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Saskatchewan -

Changed My Focus

I grew up Catholic in a catholic home. Things started to change when I was in grade 12 when I became one of the guys. We all would live a life style that praised men for being strong, good with woman and nice but very stuck up. Being a teenager is tough. I noticed that it’s terrible to be seen as different from everyone else. Being unique and religious would not help you out socially. Although you could have found me at church on Sunday, my faith had become a cultural event I went to with my parents and not part of my faith in God. When I was nine and my Grandfather died I would often lay awake at night struggling with death and often thought that there must be something more. I’ve been playing hockey since I was 5 and just this year decided to hang up my skates, and my dreams of getting to the NHL. In the summer of 2009 after my graduation, some friends from high school, that I hadn’t spoken to for a while asked me to come out to a Cornerstone event. (Impact Saskatoon- Impact is a Summer Mission that aims at renewing the catholic faith in specific cities in Canada.) It was the last one of the summer and I thought it would be cool to see them again because they were really good upbeat and positive people. At the Cornerstone I felt welcomed and found it easy to talk to some of the people I met. That summer I was working out to get stronger to be in better shape for hockey tryouts. When I didn’t make the team I had planned on making I was angry. I become very negative, and I really didn’t even want to go to school. The classes I wanted were full and I was very indecisive, I didn’t know what to do with my life, I hated school and I hated the coaches that told me I was cut. So I decided to work for that year. I made a lot of money but I wasted it mostly on temporal things like food and drinks. Over that year I had time to reflect on how empty I was, no ambitions, no love and no drive. I just didn’t care. Some of my friends lived in Regina, so over the Christmas break I was planning on going to visit them. But my mom had told me that I was going to RiseUp in Winnipeg with my brother Stephane and some friends. RiseUp is a National Christian Conference that takes place once a year over new years. I was unsure about going to the conference and I was annoyed that my mom signed me up. But, I thought hey it’s a trip to Winnipeg, I’m of age there and I am good at meeting new people. When I got to RiseUp I felt awkward kind of like the new kid in school. After I found one of my buddies, the conference wasn’t so bad. At the conference there was a night of Eucharistic adoration. During adoration Father Marc Goring invited people to offer their live to God for the first time, I didn’t feel ready, but as I sat in that pew I felt God speaking to me; calling me closer to him. It was something undeniable. That night I didn’t decide to give my life to God but I did decide to believe in Him and belief was something that I was struggling with. That was the first step. After that moment I felt more open then I have ever felt before. I took what was being said as truth rather than just hearing words that some old guy was saying. After RiseUp I fell back into the same routine with work and it was as if I ignored what had happened. I wanted to change, if I were to look into the future I wanted to see a better person. So that August I decided to take a class in sociology. I also started reading and looking for answers to help myself. I played hockey that fall and made the team after the first try-out. I decided to go to RiseUp Montréal because I experienced growth and met some great friends in Winnipeg. In Montréal, Impact was promoted and I decided to think about it, but didn’t really want to go. After several conversations with some people I became more open to the idea and on the plan ride home, I chose to go. After the first couple weeks of IMPACT in Ottawa I was already burnt out. I was over analyzing things, trying to do everything by myself and barely sleeping. I had a talk with a staff member and he explained to me what it truly was like to be in a Christ centered relationship. I knew I had to make the choice, so I chose to have Christ at the center of my life. What happened after that is best described as when you are at school and you are not focusing and you are not learning anything, compared to actually focusing, fully immersing yourself and learning what you are doing. That is what I did, I put Christ at the center and changed my focus to learn, laugh and cry on Mission. On Impact I grew so much and found so much joy in everything I did: a phone call, at work or with my roommates all of it. Now after mission I have a need to tell people about it. I want them to experience awesome and amazing things through God’s grace. I get excited and I love share about Gods love and grace! So I decided to participate in another CCO Mission project that is happening this summer and this time it is in Uganda. I am excited to see people’s conversions and to share and talk about the joy and happiness that I have.


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