Dustin Greenwald

Calgary, Canada

A university conversion

My faith story begins as a child being tucked in at night and taught to memorize my prayers before I went to sleep. I felt God was close to me. I was a child and I was innocent.

As I grew older I started finding out in a hurry that I wasn’t perfect. I wasn’t the best athlete, the best student or well behaved. I couldn’t be perfect and didn’t want to try because it seemed impossible. As temptations in life came, I resisted somewhat, but then eventually I embraced my sins.

I followed my own desires in university. I believed sports, girls, partying, and entertainment would make me happy, and they did make me happy for a while. But there was no joy.

At 21 years old I found myself lonely, empty and confused after breaking up with my girlfriend. I felt almost dead. I had love and lost it. Who cared for love again if it could be lost? I just longed for the joy of my childhood again. I was tired of running from God so I asked God to help me.

I started reading the bible. I started focusing on Jesus, the person, the warrior, the defender, the lover, the leader, the miracle worker and the supposed God man that He was. I started to love Jesus because He came for me, the sinner. I started to realize I didn't know God because I overlooked Jesus. 

One day I went to confession because I knew I should. I worked up the courage to confess all the sins that made me guilty. It was difficult and scary but as I confessed I felt the love of Jesus in His priest. I knew I was truly forgiven and I went into the church pews after and cried like a baby. I cried tears of joy in that church like never before. My life was changed forever.

Ever since this encounter, I have never doubted that God is with me. I’ve felt like He isn’t with me, but in my mind and heart I know He is with me. I wanted nothing more than for people to encounter Jesus like I did. I now have direction and a mission in my life. God has given me everything I need and more. I felt Jesus calling me to be a missionary a year after this confession because I wanted people to know Jesus like I did.

Today when I feel far from God my faith convicts me that just because I cannot feel Him doesn’t mean He isn’t watching out for me and going ahead of me, preparing the way for wherever I go and whatever I do. God is real and is always saying "I know you, I love you, I’ve always been with you and I will never leave you."

So my life today isn’t confusion free, doubt free or perfect. But I know that God is perfect and I am cared for and He is proud of me. I will know that I am loved when I choose to stay close to Jesus in prayer, sacraments and the mission He calls me to live out for others.

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