My name is Shantelle Medel and I am a third year student studying health science at SFU. When I arrived at university, I wasn’t happy with anything. My relationships and the way I approached school and life was very far from God and did not bring me happiness. There was a lot of hurt in my heart that I didn’t know how to heal.
During the first week on campus, I approached the CCO table because I wanted free candy and a rosary. I ended up signing up for CCO’s first faith study, Discovery. At the end of every lesson, there was a challenge; for example, praying, going to mass, or reading the Bible. What I didn’t realize was that doing these challenges was actually bringing me a lot of peace. Jesus was becoming someone I simply acknowledged to someone I needed to bring healing to my life. Close to the end of the study, my leader asked me if Christ was the centre of my life. I knew that Christ had become an important aspect, but I didn’t think that I was worthy enough to have Him at the centre. However, my leader pointed out to me that each week I would tell her how much turning to Christ was bringing me peace. She told me that I actually did have Christ at the center of my life. I realized that it wasn’t about being perfect; God was always there and wanted me to realize that He loves me as I am. This brought me even more peace and freedom.
From then on I consciously made the choice to let God work in all aspects of my life. Things began to change as He brought light to all the darkness in my life and gave me hope far more than this world could offer. Having Christ at the centre of my life brought me so much strength and I just had the desire to share what His unconditional love had done for me.
In my second semester, I decided to ask my leader if I could lead Discovery. I knew that there were so many students like me who were lost and I wanted them to know that God’s love could bring them the peace their hearts desired. I was so confident in the message of the study and its transformative power that I asked my own friends to take the study with me. I ended up having a group of three friends along with two other contacts that CCO provided for me.
Helping them in their relationship with God through the study helped me to grow even stronger in my own relationship with Him. When one of my friends who I never thought would enjoy the study said that Discovery helped bring her closer to God, I felt so much joy. I realized then that God was truly using me for a greater purpose; to bring His love to others.
After leading many Discovery faith studies these past couple years, I was challenged to train other leaders to lead their friends and students. It was an even more empowering experience to witness students embracing their missionary identity and to see their absolute joy and inspiration through bringing Christ to others. Discovery quotes Jeremiah 29:11, which says: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not your woe, plans to bring you a future full of hope”. Little did I know His plans: that taking Discovery would have led to Christ changing my life, me bringing Christ to others, and now training other leaders to share the Gospel. Through this wonderful journey I’ve realized that God has a bigger plan for me than I had for myself. I am so excited to further build a legacy by leading Discovery in my parish this summer.