Coralville teen: ‘I finally had my Jesus moment at NCYC’

By Annalee Bartels
For The Catholic Messenger

The 2019 NCYC was an experience that has changed the way I see God in my life. I learned so much about my faith and listening to amazing stories that other people have to tell through their challenges in life.

Annalee Bartels, right, and Bishop Thomas Zinkula, pose for a photo at National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis last month.

I had been to NCYC two years ago, Notre Dame Vision the past two summers and many other faith trips with my youth group. None of them compared to this one. Even with going on all of those trips to find Jesus, I was still hesitant about my faith. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be loved by God. But on this trip I found his love for me and changed my entire perspective on God, Jesus and my faith. The second I kneeled down on the bleachers of Lucas Oil Stadium for adoration I began to cry.

I started praying to God and I started over from the very beginning, explaining all of my struggles with my faith and everything happening in my life. For the first time ever I could feel God listening to me. I knew that he was looking over me at this moment during adoration. I was praying about how I felt broken in my faith and all of the things I wish to improve about myself. Then during all of this, in adoration, the song “Lord I Need You” played.

Everyone in the stadium of 20,000 people began to sing. Everyone’s voices were wobbly but strong, like they were all in the same boat with me. Everyone singing through tears and finally realizing how much we all need God and how he is always there for us. It was beautiful and moved me to even more tears. I finally had assurance in my faith and I finally had my Jesus moment.

The entire weekend was a blast and made me grow more in my faith in every aspect of my life. I will never forget some of those precious memories I made at NCYC. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I had to go to NCYC and for the amazing people I went with and met along the way. I would definitely encourage everyone who can go in 2021 to go. I believe NCYC was a moving experience that changed everyone there for the better.

(Annalee Bartels is a junior at Regina High School in Iowa City and a member of St. Thomas More Parish-Coralville.)

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