Countless Hearts Changed

by Meg Miller

Coming into this year as a first year Missionary, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that I wanted to help people know Jesus and I knew that SPO was pretty dang good at that, but further than that I knew nothing. I also had the Lord speaking a word to me about the importance of relying on Him. I needed to stop looking at what I couldn’t do and instead focus on what He could do. I am sinful and weak, while He is omnipotent, all-knowing... the list goes on and on. It became very clear to me that I couldn’t do it and He surely could. 

Looking back it’s kind of hard for me to believe how much the Lord has worked this year, both in and through me. He has given me a confidence in Him that I did not know was possible and if I could leave this year knowing only one thing it is this: God is faithful. He keeps His promises and this has been proven to me time and time again.

Experiencing God's Faithfulness

God's faithfulness was first proven to me when my supervisor told me to put together an evangelistic small group of freshmen women. The task seemed rather daunting to me at first: I didn’t know how I was supposed to find freshmen who would freely and willingly join a small group - they probably didn't even knowing what a small group was. But I set to work. I asked the Lord to provide me with the women He wanted me to ask and make it very clear who these women were.

And He did, and somehow they all agreed. 

This was the first miracle I experienced this year. The Lord provided me with eight women who I have been able to walk with through their faith journey and witness as He has done amazing things in their lives. Some came into the group not being regular Mass-goers, some came in not believing in the true presence of the Eucharist, some came in skeptical of the Catholic Church, and I can confidently say that each one is leaving with a sense of the truth of our Faith and the reality that Jesus loves them, personally. 

Another way I experienced the Lord’s faithfulness this year is in how He brought about an incredible unity between SPO and the Newman Center here at the University of Minnesota. This is the first year that the two organizations have worked as one, striving to provide one door to the Catholic Church. The Newman Center provides Sacraments, while SPO Missionaries are able to seriously invest in students and build relationships with them, helping to mentor, guide, and form them. The two work very well together because neither can do what the other can. And since SPO is an organization that strives to bring Catholic faith alive on campus, it is much easier for us to do this with the help of the Church itself. 

We also saw the Lord work incredibly powerfully on our Fan Into Flame retreat this year. We had more than 180 students from the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota. It was a weekend full of worship, joy, prayer, talks, fellowship and much more.

Julianna Ryburn, a freshman from the U of M, had this to say about Fan Into Flame:

"During this retreat, I had the Holy Spirit work through me in incredible ways in which the spark was lit in my heart to feed my desire to seek the Lord for His love and mercy. Looking back a year ago, I see myself as a completely different person now because even though God has always been a part of my life, I am realizing how much I crave to strengthen my relationship with Him."

Since Fan Into Flame, many students who attended the retreat have started coming to our Formation program and diving into their relationship with the Lord in a much deeper way. We have also seen that our community as a whole has been growing in size and strength. We have gained a significant momentum after this great outpouring of the Holy Spirit on FIF.

As this year comes to a close, I am amazed at what I have seen the Lord do here in Minnesota. I have seen countless hearts changed. I have seen people give up a life of partying to follow Him. I have seen people running after Him, pursuing Him, wanting Him above all else. And I have seen that, above all else, He is faithful.