By: Jeremy Eckert.
After my first year of college I was in a very rough place. I hit rock bottom. It was after I encountered several CCO missionaries on the Impact Ottawa mission that I committed my life to Christ. That was three years ago and it began my journey to joining CCO staff.
Committing my life to Christ meant giving up a life of worldly, sinful, and dead-end desires. Through this I was able to fully embrace the Catholic faith. Once I discovered that the world doesn’t truly satisfy, I received a strong desire for holiness in my life. I took two faith studies that summer, and went to confession for the first time in 10 years. I started growing immensely in my faith.
The next year I participated in the Impact Halifax mission, which set me on fire for the Lord. This mission taught me how to live out my missionary identity. When I returned home to Ottawa I worked full time as a land surveyor for two years. Throughout those years I continued to be very involved in my community and with CCO. I witnessed to my coworkers on a daily basis, lead a couple faith studies in my parish, and taught catechesis to grade six students.
A few months before I applied for staff I was restless. I was restless about my job and about not being able to be more involved in CCO (because I was finished school). I also went through a difficult breakup. Overall, I felt uneasy and anxious with my life. Deep down I knew what my heart yearned to do and what I was made to do- evangelize.
One day while working outside I thought “before I die I would really like to be a CCO missionary”. At that moment I realized that I would not be at peace until I applied- maybe it was because it was negative thirty five and I was freezing, but something in me encouraged me to apply.
I applied after attending the Staff Discernment Brunch at Rise Up Ottawa. It was here that I became really excited to be a part of the bigger picture of CCO. I was amazed at what a dynamic and successful organization it was! I learned more about CCO as a whole and heard testimonies of many staff members. I realized that CCO staff truly are one large family.
After I submitted my application I became unsure of how God would lead me in discernment. Even after I was accepted to staff I was hesitant. I was worried about support raising. I found myself saying “God if this is what you want for me, then make it happen,” and he did! He spoke to me through other staff members, and I was assured that God loves to provide for his children. Most of my confidence came from the fact that, despite working a different full time job, I managed to raise the funds I needed to be on campus. That summer built up my trust in God. In particular, Ephesians 3:20 really stood out for me. “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine…”
We are all made to evangelize. Being a CCO staff member has given me a sense of peace because I know I am doing what I was made for, and I am thriving! My heart for the world is growing larger each day by helping the deep spiritual need on campus.