Have you ever ran a full on marathon? If not don't worry because I haven't. But I have noticed that people who do a marathon tend to do it again. Now some of us may wonder why they would want to go through all that sweat, pain and time that it takes to do a marathon, just to do it again. It may seem a little silly. But they do it because they get a real thrill and love pushing themselves a little more to see how much better they can do.
This is a lot like NET.
For 10 months you are working, praying and living with 4-9 other people, are working off of very little money, sleep and sometimes energy. It can feel like a whole month has gone by when only a week has passed. And then there is the option of doing a second year.
Now for some doing a second year is a cut and dry decision. You know definitively that one year is enough. And that is totally fine. But for others, doing another year of NET does seem appealing. While doing ministry 24/7 may seem tough, you have gotten a lot of life out it. Being embedded with your team in a van or a parish can be stressful but you have made many beautiful lasting memories with these people you didn't know less than a year ago.
For me, doing a second year was something I flip-flopped on a lot before making up my mind. In December, we were told to start thinking about doing a second year. A guy who was a second year told me not to start thinking about doing another year until mid-way through January. So I didn't let it bother me. Then the middle of January rolled around and I forgot about it. I had the application, but I didn't really want to fill it out. Plus there was the chance of getting a job in youth ministry back home and I was interested in that. Finally, I sat down and filled it out. But then it sat in the bottom of my dresser for the next two months. The whole time I saw it and thought, 'should I send that in?' I also tried to keep up to date on the job back home and I heard that applications for it were being pushed back. This I think was the push I needed to apply for a second year. I felt called to do a second year because I hadn't gotten my missionary bug out of me yet. Plus I really enjoyed my first year and I thought a second year would be just as good (which it has been to this point.) I prayed about it and decided that I should apply and see what happens. Then I went for a second year interview and then a few days later I got the call saying I was accepted. Earlier that day, I was doing my personal prayer and I felt God saying to me the reason that job got pushed back was so that I could do a second year. When I got the call I felt certain that doing a second year was where I should go.
Doing a second year can seem daunting. You just got through ten months of working with your team, fundraising and keeping up with the NET lifestyle. And then you decide to do it all over again. But I do not regret it. During my summer home I could not wait to get back. And after the first few days of training back in Ireland, and meeting all the new NET missionaries and catching up with the ones I already knew, I was convicted that this was where I was meant to be.
So if you are thinking about doing a second year, or maybe you have taken a year off of NET and are on the fence of whether or not to do another one, I would encourage you to pray about it. Yes its hard, we all know that, but we know the fruit of a NET year. And God would not put that desire on your heart if he didn't want you to do a second year. So why not go for one more run?