New Jersey Students Respond to God's Love at Fan into Flame

By Brian Delfs, Senior at Seton Hall

At Seton Hall University, midterms are well underway with the promise of spring break just around the corner. But this isn’t the first chance students will have gotten to get away from campus, from February 2nd to February 4th, SPO NJ hosted its annual Fan Into Flame retreat!

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This year’s Fan Into Flame was unique for a few reasons. First, and probably most importantly, the retreat was almost entirely student run! Our Emcees, senior Adam Wiernasz and junior Laura Guempel, were at the helm, supported by a leadership team comprised of over twenty students.

Laura shares her experience leading Fan into Flame:

This year’s Fan into Flame was much different for me because I had the honor of co-leading it this year! To be honest, I was pretty nervous about it at first. I wasn’t sure what it would be like to plan the whole retreat and then emcee from the front! What if I messed up? What if I got in the way of the what God wanted to do? But thankfully, God continues to use us wherever we are and He sees our willing hearts. The retreat this year was incredible. I was struck with how students can (and do) come in on Friday night; some having never prayed before. Then 24 hours later, they are praying over their other small group members to receive the Holy Spirit. That step can take some Christians years! Fan into Flame provides students with an indescribable opportunity to receive the gospel in such a powerful way and receive Jesus personally into their lives. All in just two days! I was honored to be a part of this retreat and I am continually encouraged and amazed that God uses us when we are willing, no matter how confident (or nervous) we may feel, to bring about His kingdom on earth: He is excited to release His spirit to His people, and we get to be a part of it!
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Each year at Fan Into Flame, students are invited to enter into an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The talks begin by introducing the retreatants to a very, very simple concept that is at the same time eternally complex and important. You ready? God loves you. As Junior Spencer Ochner put it in his Jesus is Lord talk, “Say it with me. God loves you.” With that in mind, students were led to experience how God’s love can be both experienced and also responded to. Students Elisa Maguigad, Gabe Natural, and Dan Folta offered students different perspective of the ways God can love us.

After proclaiming the Truth of God’s love, Fan into Flame provides students with an opportunity to respond to that love. Graduate student Miguel-Lorenzo (Meeko) Natural, introduced students to a new way to respond: glorifying God through expressive praise. The retreat was rounded out by Senior Dave Miller, who explained how we, as a community of students, live out the Gospel every day on Seton Hall’s campus through outreach events, Thursday night campus ministry events, and our Household program, to name a few. God’s work was clearly evident by the time we began to pack up: student testimonies ranged from thankfulness about being given the opportunity to learn about God all the way to expressing a desire to become Catholic!

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Ultimately, faith in God’s power was as abundant as ever on Fan Into Flame this year. Furthermore, the students of Seton Hall are equipped with a newly restored faith in God’s plan, power, and love, and that He is Lord of our lives. Just like senior Dan Folta said to end his talk about believing in God’s gifts: “…believing in God’s plan has always been part of the Christian story, just look to the greatest story of faith ever told: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”