I went with an evangelist to meet students on campus and offer prayers. We walked around the campus for about an hour and a half surveying students about their experience of living a life of faith while in college. Here are some stories of a few students we encountered during this time:

The first student we went up to was a man named Michael who was sitting and reading a book. We walked up and introduced ourselves to him. He shared with us that he grew up in a Baptist home and was pursuing a career as an engineer. He said that he thought it was fairly easy to live a life of faith so I asked him if he was a part of a community on campus. He admitted that he was not involved in any community on campus because he was so busy with school, and he actually didn’t practice his faith. He had fallen away from a practice of prayer, so I shared with him briefly the gospel message, that God cared and wanted to be a part of his life, but that a personal relationship with Jesus would need to involve sacrifice so that we could truly follow God’s way. We prayed with Michael for his upcoming exam, asking the Lord to enlighten him and bless his life in a powerful way to once again create a desire in his heart to follow the Lord. At the end, I gave him a miraculous medal and explained that it would be a reminder for him that God’s mercy was always free if he received it. 

Alongside the platform of trees I came across a woman who was sitting with her headphones on and with a planner in her hand. I saw her bottle and mentioned that I had just seen that flower only an hour ago to admire its beauty and that she had those same flowers painted on her bottle. She took off her headphones and thought that was really cool. I introduced myself and asked her about her day. Her name was Shirley and we shared with her that we were asking students on campus about a life of faith. She told me that it wasn’t hard to practice faith and she mentioned that she was catholic. I asked her if she heard about the campus ministry, and she mentioned going to a local parish with her family. I invited her to join the catholic ministry and we offered to pray with her. She accepted and shared that she was having a hard time with a friend. We prayed that the Holy Spirit would come heal her relationships and any wounds that she had in her life. She teared up and we exchanged contact info before leaving. 

Shortly after, we met another woman in a work uniform named Sally. She was on her break and we asked her about her own faith life on campus. She mentioned being catholic but that she was so busy with her school and work that she stopped going to mass. We invited her to the next mass and meal that sunday and then she hurried off to start her shift again. 

Walking around the corner, we ran into two men in conversation. I noticed a bible and asked him about it. The one man was a student who was talking with a pastor of a non-denominational church. They were discussing the bible and asked about our ministry. We shared about being evangelists on campus. The pastor asked us if we were a part of the Jesuits because he had heard that they were the arm of the Church. I explained to him about different religious orders and how the Jesuits shaped the the American continent through their courageous evangelization which created a majority catholic area in South America still to this day. I also explained to them that while Jesuits are known to travel and teach the faith, the Church urges all of us to respond to the mandate of Jesus and spread the gospel as missionary disciples. We thanked them for their time and left them to continue their bible study.

We decided to walk towards the center of campus and find someone who was sitting alone during the lunch hours. The last person we met was a man named Derek who was just about to put in headphones. We started having a conversation with him and found out that he was raised in a catholic home but not actively practicing his faith in college. We asked him why he stopped going to mass, and he admitted that he thought it was quite boring. I shared a bit of my testimony with him and offered to do a quick prayer before he went back to studying. He said he really didn’t have time because he had a hard exam coming up in an hour or two, so I told him “it would only take 15 seconds.” He agreed a bit reluctantly so we said a quick prayer over him inviting the Holy Spirit to give him grace and manifest himself to him through his exam and the coming days. He thanked us and we invited him to an event for the men’s community, then we went on our way. 

*All names recorded in Orlando stories have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals