The SPO Missionaries are always filled with zeal and energy as they begin the school year, fresh from their 2-week missionary training at the School of the New Evangelization in St. Paul, Minnesota. However, this vigor can fade as the pressures of school, work and outreach events begin to weigh down upon them. In these times, it can be easy to stray from commitments like one-on-one outreach or regular prayer. In such times, the SPO community is there to call individuals to holiness and jump-start their energy and faith. One Student Missionary shares her experience of a time of lukewarm faith set on fire again through her community members.
As the last leaves fall to the ground, and colder weather sets in, I am reminded of this same time last year, when I didn’t quite realize the importance of the SPO community in my life. At this time last year, I had been involved with SPO for a couple years serving as a Student Missionary. I also had started spending a lot of time with people that didn’t hold my same values and beliefs. I frequently chose these individuals over SPO events, or spending time with my SPO friends. All the while I kept telling myself that I wasn’t being affected by these other friends’ lifestyles, and that I was still able to be an effective Student Missionary.
Over Christmas break last year, when I was removed from the situation, I realized that my life was being affected by those friends much more than I had thought. Because of these friendships, I had started to become lukewarm in my faith. I realized that I didn’t want to live as a semi-Christian, and needed the SPO community. It is in this beautiful community that I am challenged to live out my faith. Instead of leading me away from the Lord, the friendships I have in SPO are leading me to the Lord. In these friendships, we support each other as we all strive to reach heaven, and encourage each other to spread the Gospel.
Over the past year, I have realized that I want to be all-in for Christ. I don’t want to live life doing the least I can do to get to heaven. I want my entire life to be a testament of God’s mercy and love, and cause others to be drawn towards heaven. This is what we do in SPO. We build relationships that are centered on Christ: relationships that both help mature our own faith, and bring ourselves and others closer to God. I am immensely thankful that I have this beautiful community that truly challenges me to not just be a Christian, but to be a saint, all-in for Christ.
-submitted by Mary Therese Kebe, ODU Student Missionary