.
In October 2015, Bobby launched a new ministry, Trust the Lord (TTL). It is his way to spread the word about ACTS, bring the faith back into the workplace, and help make a retreat possible for others. "I wanted to offer business people a way to remind themselves to trust the lord at all times and not separate their faith from work. We are all clothed in the Lord, and I wanted to make it more of a reality." Each shirt is "polo" quality and made with the TTL logo on the chest as well as custom molded into the buttons. Or if you prefer, the TTL reminder is inside the back of the collar. Bobby has both a website and a Facebook page.
"The TTL logo is the picture of Jesus over a human heart; a symbol to remind us that at all times we are to lift our hearts up to the Lord. I ask each of my customers, have you been on an ACTS Retreat? And if they haven't, I encourage them to attend."
Bobby goes on. "The ACTS Retreat helped me to become spiritually connected to God, my parish and my community. When I see someone wearing a retreat bracelet, it feels like an immediate connection, we share a loving experience of Christ."
Words cannot express our humble thanks for your service, Bobby, in helping spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through the ACTS Retreat. Keep the fire going…
Share your story of service with us, too. Please let us know how you serve Him in your everyday life. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Service" in the subject line. Yes, we need pictures, too!
" I have set an example for you, so that you will do what I have done for you."
- Jn. 13:15
ACTS invites participants to consider discipleship to Christ through an example of Service given during the ACTS Retreat. Service is way to love others as He first loved us (cf. Jn. 15:12). Service is a way to follow the model that He gave us. We are called to empty ourselves for one another as He did for us. We serve out of love, sincerity, and a desire to demonstrate Christian love by our lives. Not everyone can serve in the same way, but we can serve using to the gifts we are graced with. Even the widow's mite is noticed by God.
Every Christian is receives a lesson in service by our Lord's life, death and Resurrection: "For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve…" (Mk. 10:45). Among the qualities inherent to service are gentleness, respect and loyalty. A disciple strives to love as Christ loves us. A disciple serves through forbearance, patience and forgiveness in the face of suffering, persecution and misunderstanding. A disciple is obedient and ready to learn what God asks of us in order to serve Him and one another.
This is why in ACTS, Service is to"follow the model He gave us."