I grew up in Grand Island, Nebraska and am the second youngest of five kids. We had a close family and would pray together at meals, while traveling, etc. My parents were part of a very strong Catholic community and by the time I was in high school I began to regret how much stricter they seemed than some of my classmates’ parents. I rebelled.
Ours was a small Catholic high school and I felt the need to be accepted by the crowd. Some of my peers were as rebellious as I was. wouldn’t want to participate in dinner at home, would lie to my parents, and removed myself from their lives.
Then I “got caught with my hands in the cookie jar” – my parents found out about a party I threw when they weren’t home. As a result, I began to be more honest and relational with them, but still my faith was pretty casual. I knew the Truth from growing up in a Catholic home, so I was no longer doing “terrible” things, but neither was I actively pursuing my faith.
Three pivotal events happened in college that gradually turned my life around. Each was instrumental in my conversion process.
- When I was a freshman [at the College of St. Thomas] a classmate with whom I had been friends since high school died in a alcohol-related car accident. This started to direct me on the right path. I adopted a “self-help” philosophy: I learned to be good to myself and enjoy life more, but I still was not actively seeking God.
- When I was a sophomore I had the opportunity to go to the Lord’s Ranch with SPO. There I was challenged by seeing people really living their faith. I began to desire that in my own life.
- Then this past year, as a junior, I had the opportunity to attend SPO’s “Life in the Spirit" seminar. By this time I had a lot of eagerness to see what the Lord could do in my life. Up ‘til that weekend I don’t think I completely surrendered my life to the Lord, and I entered the weekend very expectant. It was there that I surrendered my life to the Lord and the Holy Spirit was released in my life in a powerful way.
Since then I notice that I am able to live a life dedicated to Christ more completely and am able to share my faith more with others. My parents, of course, are overjoyed at my participation in SPO and are very happy to see some fruit of maturity in my life. Because of my involvement in SPO, I am now more able to live a disciplined faith life.
Dan Stockman was involved in SPO at the University of Saint Thomas in 1990.