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I grew up in a Catholic family, went to church, attended Catholic school, but what transformed my heart was a mission trip in Haiti.  I found more love, compassion, and companionship amongst the poorest in the world than any other experience in my life.  In the first 24 hours in Haiti, I was stripped from everything that was familiar to me. I was scared, anxious, severely dehydrated, lonely and sad. I realized I had only two options, turn to God and turn to those who He had surrounding me. I realized then just how often we distract ourselves from God and each other in our daily comfortable lives.

I prayed to God to help me through this time, and what he showed me through the people of Haiti was quite unexpected.  While I was there, I asked the people in the community what prayers I could pray for them.  Their response was to pray that they can have a closer relationship with Jesus.  I could not believe it…. not food, clothing, better homes, access to cleaner water.  No, they wanted a stronger relationship with our Lord because that is where they found their hearts full of love and joy. Every day they showed their love for me and their love for their faith.

Fast forward to my life today, I am now in my late twenties and recently married. My husband and I have longed for a community of Catholics who like us, want to grow in our faith. On Fire has been that blessing and the steppingstone in my continued faith journey. On Fire gave me the opportunity to dive deeper with a group of my peers. This experience reached each of us where we were in our faith as well as our relationship with the Lord. We learned new ways to pray and to discern God’s mission. It has strengthened my relationship with God and with this new community I had longed for.

This past year I co-facilitated a young adult cohort of On Fire and it was amazing to see how this community continues to grow.  This community motivates me to “see” others in a new way.  We lean into adoration and the more we learn about our faith the more we fall in love with it.  I have learned to live my faith and share it with those I encounter in my daily life.  Someone recently said to me that they wished they could have their faith deepened and enlightened the way I did through On Fire.  My response was “Anyone can experience On Fire like I did, you just let God hear your heart and it’s amazing where this experience will take you.”