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college

Catholicism

I Was About to Leave the Church Then THIS Happened

September 11, 2015

I arrived on campus planning to leave the Catholic Church. I’d become disillusioned with religion over the last few years, and now that I was out of Mom and Dad’s house, it was time to stop going to church.

Then I got a phone call.

Matt, from Catholic Campus Ministry wanted to get together. He got my number from a contact card I filled out (under Mom and Dad’s insistence) when we visited over the summer.

I wasn’t against the Church or God, I just didn’t care that much. Matt seemed nice enough, and I thought I’d be a jerk to say no to meeting, so we set a time to grab a bite.

We got together, and it turned out that Matt wasn’t some crazy religious nut. He was actually a pretty cool guy. After talking for a bit, Matt invited me to a new student event at the chapel. I had no reason to say no, so I said yes.

At the event, Matt introduced me to some other freshman guys. They were cool, friendly, stand-up dudes. These were guys I wanted to hang out with. They also happened to love Jesus.

I hung out with these guys, and they started rubbing off on me. They were all going on a retreat, so I did too. That retreat sealed the deal.

At that retreat I met 40 people who cared about me like nobody else I’d met yet on campus. These people had a joy that was unknown to me. I went to confession, (and laughed in it!) I prayed in Eucharistic adoration for the first time.

When I got back to campus, I joined Matt’s Bible study. I decided to spent more time with my Catholic friends. I attended daily Mass several times a week. Matt taught me how to pray. Before I knew it, I had a new way of looking at the world. I learned that God loved me, made me for a relationship with him, and became man and died to ensure I’d be able to enter into that relationship. Everything had changed.

And it never would have happened if Matt wouldn’t have called, if those other freshman guys didn’t welcome me in, if the Catholic Campus Ministry at George Mason University wouldn’t have made the decision to share the Gospel and evangelize the Campus. When we choose to leave our comfort zone and share Jesus, lives change. I know, because mine did.

Mission

The September My Life Changed

September 9, 2015

It was September 2003.

I was a itty bitty Freshman at University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and had recently rushed Greek Life and became an Alpha Phi.

alpha phi

My pledge class

And that, my friends, is where the Lord changed my life.

WHAT?!?!

Who goes to college, joins a sorority, and THEN meets Jesus?

Me.

It definitely wasn’t part of my plan but it all makes sense looking back…

You see, I grew up Catholic and definitely knew a lot about God. There were even times where I would say I was close-ish to God. But a personal, intimate friendship day in and day out? Nada.

The Spring before college began, a speaker named Jason Evert came and spoke at my High School. He talked about chastity and Jesus. Something began to stir in me that day.  I was tired of going through the motions. I was tired of relationships that were superficial and shallow. I was tired of living for myself and needing to control my life.

I was just tired of living the way I’d been living for so long.

At the end of Jason’s talk when he offered for people to sign a commitment card pledging themselves to Jesus, I sprinted forward and signed the card. I didn’t know what giving your life to Jesus looked like but I wanted it.

Then, I remember praying and asking God to surround me with friends who knew and loved him…so that I could learn how to know and love him.

Back to September 2003. I joined Alpha Phi with the intention of making life-long friendships with my sorority sisters but little did I know that God would use them to answer my prayers in bigger ways.

Within one week of joining the house, I was given an invitation to join a bible study and attend a Greek fellowship on campus sponsored by a non-denominational ministry. I have no other way to describe what began to occur within me than to use the word transformation.

biblie study

My first bible study leader Danielle (Gamma Phi Beta) on the right.

Every time I opened the bible, it was as if the words were JUMPING off the pages at me. The scriptures were alive and I could feel the presence of Christ. I was hearing truth preached at the weekly Greek meeting and at Mass on Sundays. Truth I had absolutely been exposed to my ENTIRE LIFE but was deaf to. It was as if my ears were unplugged and I could finally hear what God had to say to me.

I was challenged to surrender myself to God. To accept that I indeed was a sinner. That I couldn’t save myself from my sin…only Jesus could.  I was challenged to give him my plans. My dreams. My hopes. My desires. And to follow him wherever he would call me.

And so I did.

On one hand I was experiencing more joy than I’d ever known. God was filling me to the brim with His presence and it was such an exciting ride. On the other hand, I was a freshman in college. The whole Jesus thing didn’t exactly jive with the Greek scene I was now part of. I felt torn often but God continued to fill me with peace. I was on the right path in following him and he provided me with strength to live for him.

That September I learned how to pray on a more intimate level than simply reciting learned prayers, as good as those prayers were. I dusted off my bible and began to study it. I found other Christians and experienced what authentic and deep friendships can look like. My mind, heart, and soul were renewed. My life completely transformed.

It’s been twelve years since I was that little spring chicken in college. So very much has changed…except the one thing I became sure of that September: I am a sinner in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the only one worth living for and the only true source of lasting peace, joy, and happiness in this world. And that will never change.

If you also would like to know him in a more intimate way, shoot me an email and we can talk more offline. I would love to help you encounter Him.