Alana Heit

Campus Missionary, University of Saskatchewan
alana.heit@cco.ca
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I grew up on an acreage just outside of Unity, Saskatchewan with my wonderful parents, two older brothers and three older sisters. Our growing family continues to be a great source of joy in my life! Over the years there has been the addition of three brother in-laws, a nephew and two nieces.

Growing up Catholic and regularly attending Mass with my family, I believed that God existed and loved everyone, but I didn’t think that he was too concerned about me ‘personally’. I had the mindset that if I were to follow Jesus He would take away the freedom and joy that life has to offer. I never understood that I could have a personal relationship with Christ until I started to attend Face to Face retreats when I was a teenager. It was through the talks and joyful witness of other young Catholics that Jesus began to show me that in saying ‘yes’ to following Him, He takes nothing away from us that makes life exciting and beautiful.

After realizing in my heart that Jesus loves me so personally, and would die for me alone, my immediate response to Him, out of love and gratefulness, was to say “Lord, I’m Yours!” I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain to my friends and family how it is that I came to experience Christ when I was a teenager. I just knew in my heart that I desired that my whole life would glorify Him, and not myself. I can see now that Christ was giving me the grace to place him at the centre of my life.

Over the years, witnessing the bold faith of others has encouraged me to continually step out in faith and walk closer towards the Lord. I know that Jesus is the fulfillment of all of our desires, and the source of all of our joy. I can confidently say that in following Christ, He takes nothing away, but give us everything.

In September, I will continue my ministry as a campus missionary at the University of Saskatchewan. One of my greatest joys is being able to witness others come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way. I was able to witness this while leading a discovery study for a group of girls that I go to school with. One day after our faith study, my heart was so full of joy because I knew that girls were really entering in and opening their hearts to Christ.
Then, as I was locking up the room where we had our study, I could see a young woman bent over looking for something on the floor. I saw her jump up with great excitement when she found what she was searching for. I looked at her and said “It looks like you just found something very special to you.” She was so happy that she began to cry, and told me that it was her grandmothers ring and she had lost it earlier that day. She was so overjoyed to find it that she gave me a big hug and said “I’m so happy that you were here, because it’s so good to share this with someone.” Even though we didn’t know each other, both of our joy was increased in that moment.

As I walked away, I was reminded of the parable of the woman with the lost coin. (Luke 15: 8-10) After the woman finds her coin she exclaims “rejoice with me for I have found the piece I have lost!” and the Lord reminds us “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” In that moment it became more clear to me how the Lord personally loves, and fervently searches for each soul. And how his heart rejoices so greatly when His people return to him! But to top it all off, the Lord gives us the great privilege of sharing in the joy of finding the lost, and leading them back to Him. As someone once said (D.T. Niles), “Evangelization is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”

Through my University experience with CCO I have seen many people come to encounter Christ in a personal way through all of the different ministries, retreats and missions that CCO offers. In particular, I think of a friend who experienced Christ at the fall retreat, went on to take faith studies throughout her time in University, and became a multiplying missionary by leading studies and participating in CCO’s summer mission called IMPACT.

The words of Pope Francis encouraged me during my discernment, as he said: “The best way to evangelize the youth, is to have the youth evangelize to them.” I realized that my youth is a great gift to the Church, and I can give myself by introducing God’s love and mercy to young people on University Campuses. The main area I have grown in is surrender. Christ has shown me the fruitfulness of abandoning my future plans to him, and trusting that He has a still more excellent way.

ONGOING PRAYER REQUESTS

Please pray for all young women and men that we will minister to, that their hearts will be open to Christ, and that they will experience the freedom and joy of being in relationship with Him.

Pray that the Lord may increase in my heart the spirit of humility, love, and courage.

Please be assured that I am praying for your intentions as well!

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