Dylan Jedlovec's Faith Was Stagnant Until He Gave Evangelism A Shot and Discovered a Great Adventure
God has been doing great things in my life over the past year at Samford. As I began my junior year last August, my faith was very important to me, as it had been since high school, but there was something missing. I spent my first two years of college asking a lot of questions about the faith. At the beginning of my junior year, I was no longer plagued by as many questions, but my faith had become somewhat stagnant. I loved being Catholic, I found beauty and comfort in the Sacraments, and I loved reading about Catholic theology. I was attending Mass on Sundays and sometimes during the week, but I lacked the confidence and enthusiasm for the faith that I once had when I was in high school. The challenges and questions that I faced during my first two years of college left me not without a faith, but with a weaker faith.
During this past year, my faith has grown tremendously. This year for the first time, two FOCUS missionaries came to serve St. Stephen’s. One of them, David, quickly befriended me, and we developed a Christ-centered relationship. He kept me accountable. More than that, he challenged me. He introduced me to The Great Commission in Matthew’s gospel and challenged me to evangelize as Christ called the twelve apostles to evangelize. Up until this point in college, my faith was something I had kept to myself most of the time. It was important to me, but I wasn’t exactly eager to share it with others. As soon as I embraced the Great Commission, I realized what had been lacking from my faith the whole time. It had been all about me. I was so absorbed in my fears and anxieties that I forgot that the Christian life is about loving others as Christ loved. It is in the abandonment of self and love of neighbor that we find true freedom and true peace.
One of the ways in which David challenged me was by asking me to consider leading a Bible study. I was at first hesitant, but after praying about it, I decided I would give it a shot. I have now been leading a men’s Bible study for several months, and I have loved every minute of it. At first, I thought no one would show up, but I had five people the first week and about as many each week since. I now have five guys coming to my Bible Study consistently, and several others who come every now and then. It has been a tremendous blessing to help these men grow closer to Christ throughout the past year. If David hadn’t challenged me to start a Bible Study, I almost certainly wouldn’t have done it on my own. I don’t know where I would be on my faith journey, and I don’t know where some of the guys I’ve been able to impact would be.
Through FOCUS as well as through involvement at St. Stephen and Samford CSA, my prayer life has developed tremendously. Praying with and for my peers has become a very fruitful experience. Receiving communion with my friends and mentors has been an indispensable part of my life in college. In the past year, I have grown so much closer with my Catholic brothers and sisters at both Samford and UAB. I am so grateful for FOCUS and how it has transformed the Birmingham college community over the past year.
The last year has been an incredible journey. I am grateful for the adventure the Lord has taken me on, and grateful for those he has placed in my life to help me through it.