Venture Retreat Testimony - David Lake
I have been Catholic my entire life. I went to a Catholic private school up until my 8th grade year. I’ve always considered myself blessed for my early Catholic education as it became a great foundation for my faith to grow. I still have friends from my old school to this day.
However, when I left Catholic school to begin high school, I soon found that maintaining my faith life proved to be much harder. I slowly stopped going to youth group and became less involved with the happenings at my home parish all together. I still went to Mass every Sunday cause I ain’t no fool, but I often didn’t put much thought into the Mass. My prayer life consisted of me essentially asking for the same things every night right before I went to bed. There was, however, the occasional deep prayer when I was freaking out about something at school. Overall, my prayer practices were not ideal or genuine.
High school, as many of you know, is very structured. We are told where to go, what classes to take, and how to figure what we want to do after we graduate. Because of this, I was extremely unprepared for college. My summer before going to OSU was bizarre. I was faced with the choice to pick any class I wanted, and the lovely privilege to pay thousands of dollars for it. On top of all this, I had no idea what I was meant to do in life (and I still don’t). I would lay awake at night and panic about what God was calling me to do. Overall, I just felt completely lost.
When the Venture retreat rolled around, I was nervous that I’d pray and learn God wanted me to give up everything and live with the poor (no joke). I felt like I wasn’t ready for whatever His calling was for me. On top of that, I only had one friend I knew with me on the retreat. During the retreat we were told to really listen to what God is calling us to do. Throughout the weekend, I started to feel a relief lifted off my shoulders. The talks opened up many different ways for us to understand, and worship God. During meals, they encouraged us to sit with people we didn’t know, helping me make more friends. Also, I had a very good confession. I even cried which made me knew I was doing something right. After Venture, everyone who participated in the retreat helped with the Alpha course. Throughout the year we all grew fairly close with one another.
I had to ask myself what the huge difference was between my college experience and high school experience. The answer is a community in which our faith is shared. Through sharing this fundamental understanding of our Lord and Savior, it allows friendships to deepen tremendously. I’ve witnessed it first hand as the people I’ve only known for a year have become some of my closest friends. Not only has it deepened my friendships, it has also greatly increased my prayer life. Last year if I saw a student pray the rosary everyday I’d be like, “that fool crazy.” Now I’m that crazy fool. Much has changed and much continues to change.
This community has made me more courageous in my faith life. Now before I eat, instead of scoping out the room to see who is gonna judge me for using the sign of the cross, my sign of the cross is well thought out and not hidden from others, as many aspects of my prayer life have become. This program has definitely changed my life, and continues to everyday. If you’re a Catholic freshman going to OSU, my recommendation would be to give this weekend a try. Let Him work through you while you meet new people and take the next step in your faith.
Are you an incoming Catholic Freshman? Do you want to form deep and meaningful friendships in your first few weeks of college? Are you interested in integrating your faith into your college life? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Venture is for you! Click here for more information and to sign up.