I was just talking with one of the students, Kelly, the other night and realized that she had written up her testimony for me at the end of the semester (probably the busiest time for her!) and I had yet to do something about it. Kelly Pechous, one of the wonderful student missionaries I was blessed to work with this past year at NDSU, continues to blow me away and it is such a joy to know her!
At the end of 11th grade, a good Catholic friend starting wearing off on me and I began attending mass with her family. When I came to NDSU, I was what people consider a “lukewarm” Catholic. I attended mass on Sunday, but only when I didn’t have a mountain of homework, and was roped into a Bible study that I attended under the same conditions. In the middle of my sophomore year, I met a girl named Britni in one of my classes who radiated with something I wanted but couldn’t put my finger on. Britni and I started to hang out outside of class and started discussing the role of Jesus in our lives. After spring break, Britni gave me my first ever one-on-one Gospel presentation and asked me into discipleship, but she stressed that it is truly discipleship with Jesus. I said yes.
|Kathryn and Kelly at the end of the year Banquet|
However, there was one caveat. I was recently accepted to the University of Minnesota – Duluth College of Pharmacy and had committed to going there – meaning I was leaving NDSU in five weeks. Britni knew this and said it was okay; I would change so much in five weeks. The last statement worried me: change?! I’m good as I am, thank you very much! I could not foresee myself changing all that much. How wrong I was. After our first discipleship I began to journal. After the second, I started to have a prayer life for the first time ever (Not counting those random moments that went like this “Ok God, if you love me then help me out on this test I’m taking in two minutes”). I could not believe people actually spend a whole hour praying every single day! Never would I have thought this would become me too. The following discipleships were just as wonderful and inspiring. I went to Adoration for my first time. I started attending daily mass (people do that too!) and loving it. I re-evaluated my life to figure out where I needed to put my time: with Jesus. I proceeded to make one of the toughest decisions in my life: I quit track. I realized that after spending 9 years on a track team, I had come to define myself by running alone, and this wasn’t right. I was nervous to tell my teammates and friends, but I knew I had to tell them the truth as to why I quit. I shouldn’t worry about what they think because only what Jesus thinks truly matters. Fortunately, they were receptive of my choice.
The changes in my life would not have happened without my favorite part of discipleship: having somebody to openly share a conversation with about my faith and how living out my faith is going. These are the conversations I look most forward to. I felt like Peter when he’s in the boat with Jesus on the water calling out to him. For the past four years I’ve been saying “Okay Jesus, I’ll come, but give me a few minutes—or years”, then I would dip my big toe in, or maybe my whole foot, testing the water, but always holding tightly to the boat in case I wanted to jump back in. Then Britni came along and held out her hand, in essence saying, Britni is the help I needed to get out of the boat. She is the blessing I needed to help me on my walk to Jesus. Without Britni, I would probably still be in the boat. Without Kelsey discipling Kristen, discipling Britni, discipling me, I might’ve stayed in the boat for who knows how much longer.
Another huge change that has occurred in the past five weeks is that I have become less shy of the fact that I will be asked to lead a Bible study and to disciple others. If somebody had told me this ten weeks ago, I would’ve laughed. Me, a Bible study leader? Ha! I don’t know anything! I haven’t even read the whole Bible! But through the FOCUS meetings I’ve attended, and talking with Kelsey and Britni, I’ve come to learn that it isn’t me who will do the teaching, it is Jesus. Jesus will only work through me. He doesn’t call the equipped He equips the called. With the weight of worrying lifted off my shoulders, I’ve began to see myself as a potential leader and disciple. Ultimately, I look forward to the opportunity to make disciples of all nations.