May 2007 - Vol. 8
Christ has changed my life!

an 18 year old missionary shares his experience of conversion and evangelism

by Michael D'Amato

My life has been changed!
I am an 18 year old missionary for Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO) in Minnesota and my life has definitely been changed by the Lord. Let me tell you a little bit about my background. I grew up in a family of eight siblings in New Jersey. I first came in contact with Saint Paul's Outreach on a service trip put on by the People of Hope Community in New Jersey. I was in St. Paul for about a week and briefly saw the great things which happened in Saint Paul's Outreach and how God was changing people's lives. 

Brief as the trip was I did know that I wished to return for a more extended period of time so I could more fully dive into the day to day life as a missionary trainee. I did return months later and stayed for about 5 weeks. It was during this time that I decided to commit to a GAP year in Saint Paul's Outreach, starting the following August, 2006. 

It has been this time of training in SPO that has changed my life. My faith has come alive and prayer life has grown, and my understanding of God's Word and what it means to be a disciple of Christ has increased. I have also learned how to witness God's love and bring the message of the gospel to others in our evangelistic outreach program at the University of Saint Thomas. I also have the opportunity to regularly share my faith with other young people by leading a youth group run by the Community of Christ the Redeemer in Saint Paul. My physical body was born in 1988 but my spiritual life and faith in Christ has come alive this year. My life as a disciple of Christ has truly started with SPO.

Conversion of a young man
One of the most amazing things I have seen in my work to this point is the conversion of a young man. I befriended him in September and could see he longed for a deeper relationship with the Lord. He had problems with alcohol and drugs, and he was not satisfied with his life. He knew he was missing something but he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was. He saw how people in SPO had something that he did not have—something that he longed for—a personal awareness of Christ's love and presence in his life, and the love and support of brothers and sisters who can share their faith with one another and with others, and the power of the Holy Spirit who can set us free from sinful patterns and addictions and change us to be more like Christ himself. 

I invited him to our annual Fan into Flame retreat. He came on the retreat but more importantly he came with an open heart. He had been struggling with issues about school and money. He tried to make all of these decisions on his own, without the help of anyone. On Saturday night we all got together into small groups to pray. I watched him give up his pains and overrated pleasures and put them at the feet of Jesus. He let the Holy Spirit into his life for the first time and the changes that followed were dramatic—new personal faith in Christ and understanding of Christ's love for him, new freedom to give his whole life to Christ and follow him, and to serve with others who were on fire for Christ. He put his complete trust in Jesus Christ that night. My friend is grateful for what the Lord has done for him and for his new brothers and sisters in Saint Paul's Outreach.
 

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