Fan into Flame: The Lord Built It

By Annie Michalica

Fan into Flame was epic. It wasn’t epic because all of the SPO Mission Leaders delivered dynamic talks. It  wasn’t epic because it happened in the midst of a snow storm that left New Jersey covered in feet of snow. It wasn’t epic because over 100 students showed up and 50 students committed to going only a week before the retreat. It was EPIC because the LORD worked and he worked powerfully. As Scripture tells us: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Unless the Lord built Fan into Flame, the talks would have fallen flat on deaf ears, the snow storm would have canceled the retreat, students would not have shown up, and nothing real would have happened.

As an SPO Mission Leader who did not have SPO in college, this was my first Fan into Flame retreat. If I was asked to describe Fan into Flame in one word, the word would be real. As a team, we put work into preparing the details  and writing talks, but then we took a step back and prayed – we gave the retreat to the Lord as we knew anything we tried to accomplish on our own would be in vain.

The Lord worked through real and honest prayer – Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, charismatic praise and worship, the gift of the Lord’s mercy in the Sacrament of Confession (8 hours of it!), and time to pray with each other for a deeper release of the Holy Spirits in our hearts. He worked in the Mission Leaders and student leaders who shared their stories and delivered talks. He worked through real open discussion in small groups about the new things the retreatants were learning and experiencing. He worked in leisurely recreation as the retreatants bonded in fellowship and played in the snow. Fan into Flame is about having a real encounter with the Lord in a real community and then learning what it means to carry that forward into everyday life.

Kaitlyn Quinn, a Freshman at Seton Hall shares her first Fan into Flame experience:

“Fan into Flame has both strengthened my faith in God as well as the Seton Hall community. In praying with my peers about issues that I too struggle with, I felt unified with them and experienced a deepened trust that God will help us through every adversity, especially since He has brought us all together.”

The community that the Lord built at Fan into Flame did not end January 24th – it has continued. Students are invested in this community and hungering for a committed relationship with Christ – a relationship they tasted at Fan into Flame. What a blessing we have been given through Fan into Flame – a community that is rooted not in a common interest but in a common identity, sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. But, is it any wonder that the Lord would build this for us?

The beauty of your majesty,
And displayed for all the world to see
Is it any wonder? Is it any wonder?
The glory of your holiness
The mercy of your faithfulness
Is it any wonder? Is it any wonder?

-Great are You Lord