My interest to work as a missionary happened when I went on a mission trip with CCO to World Youth Day (WYD) in Brazil in 2014. It wasn’t the first time I felt a pull towards evangelization – that had already come from being connected with CCO on campus and during a previous summer mission. WYD, however, was my first experience as a missionary in action. As a mission team leader, the pressure was on me to teach other participants how to share the gospel with other pilgrims in a foreign country.
That experience of growing in leadership, helping others grow in leadership – and most importantly sharing the gospel – brought a sense of purpose and fulfillment to my life.
Before I went to World Youth Day, I wasn’t even planning on continuing as a student that fall. My initial plan was to take a year off university and go to a lay apostolate school, St. Therese School of Faith and Mission. I was hoping to take some time to “figure my life out,” since I did not know God’s plans for my future. Should I finish my undergrad? Should I think about joining a religious order? But after WYD, I could not picture myself doing anything else other than being a missionary. All I wanted was to teach others about the gospel and equip them to do the same. I decided to complete my degree, so I could eventually apply to be a CCO missionary.
For me, being a CCO missionary came with three big perks.
- CCO’s materials for sharing the gospel message. It’s so easy to share Jesus using resources like the faith studies and Ultimate Relationship booklets.
- Other missionaries. I could have the chance to work alongside people who shared my zeal to change the world through Christ.
- Most importantly, going outside my comfort zone to proclaim Christ to people my age. I knew, firmly, this is where I can make a difference in the world.
Deciding to work for CCO seemed like a natural answer. However, actually taking the leap to saying “yes”—as in, applying to be a missionary—was very difficult for me. During the two years after WYD it seemed like every other day I wanted to try a different career path. Know the feeling? I was filled with doubt and fear that wanting to be missionary was just a temporary feeling. In my last year of university several CCO staff members encouraged me to apply.
Even though I was hesitant, I decided to go through the application process. I wanted to be open to the possibilities God wanted for me, and applying felt like a necessary step in the discernment* process. When CCO offered me the job, I decided to take a leap of faith and said “yes,” trusting this is what God wanted for me. While there weren’t any fireworks or balloon bunches that descended from heaven when I said “yes,” there was stillness, peacefulness and excitement for this journey. And that, it turns out, was even better.
Trusting God was the best decision of my life. From the start he knew this was what would bring me fulfillment and a joyful life. I still cannot picture myself doing anything else.
*used to describe the process of determining God’s desire in a situation
Erica Stevens currently finishing up her first year as a CCO intern at Memorial University. She is originally from Eskasoni, NS. In the fall, she will be working as a campus missionary at Dalhousie University & St. Mary’s University.