Blog Post: Our First Trip to Hokie Town

By Full Member George Brunner

When Brittany and I decided to take the leap of faith and move to Greensboro, NC, we knew there would be sacrifices we would have to make. Unfortunately, one of those sacrifices was not being able to participate in community in the same way as before. This was a decision we came to because we felt the Lord was calling us move to NC. This would allow me to do campus ministry and give Brittany the chance to find a teaching job. This was a sacrifice that we had–but certainly– didn’t want to make.  Little did I know, I wouldn’t have to completely sacrifice community. In a little town in southwest Virginia sits one of the largest technical schools on the east coast. Many of you are familiar with this institute; and no, I’m not talking about the University of VA. I’m talking about Virginia Tech.

When I first learned that Youth Apostles was endeavoring to lead the campus ministry at Virginia Tech, I was thrilled. However, at the same time I thought, “This has nothing to do with me (other than I am a Youth Apostle).” My thought couldn’t have been further from the truth. The distance between Virginia Tech and Greensboro, NC is just over a 2 hours drive. I thought to myself, “Many of our brothers travel that far in the state of Virginia to participate in community, so there should be no reason that I should not make the trip to participate with the bothers in the Virginia Tech community.” The reason for our visit was two-fold. First and foremost, I came to gain knowledge from a great sage: the one and only Fr. David Sharland. Secondly, I came to participate in community with our brothers currently living there, including Chris Hitzelberger and his family, as well as Mark Embree and his family (who will join him shortly), and a few other brothers.

Brittany and I left Greensboro on Friday evening after dinner to travel to the Hitzelberger home to spend time with Chris and his kids. We arrived just in time for bedtime stories (his wife Joanna was unfortunately not with us this weekend.) After the kids went to sleep, Chris, Brittany, and I stayed up for some time reminiscing about past events and how those events led to our current positions. My wife being the lovely old woman she is, decided to partake in her ZZZZZ’s around 10PM, while Chris and I stayed up for another hour chatting about our ministries.

The next morning we woke up bright and early to the sounds of little voices and tiny feet scampering around the house. I was the first to get up and go into the family room to find all 4 children sitting on the couches watching TV. Since Brittany and I do not have children yet, I was interested to find out what youngsters these days find attractive on TV. Little did I know, the events that were to take place would change my life forever. I received my first taste of Ninjago. The Legos of my childhood pastime had come to life in animation on the television screen. The next forty-five minutes of my life were spent learning as much as I could about these four little Ninjas, their special powers, courageous hearts, and ridiculously amusing attire. As Chris arrived on the scene, it was just about time for Brittany and I to get ready for Mass which was to take place at 9AM at the Neumann Center at Virginia Tech.

As he normally does on Saturday mornings, Fr. David led us in the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. It was a small Mass with a few brothers, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was no different than having Mass at the McLean House on all those Tuesday nights. This was no doubt a Youth Apostle community. After Mass we took a short time to catch up with some brothers. Brittany and Andrew DeCelle grabbed some food, and I met with Fr. David. After our meeting, the real party began.

Many students from the school were busy working around the house taking down Christmas decorations and placing them in a neat, organized, and labeled fashion which would bring a proud smile to Father David’s face. After we had helped move some boxes, it was time for the little work we had done to be over, and a small celebration to begin. Fr. David had ordered pizzas, the Hitzelberger family had arrived, Mak Embree had finished his work on the stairwell railing, and it was time to eat. During lunch, I got to spend some time getting to know some of the students, discussing who we thought would win the Super Bowl, and most concluding that Denver would have it in the bag. I could already feel the great sense of community with these students, and I know that the community at Virginia Tech will continue to grow. And knowing that Andrew Hadinger would be jealous that I was there and he was not, I could not help but send him a picture of how much fun we were having. He responded, “Not fair!” Unfortunately, our stay could not last as long as we would have liked, but nevertheless we could not leave until after the game of Hide-and-Seek. Everyone was found but Peter Maurer, who claimed, “Well, I guess that means I won.” We said good-bye to our new friends, good-bye to our old friends, and we’ll see you next month.

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