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It happened on a stag night

​By the time of our Easter mission in Co. Antrim, we will have encountered over 5,000 young people”. 

This is the claim of Connor Duncan a young man with a mission. A mission whose seed was planted during a stag night in Spain.

“I was on a stag night in Spain and on one of the streets I came across a religious procession and I felt a stirring inside me ‘Ireland needs to see this witness’,” explains Conor. 

When Conor got home he prayed about it and found NET Ministries. He then left his job to become a full-time missionary with NET, “Ireland more now than ever needs to know the gospel and someone has to do something about”, says Conor. 

NET stands for National Evangelisation Teams. Based in Donegal each year they train over forty young adults to evangelise over 20,000 youth in churches, schools, and parishes across Ireland. 

Aoife O’ Hagan is also a member of NET. Aoife wants people to get to know Jesus and does this, she explains, by “going out to the youth and telling them about my faith experience”.

Aoife’s journey to becoming a missionary for NET was different to Conor’s. For her it was through many encounters with the Franciscan Brothers in Derry and groups such Youth 2000 that she felt the calling to work with NET. 

NET missionaries are encouraged not to fast during Lent, as they need to be full of energy on mission. However, they have many sacrifices built into their daily lives as missionaries. 

For Conor the main sacrifice as a missionary is little contact with his family and friends: “We give up our phones and are only on social media one hour per week”. 

Aoife’s main sacrifice is the NET policy that you eat what is put in front of you and she hates “peppers, onions, and mushrooms”. 

Community life can be a sacrifice, as with ten of them in the one van it will “always test one’s patience”, says Conor. However, he also notes that living in close quarters “you become closer like family.” 

You will most likely bump into Conor and Aoife at the Youth 2000 Ulster Retreat in St. Macartan’s School, Monaghan, on April 12th-14th.