What is Crossroad? It is a ten day program for Orthodox students in their junior or senior year (so 11th or 12th grade). This program is held at Hellenic College in Boston and is organized by the office of Vocation and Ministry. At this point in our lives we hit this crossroad where we have to kind of plan out our lives. What do my parents want me to do? What do I want to do? What does God want me to do? If you’re lucky the answers of all of these questions will be the same but that’s most likely not the case. In my case, I didn’t know the answer to the last question. What is God’s will for me?
My story Believe it or not, discovering CrossRoad was God’s answer to my prayer. I prayed one night and I asked God to reveal His will for me, to show me a sign. A couple of days later, I got the answer; God was guiding me to a path. I was having lunch with two friends from church. We were discussing God and our Faith, when one of my friends Tanita, a CrossRoad alumnus, asked me two questions: “What grade I was in?” and “Had I ever heard of the program CrossRoad?” She told me about the program and about her unforgettable experience and how it represented the turning point of her spiritual life. I was excited to discover that there was a program that catered to all my needs and interests. Later that day, I received an envelope from my friend Emily, who is also a CrossRoad alumnus. I opened it and the first thing I read was: “What grade are you in and have you ever heard of the program CrossRoad?” At that very moment, I realized it was a sign from God. With tears in my eyes, filled with inexpressible joy, all I could do was glorify and thank Him.
This alone was amazing but God didn’t stop showing me signs. When I got accepted my parents told me I couldn’t go because we needed to sell our house and if we sold our house we were going to Lebanon and if we went to Lebanon I couldn’t take any more days off because I was part of a competitive soccer team. At that point, I still didn’t give up. I kept praying and asking God to make it work if it was His will. The day before the deadline to reply to the acceptance letter someone bought our house, my parents booked our flight for the day after the last day of the program AND I received an email from my soccer coach saying that we don’t have enough girls to make a team. How more straight forward can God be?
My friends view this as a miracle. In the words of Mother Gavrilia, “A Miracle is the normal course of events according to God’s will. What we call a Miracle is only what is natural to God” How wonderful are God’s works!
Predictions I knew very little of the program while applying but I heard really good things about it. I figured it was going to be like church camp but more focused on the spiritual aspect and so therefore the participants will probably be church “nerds” like me. To my surprise there was a variety of teens. Teens from different backgrounds; some that are very involved in their parish and others that barely attend service. In the end we all had one thing in common: our faith and our vocation: to love God as well as our neighbours.
The program itself was amazing! They really used every hour of those ten days so that we can pray, play, learn and serve together! Every day we celebrated Orthros in the chapel at Holy Cross and we went to a different church every day for vespers (Bulgarian, Greek, Albanian…) We also got to study our faith. Two seminary professors offered us mini-courses every day which I personally really enjoyed. Every staff member had a lesson plan for the day and fun activities to go with it. At the end of the program we had the opportunity of doing a breakfast search and of visiting a nursing home. Two things I have never done before. It was probably the hardest part of the program for me. We got to sit and have breakfast with men we found in the streets. And at the nursing home we played bingo, played board games and danced with the elderly. It is good to go out of your comfort zone to serve your neighbour. Every day they took us on an outing. It ranged from the ropes course to shopping at Faneuil Hall to going to the beach. All along this journey I learnt about myself and about God’s will for me.
If I had to share one thing with all of you that I learnt, it is this quote by Bishop Gerasimos: “Do whatever you like, whatever comes your way, but do it well as a Christian. Whatever you choose, do it for the love of God and the service of others”