Conversion: God's Grace & the Support of Brothers

This is the story of one young man’s faith journey.  Imagine the work that the Lord has been about across Arizona State University (ASU) if this is only one man’s story!  While Herman’s journey has been recorded, many others give testimony to God in their hearts.  God has been about a work of renewal in His children’s’ lives here at ASU!  We are praising God for how he has loved, healed, renewed, and strengthened His people this year, and we are confident that He will bring to completion the good work He has begun.  

spo bros and i during spring break 2018.  Two words to describe our spring break: conversion and brotherhood

spo bros and i during spring break 2018.  Two words to describe our spring break: conversion and brotherhood

"God’s grace is real! I want to share my story with you, and where I would like to start is by sharing about myself.  First, my name is Herman Flores, I have 7 siblings and I am a current business student at ASU.  When I was younger, I grew up with 3 older siblings and my parents.  At some point within my childhood, my parents divorced, and I can honestly say that after that, we were a broken family.
At the time of the divorce, I did not understand what was going on, but fast forward to my freshman year of high school, and these early childhood events really started to affect me.  It was during my freshman year that my dad passed away from liver complications aggravated by his alcoholism.  During this time, I was often confused, angry and impatient. Life had hit me hard. I had to mature quickly, and through the grace of God, I was able to preserve through this trial.  Although I did not fully understand what God was doing during that part of my life, I have realized since that it was during that time that the Lord was molding me into a man and showing me that He will never leave my side.
Michael and I after easter vigil.  Michael was on the rcia team at the newman center and was a great resource for me throughout the year. 

Michael and I after easter vigil.  Michael was on the rcia team at the newman center and was a great resource for me throughout the year. 

As high school continued, God continued molding me.  It was during my junior year of high school that I began my journey to Catholicism.  In high school, I had many Catholic friends.  Because of God’s grace, and having grown up Protestant, I was curious as to how our faiths were different from each other. Consequently, I began asking many questions and reading about Catholicism in order to learn more.  As I did this, my misconceptions began to dissolve, and a genuine faith began to grow. In the fall of 2017, my first semester of college, I enrolled into the RCIA classes at ASU's Newman Center.   Like many others coming into the Catholic Church, I battled through my first semester with doubt and confusion.  For me, it was fear that caused my doubt and confusion; since my family is Protestant, I feared their judgment and disapproval.  As I engaged this battle, it was the men of Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO) who helped me through. The brotherhood and welcome that I received from these men was tremendous.  I noticed and admire their lifestyle of accepting sacrifice, in order to further their relationship with God. The men living in the SPO Households really made me feel like I was part of the ‘team’ even as I was in this challenging point in my faith journey. They did this by simply welcoming me into their lives: I was going to morning prayer, to household dinners, and even sleeping there at times. I knew that I could always count on these men; this brotherhood called me on, it strengthened me as I engaged my doubts, fears, and my desire to be Catholic.  
Mr. Rich and i after the easter vigil.  Mr. Rich mentored me in my conversion to the catholic faith. he was my confirmation sponsor as i entered the church.  

Mr. Rich and i after the easter vigil.  Mr. Rich mentored me in my conversion to the catholic faith. he was my confirmation sponsor as i entered the church.  

 
This past Easter, I came into the Church!  It was an awesome experience; it would be challenging to describe how it all felt.  All I can say is, “finally!” I worked hard and had to be patient, but the day of confirmation was a relief. I was finally able to rest in the Lord’s plan and be in communion with him.  I could not be more appreciative of the time that I invested into becoming Catholic and the time that the men of SPO have invested in me.  I am Catholic now!  And I am blessed to have had so much support and encouragement along my journey.  Thank you for reading my story."
- Herman