I breathe a sigh of relief as I walk out of my internship class. I’ve just spent another hour discussing the principles of youthwork in a decidedly secular environment. Though it’s hard not to be afraid to bring my Christian views into the classroom, God always provides the courage I need. The Holy Spirit constantly opens doors for me to speak boldly about my Catholic faith and how it relates to working with the youth at my internship, and this class is no exception. A few months ago, in a discussion of sexuality, I was able to explain the Christian view of marriage and family life - not something that many of my peers seem to understand! Today, a classmate asked how my faith relates to my future career and it turned out to be a perfect opportunity to explain how I try to be Christ to the children in my internship.
Standing outside the classroom door, I say a quick prayer of thanksgiving as I wait for my lunch date, a friend from high school.
“Hey!” I say, looking up with a smile. “How was your weekend?”
“Ugh. It was all right… full of drama, as always.” Sighing and rolling her eyes, she walks alongside me as we head to the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Student Center.
And so begins another of the many conversations I’ve had this semester with Katie, a good friend from high school who ended up at the U with me. I love catching up with her, and it’s been a great opportunity for me to share how my faith has changed since coming to college and experiencing a deeper conversion through my time with SPO. These conversations have also given me a chance to encourage Katie to put the Lord first in her life, especially when it comes to her relationship with her boyfriend.
As a Student Missionary, encounters in the classroom and conversations like this one with Katie are now part of my daily routine – but that wasn’t always the case. Serving as a Student Missionary for SPO has challenged and inspired me to give myself unreservedly for the sake of others and to love boldly. Each day, God blesses me with His courage and the strength to be confident in living out and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus. Living with such purpose has freed me from my fear of rejection and persecution, as well as my enslaving self-consciousness.
My year as a Student Missionary has solidified my identity as an instrument of Christ and has equipped me with the practical tools to live for him in my daily life. SPO has showed me that living purely for Christ demands a whole gift of self, poured out in service and love for others – others like my friend Katie, the women in my Household, and the students at my internship.
I now know that true discipleship is a radical and reckless abandoning of one’s life to the Lord.
Anna Bode wrote this as a senior studying youthwork at the University of Minnesota.