By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — When she was an eighth-grader at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School, Abby Lantzky had her first experience with the National Evangelization Team (NET) Ministries.
As a junior at Assumption High School in Davenport, she attended another NET retreat and began to consider being a member of the team after visiting a booth encouraging retreat participants to do so.
“It has been in the back of my mind ever since. When I was beginning to consider college, I had something tugging at my heart to apply.” She searched for more information on NET and applied. “I had this immediate peace when I began to seriously consider it.”
Abby said her family was very excited about her applying for NET, but when she was accepted, “it really hit my parents that I wasn’t going to college next year, so there was a bit of edginess for a while. Once we figured out all the kinks with college, it was all smooth sailing.”
“We are very pround of Abby,” said her mom Kathy. “We are very supportive of her going off to NET this year and are confident she will go to college the year after.”
Kathy admits she was a little leery when Abby first told her that she wanted to hold off college for a year to travel the U.S. with NET. “But this is an exciting opportunity for her.”
Now the family feels it is better for her to do NET before starting college, Kathy said.
After her school year on the road with NET, Abby plans to attend Loras College in Dubuque and double major in psychology and religious studies. She hopes to attain her master’s degree in psychology, with the ultimate goal of becoming a marriage counselor with a Catholic-centered focus.
Her mom said before committing to NET they checked into what would happen with her financial aid for Loras. When they found out that would be retained, “we were more comfortable.”
Abby will leave Aug. 25 for five weeks of training before she is commissioned and sent on the road for nine months. “It will be challenging at times, I’m sure, but I will gain so much in the process of learning and serving. I am very excited to grow in my faith through the fostering of faith in the youth we will serve, as well as the relationships I will develop with my teammates.”
She believes “God is calling me to do this. He obviously has a plan for me, and that plan is for me to give up a year to be his hands reaching out to the youth that we will encounter.”
She spoke with NET member Vito Spadafino, who was a huge help and inspiration through the process. “He prayed over me and answered my hundreds of questions. He was wonderful.” She also talked with two female NET members her family hosted. “They were also very inspirational, gave me all sorts of advice and kept me calm during various worries I would have while waiting for my interview or waiting for my acceptance/rejection call.”
Abby also gives credit to Dan Huber, her Assumption religion teacher. “He was such a positive, driving force as well as an inspiration and guide to me throughout the entire process, along with being a reference for me.”
Another “amazing guide” for her since seventh grade, is teacher Lynn Leming of St. Paul the Apostle School. “She has always given me something to reach towards, and I cannot thank her enough for all the values, opportunities she has instilled in me. I am eternally grateful and want to put it in ink.”
Through Leming’s influence, Abby has been involved in St. Paul the Apostle Parish’s youth group, attended service trips, participated in the Souper Bowl of Caring, New Kingdom Trailriders and is currently working at Camp Shalom near Maquoketa.
National Evangelization Teams Ministries asks each team member to raise $4,200, roughly a quarter of the cost of keeping him or her on the road for a year.
To donate money for Abby Lantzky, visit http://netusa.org/supportnet. You may also list her name in the memo section of a check made payable to NET Ministries, Inc. and mailed to NET Ministries, Inc., 110 Crusader Ave. W., West St. Paul, MN, 55118.
For more information, call (651) 450-6833.