Ignatius Ashali

Campus Missionary Intern, Dalhousie University
ignatius.ashali@cco.ca
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I came to know Christ by being brought up in the Catholic faith with my family. However, as I began to grow up my interest in the faith waned, as my interest is maintaining a healthy social status overtook it. This attitude of indifference and even shame towards my relationship with Jesus continued throughout the entirety of my secondary education, and well into my first year at University. This quickly took a change as I began to approach the end of that year, where I began to notice an emptiness and stagnance in the way I was spending my days. I began to have a desire to to do more with myself, and to participate in something more meaningful and fulfilling. So I began to search for that in the church community I still belonged to, near my University (McMaster). It was there that God’s perfect timing became apparent. The Lord waited until a time when I would be ready for these opportunities to enter more deeply into the life of the Church. Even though I was involved with the church choir, and participated in some Catholic Club events at the start of the year, the Lord waited until my heart was more open to receiving Him to grace me with several invitations. The first invitation was to collaborate with a friend in the music ministry of the McMaster Catholic Students Association. Being something I was already a part of, and found community in, I willingly and excitedly accepted. It was this process that tempered me, and got me ready to launch into the ministry of the McMaster Campus the following year. The second invitation was that to enter into the Chinese Catholic Community at my school. This was significant because the person who invited me into it was someone I had known all year. He was very involved in its leadership, and was constantly on the lookout for new members. However he did not invite me in all of our time in choir the previous year, the Lord waited to extend that invitation at a time when I would be willing and open to join. It was that invitation which eventually led me to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. That invitation led me into a retreat hosted by the Eastern Canada Chinese Catholic Living Camp – or “GT.” That retreat was where I came to know and love Jesus personally. I was receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation that weekend, for the first time in my life, out of a bona fide personal desire to. Upon receiving the sacrament the priest uttered three of the simplest words a Christian ever hears, “Jesus loves you.” Yet, at those words, Jesus made it clear, a fraction of the truth in that sentence. When that happened I was immediately overwhelmed and broke into tears. From that moment on I began to live my life for Christ. I fully immersed myself in the mission of the Church and grew more attuned to what it meant to put Christ at the center of your life. My life from that moment has been changed forever. I am continually seeking to fulfill the Great Commission, and to bring others into an encounter with Christ so that He can change their lives too.

My role in the organization is as a campus missionary. My mission assignment is at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This role as a campus missionary exists to spread the Gospel message to the students at Dalhousie, and to guide them into a personal relationship with Christ, putting Jesus at the center of their lives. Some goals that I have within the organization are to become intimately familiar and connected with the Catholic chaplaincy and leaders at Dalhousie. As someone coming from outside of a CCO campus, I want to bring in some insights and experience to improve the methods and systems currently in place. At the same time, I want to continually learn from established CCO methodologies, effective ways to reach University students. I think that I bring in a bright, fresh perspective. Eager to learn new things, and to bring in some outside influence to prevent any stagnance or monotony in evangelizing to University students. I have learned a lot in my time serving as the co-president of the McMaster Catholic Students Association, as well as my involvement in various other ministries and retreats by the Chinese Catholic Communities. My goal is to use some of these experiences and the knowledge I gained from them to continually calibrate the ways that we can reach University students exactly where they are, and to bring them to the realization that the Lord wants to reach them and for them to come to an encounter with Him.

ONGOING PRAYER REQUESTS

Please pray for the McMaster Campus I am leaving, pray for their campus leaders, chaplaincy leaders, and the students they are called to serve.

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