By Emilie Ng
YOUNG Australians who don’t know God should prepare themselves for an impromptu visit from Brisbane Catholics Nick Kelly and Emilie Piat .
Nick, a civil engineering student, and recent high school graduate Emilie left their Brisbane homes last month to share their faith around the country with NET (National Evangelisation Teams) Ministries Australia for one year.
They are among 42 young Australians and international Catholics who will preach the Gospel in five separate teams this year.
Nick and Emilie felt called to “give back” to the Church by serving a year with NET, despite having to give up studies, and leave behind friends, family and even relationships.
Nick has deferred university for a year and has started a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend in order to be on NET.
The 20-year-old first developed a passion for youth ministry after attending the Ignite Conference in Brisbane.
“I grew up in a Catholic family and for years I went to Mass and didn’t know why, and didn’t understand why I was going,” he said.
“I went along to a youth event run by Ignite and I had my first personal encounter with Jesus there.
“It wasn’t just an idea anymore; it was a relationship.”
Now that Nick has fostered a relationship with God, he hopes to teach other young people in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn how they too can find Christ.
“The Catholic Church sometimes doesn’t focus on the youth,” he said.
“It’s something I find I have a passion for, to bring them into not only a relationship with Jesus, but into the Church as well.
“With NET, it’s radical in that we don’t think that the way things are for youth has to be that way.
“We think that we can change things and make youth have someone else to look at other than who they’re currently looking for.”
While some of Emilie’s friends think she is “wasting her time”, the young Melbourne NET Ministries team member is bursting to tell Australian youth about Jesus.
Emilie, 18, said a Catholic charismatic seminar “ignited” a passion to know Jesus, love the Mass and to be a youth minister.
“I came to really know Jesus then and that’s where everything ignited,” she said.
But not content with being part of a minority of believers, Emilie now wants as many young Australians as possible to know Jesus, starting her mission in Melbourne.
“I felt like I really needed to give back what I’ve gotten, to young people who are missing out,” she said.
“I decided to do NET because I felt that I needed to give back from what I’ve received through youth ministry and growing up.”
Emilie said NET Ministries offered young Catholics a “new way” to live their faith in a supportive community.