Each year, two SPO Missionaries are awarded the honor of Missionary of the Year.These students exemplify life on mission through reaching out to their peers, committing themselves to a life of prayer and relationship with God and truly handing over their lives as servants of the Lord. This year, OSU seniors Andrew Zuk and Melissa Braunlin were awarded this honor and presented it by their peers, Mission Leaders Damian Santiago and Katherine Fisher. Below is a re-cap of the kind words Damian and Katherine had to share about why Andrew and Melissa earned this award.
Andrew has many gifts that he uses for God's glory. One of his gifts, that I think is so beneficial in the kind of work we do, is to make other people feel welcomed, especially new people. Many people who have been invited to come over to the St. Paul's Outreach Men's Household don't necessarily have a relationship with Jesus Christ and, after hearing about how we pray together and live life with each other, may be a little nervous about hanging out with guys living such a faith-based life. But, Andrew knows how to put them at ease. Over and over, I've seen him talking to guys and staying by their side the whole night. By the end of the night, these new people are laughing and having a good time - I think that is a real gift.
Besides his giftedness in making others feel welcome, Andrew is a film studies major and does a lot of video editing. Andrew uses this specific gift for God's glory. For example, a couple months ago I was cooking breakfast for the household at 5:30 in the morning to get ready for our 6:15 am breakfast, and Andrew walks in with a camera video taping me. I looked at him and said "Andrew what are you doing? It's 5:30 in the morning, man!" Andrew replied he was creating a video to show his classmates the kind of life we live on a regular basis to witness to them the brotherhood we have. And from what he has been sharing with me, this has been very effective! For these reasons and so many more, I am happy to present Andrew Zuk as SPO Missionary of the Year. -Presented by Damian Santiago, OSU Mission Leader
I feel really honored to present Melissa with the Student Missionary of the Year Award. I have known Melissa for over 15 years, but didn't really get to know her until the last few. God has blessed Melissa with so many gifts and I see her using them everyday. I think she really personifies service and mission in her work. Melissa is so talented in her gift of creativity. As a Student Missionary, she has used her special gifts in creating almost every pamphlet, flyer, invitation or t-shirt for an SPO events. Besides this, she is always running around photographing students interacting at our events...and while she's at it, she's building community with them!
God has also blessed Melissa with the gift of love. I have met so many women who have become involved with SPO because they met Melissa and she invited them. Melissa is able to make every woman she comes into contact with feel loved. Melissa is a beautiful daughter of God using the gifts He has given her to do His will. I feel blessed to know her and honored to award her as SPO Missionary of the Year! -presented by Katherine Fisher, OSU Mission Leader