Over the past two weeks, SPO has been preparing students for battle. Our college campuses need people who are filled with the fire of faith and conviction: missionaries to proclaim the Good News to the broken and lost. SNE trains these missionaries. This summer, more than 400 students stepped up to the plate, traveling to Minnesota and Ohio to attend a week-long training conference called the School of the New Evangelization. They are SPO's 2017-2018 Missionary Corps.
With growing attendance, SNE was strategically split into two locations over two different weeks.
SNE Minnesota began first, ramping up on Saturday, August 5, and winding down on the 12th at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
SNE Ohio followed immediately thereafter, beginning Saturday, August 12 and preparing to wrap up on the 19th at Damascus Catholic Mission Campus in Centerburg, Ohio.
Why two locations in two different weeks?
- The student-to-staff ratio is smaller. This allows for personal/direct care and attention to be given to each student.
- Lodging can remain spacious and comfortable. With limited accommodations and growing numbers, it's important to provide comfort with a week-long conference.
- Travel costs were minimized. Participants were able to attend a SNE location closer to their college campus.
- More time before school. Students attending schools that start earlier in the year were able to attend the earlier SNE.
The Result: Two weeks filled with impactful training, powerful worship, and intentional living.
Saturday: Arrival day. Students settle in, receive orientation, and try to remember the names of the other 200 participants they just met.
Sunday: Retreat day. The days to come are going to be filled with teaching on how to be on mission, but we cannot begin to serve others if we ourselves aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit.
Monday – Wednesday: Session days. The mornings are filled with prayer, adoration, confession, and a plenary session attended by all participants. The afternoons are split into breakout sessions, one for returning SNE attendees and one for first-timers.
Thursday: The big day. This is probably the most anxious day of the week. Here, SNE returners have the option to take everything they just learned about mission and evangelization and put into practice. At 2:30 in the afternoon, students head off-site, two by two, to practice bringing the gospel to strangers they met on the street and pray with many of them on the spot. Students may head off with trepidation, but they return with brilliant and joyful spirits.
Friday: Closing day. Students and staff are all pleasantly tired from the week of intense training, but are also reticent to say goodbye to the many new friendships created. The night is closed with a banquet, talent show, and warm embraces.
Saturday: Departure day. Participants pack, clean, and wave goodbye. Upon settling into their homes for this school year, they discover 100 friend requests await on Facebook and Instagram.
Pictures from SNE Minnesota
Pictures from SNE Ohio (photo credit: Rebecca Loomis Media)
Here We Go!
Over the past two weeks, more than 400 students from 33 college campuses have received comprehensive training on the art of peer evangelization. These Student Missionaries are now prepared and invigorated to fight the spiritual battles that are ranging on our universities. Please pray for our students and SPO Mission Leaders as they bring the gospel to the lives of thousands of students across the nation!