Healing People With His Love

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Angèle Sweeney

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted a career that would “help people.”  Over the course of my lifetime, this vague career goal manifested itself in many different ways. From grade eight until my second year of university; I seriously considered about ten different career paths. By the end of grade 12 it was time for me to choose a path, one that I thought would best help me to “help people”, so I chose to aim high: medical school.

Throughout high school, I had rejected my faith and turned to partying and being a high achiever to fill this void. My first year of university was not at all what I expected.  I thought that university would be a chance for me to continue to be a high achiever and get the grades that would put me on my way towards medical school, but I was wrong.  Instead, I found that in university, my professors didn’t know me, my classmates didn’t know me and I didn’t really even know myself.  I felt as though I had completely lost my identity.  To gain some sort of identity and status, I turned again to partying.  Throughout that year, my ideal of “helping people” was nowhere to be found.  My dreams of medical school started to fade away as I fell deeper and deeper into the partying culture.

My second year of university started on the same note as my first year, however this time I was searching.  I knew there had to be something more than constant partying and trying to prove myself through over-achieving.  It was about two weeks into the first semester when I was invited to attend a CCO fall retreat, and because I was searching, I decided to go.  This retreat changed everything for me.  This retreat was the first time I heard clearly that God loves me personally and that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sins.  It was also during that retreat that I decided to let Christ into my life: the beginning of a lifelong journey!
It was that weekend that I first felt called to share my faith.  I felt like I was overflowing with God’s love and I wanted everyone to know that He could give them peace like He had done for me.   I began to realize that sharing my faith with others brought me great joy!  It was like God gave me the grace to remember that I always wanted to help people.  Although medical school was still a possibility, I really only felt like I was doing what God intended me to do when I was sharing the Gospel with others.

As I got more and more involved with CCO, I grew in admiration for the CCO missionaries.  I admired how they devoted all of their time to building up the kingdom of God.  I admired their faith, how they completed their education and yet chose to live off of God’s providence anyways.   Lastly, I admired their love; their love for the students, which I knew was because they were so close to God.  I remember one instance, towards the end of my second year when I realized that in the past, I had often tried to become like the people I admired.  In that moment, I knew that one day I would become a CCO missionary.

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Impact Halifax 2012

In the summer before my third year, I participated in CCO’s Impact Halifax mission.  My entire summer was dedicated to evangelization, and I had never been so happy.  I exclaimed to some friends “I wish could do this mission forever!” to which they responded “You can.”  That summer I started actually praying and asking God if He was indeed calling me to be a CCO missionary.  For the next two years, I continued to pray, and continued to receive confirmation that I was called to be a missionary.

For two years, while I was finishing my degree, I had to painfully wait to do what had grown into the greatest desire of my heart: evangelize.  I realized that although medical school was a feasible option and would be a good way to help others, I was not passionate about it.    After reflecting on a conversation I had when I was sixteen with my father, this became clear to me. We discussed the hurt in the world: physical, emotional and spiritual.  Even at that age, I knew that the only hurt that would really last into eternal life was spiritual hurt.  I then thought to myself that the best way to help someone was not to heal their body, but to heal their soul.  Later on, after encountering God in a very real way, I knew that I could never heal someone’s soul, that that was something only God alone could do.  However, God knows my heart, and He knows that I want to help, and so He called me to help Him to help others, and I couldn’t be happier!

-Angèle Sweeney, first year missionary

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