I was born and raised in the Philippines but moved to Vancouver at the age of 11 back in 2007. Growing up my parents brought me to church every Sunday and they taught me how to pray before meals and before going to bed. I grew up knowing that I was Catholic but I didn’t really know what that entailed. As I grew older, I slowly but very surely found myself dreading my prayers and going to mass. Mass became a chore that I “had” to do or else I would get in trouble with my parents. I just didn’t see the point in spending my one hour every Sunday in church.
When I was about 21 years old, everything changed. I had the privilege of attending World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland in the summer of 2016. In all honesty, my main reason for attending this pilgrimage was to travel around Europe once it was over but little did I know, Jesus was about to personally reach out for my broken heart in the midst of all these wrong reasons.
The week before World Youth Day, we spent it in a different city in Poland for something called Days in the Dioceses. I can vividly remember the first morning in Poland. We celebrated mass and afterwards the youth of that diocese put on a skit.In the skit, God brings to life this girl who He then teaches to walk, run, and finally dance. But just as she starts to learn to dance, all these earthly desires of lust, greed, drunkenness, and envy start to become apparent to her and they block her view of Jesus. It comes to a point where all these “desires” are giving her so much suffering that she is ready to give up..but she ultimately decides to run towards Jesus. All these past sins start fighting very hard to keep her back and throw her down, and just as she is about to give up, Jesus steps in and shields her from these sins. Jesus triumphs over all these evils and once again raises up this little girl and dances with her as before.
In that moment, during that first morning in Poland, I realized how broken I am. I mirrored exactly what that little girl was going through. Just before going in this pilgrimage, I was moving further and further away from Jesus. I was so attached to so many earthly desires that I had completely lost sight of Jesus in my life. But right then and there, Jesus reached out for me, and I started to run towards him.
I met CCO after coming back to Simon Fraser University that September where I took the first couple faith studies, Discovery and Source. I slowly but very surely learnt that the Jesus I met in Poland actually desires a personal and intimate relationship with me. I had the choice to put Christ at the centre of my life and by the end of that school year, I did, and I haven’t looked back since.
Through the last few years, I have had the joy of growing in my relationship with Christ, especially through service alongside CCO. Whether that be in music ministry, or going on Mission with CCO to Mexico, or even serving as a volunteer on campus, I realized that God was inviting me in this mission of saving souls! Now, I get to do this as my full time job as I get to serve as a campus missionary at Saint Mary’s University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am excited to be on campus and share the good news of the gospel to the students at SMU. Just like my own experience, I know that there are plenty of university students out there who have not heard about Jesus. I know that these students need and desire (even if they didn’t know it yet) to encounter the person of Jesus just like I did back in 2016. I know that through Jesus, lives and souls – just like mine, will be changed and saved.
If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful, and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed (…) do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. – Pope Benedict XVI
ONGOING PRAYER REQUESTS
Please pray for the students at Saint Mary’s University, especially the men that I will have the privilege to journey with, that their hearts may be open to the good news of the gospel, the freedom of a relationship with Christ, and the joy of sharing it to others!