Lindsay Charland

Director, Stewardship and Development
lindsay.charland@cco.ca
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Growing up in Kelowna, BC, I believed in the existence of God, but had a hard time wrapping my mind around Christianity. It wasn’t until the summer of 2007 that I began to take Jesus seriously. At that time, I was living in Miami, FL, where I attended university on a golf scholarship. Facing a very distinct turning point in my life, I began to encounter more and more people who had, what I would describe as, a “real” relationship with Jesus. I took notice. Wanting to experience what they had, I reached out to my Heavenly Father in prayer and asked Him what I was missing. The reply was simply: Jesus. I told Him that, if Jesus was His Son and He really died on a cross for me to save me from my sins and all that the Bible said about Him was true, then I would be willing to believe it. But, He would have to show me that it was true.

The next day, I called up my best friend, Jennie, a Catholic Christian, and asked her if I could go to church with her. She told me that she’d been praying for two years for me to ask her that question! During my first Mass, I had a profound and life-changing encounter with the truth of the Eucharist, and I haven’t missed a Sunday Mass since that day! Jesus was truly made known to me “in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35).

Over the next few weeks, there was an ongoing battle between my head and my heart. My head was being won over by this person of Jesus, but my heart wasn’t catching up as quickly. After a few more weeks of attending Mass and weekly prayer meetings, I was challenged to make the decision to place Jesus at the centre of my life. At that moment, God gave me the grace to realize that this wasn’t a matter of sorting out conflicting thoughts and feelings, but rather, an invitation to make a free assent of my will. And so, I made that choice by praying a simple prayer that gave Jesus permission to make my life His own. In no time at all, that small crack in the door of my heart grew and was opened wide to Christ! I joined the RCIA program at St. Louis Catholic Church in Miami, FL, and was received into the Church in March 2008.

As my relationship with Jesus grows and matures, my feelings of closeness to Him may ebb and flow – but, that matters less than my conviction of the truth. As Peter did, I have come to believe that Jesus is who He says He is: the Messiah, the Holy One, the Son of God. He loves me with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3), and He proved that love for me on the cross (cf. Rom 5:8). Day-to-day, my unshakable knowledge of this truth forms the basis of who I am, what I do, and what choices I make.

I’ve been serving as a missionary at CCO’s national headquarters in Ottawa since 2012. I live here with my husband, Nicholas, whom I married in October of 2016. I currently serve as the Director of Stewardship & Development, a role in which I oversee the national, regional, and missionary fundraising for the movement. Previously, I had eight years of work experience in the field of institutional advancement for higher education, specifically in development and donor relations.

Whether in the office or out in the world, being a CCO missionary affords me countless opportunities to know and love Jesus, and make Him known and loved by others. This role allows me to make a gift of myself – of my talents, knowledge of the faith, ministerial skills, and professional work experience – for the benefit of the movement, the future of the Church, and the glory of God. Moreover, being a full-time missionary allows me to not only be a witness, but also a participant, in the grace of God moving powerfully in the lives of others.

One of my favourite ministries of CCO is our annual Rise Up conference. It was at Rise Up in 2011 that I first came into contact with CCO. I was impressed with the simple and clear Gospel message presented to the students and their overwhelmingly positive response to the invitation to place Christ at the centre of their lives. The movement of the Holy Spirit that’s so apparent during Rise Up, and the effectiveness of CCO’s approach, is what inspired me to join staff.

Being a CCO missionary has challenged me to grow in many important areas in my life. As a new staff member, I was trained with methods and materials that have better equipped me to share my faith and the Gospel message with others. I’ve also been given the opportunity to put this learning into practice in the context of working indirectly with students, leading a Discovery faith study, and sharing the fruits of our work with my supporters. Now, as a Director, my managerial role continues to challenge and stretch me as a leader and disciple.

I have also grown in my relationship with God, who continues to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine! (Eph 3:20). As a support-raising missionary, I am called to depend on Him and His providence unreservedly. My entire welfare and well-being is in His hands, and those of the supporters that He calls to join me in this mission. Experiencing His providential care, in how well He has provided for me so far, has shown me just how trustworthy He is.

I have come to see, first-hand, that “the Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does” (Ps 145:13).

ON GOING PRAYER REQUESTS

That the Lord’s will be done in my life, and for the grace to be a devoted disciple of Christ, a strong and capable leader for my team, and loving wife to my husband.

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