The Long Road

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By: Joshua Hrynchyshyn.

My journey with CCO began in my first year of university when I first met Andre Regnier. I wish I could say that when I met him I instantly wanted to become a CCO Missionary, but my journey is not as simple as that. That weekend I was advised to avoid CCO because, “CCO is too Protestant and Charismatic and will change the way you practice your faith”. I listened to this advice and spent the rest of my undergrad avoiding CCO at all costs.

Throughout my undergrad several people invited me to participate in various CCO events. I gave lame excuse after lame excuse to not to take a faith study or go to a Summit. A friend convinced me to apply for a CCO mission in Quebec. I was accepted but later backed out and went to World Youth Day Australia instead. The trip was not what I hoped for. I was left with more questions than answers. I came back to my family farm in Eastern Saskatchewan with no sense of direction. I felt like my only real option was to help my Dad with harvest. I rode the combine for hours, working the prairie fields, having a lot of time to pray and reflect on life.

My friend who hounded me for years to become involved with CCO, made a last-ditch effort to invite me to the fall retreat. When he asked me to come, I felt as if God was calling me personally to come follow Him. I had no excuse. I went to the CCO Saskatoon Fall Retreat and found a community of like-minded, faithful, and fun people I had been searching for. It was there that I put Christ at the center of my life. It was there that I was given the tools for evangelization. It was there that I truly found and embraced my Catholic Missionary Identity.

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The following summer, I participated in Impact Saskatoon. Just before mission I was also accepted into the Masters of Physical Therapy Program at the U of S, a dream of mine, and something I worked hard towards achieving. My plan was to do the mission and then go to School in the fall. Good plan right? As the mission moved along, my heart for being a full time missionary grew bigger. I was not excited to go to school. “All that matters is that Jesus be proclaimed; that is what brings me joy!” These words were branded on my heart.

By the end of the summer I was left with three choices:

1-Pursue my Masters in Physiotherapy

2-Accept a full-time position doing cardiac rehab

3-Join CCO as a Campus Missionary.

I know what you thinking “You signed on with CCO and lived happily every after!” Sadly, that is not how the story unfolded. I chose to pursue my Masters. This decision lead to several years of desolation and I experienced a lot of health problems and heartbreak.

Years later, as I was picking up the pieces of my broken heart and life on that same family farm in Eastern Saskatchewan, that same friend encouraged me to go to the CCO 25th Anniversary Celebration in Saskatoon. I still desired to be a Campus Missionary, but I felt like I didn’t have it in me. When I arrived I was greeted with a big hug and “I love you” from Angele and Andre Regnier. I felt at home. This was my family. I applied for staff and was accepted! My missionary heart began burning again! Amidst all of the darkness of my life, my missionary heart continued to burn-even if it was a little flame. Today, it’s a roaring fire. I thank God everyday for allowing me to share His heart for the lost, and rejoicing with Him when they are found.

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