By Jessica Yackley
Five keynote speakers at last month’s National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) consisted of young adults who shared how they are following in Christ’s footsteps. They talked about what the Holy Spirit has done for them, what they do to make Jesus a part of their lives, and how they share their faith.
Sami Freese talked about how she sponsors a little Filipino girl and how she is growing closer to God. Felix Montalvo is finding new ways to volunteer and be more involved in youth ministry at his church. Stephanie Mueller is a part of Letters of Compassion, a charity group that raises money to build schools in countries that need it. Phillip Ryan at a very young age had a brain tumor. With his deep love for Jesus, he miraculously survived. He continues to grow closer to the Holy Spirit. Finally, Chidera Ufondu discussed how she wanted to be popular in high school until one day she realized she was so lonely and depressed, she decided to change. Through youth ministry and prayer she found Christ again.
I was touched by these stories about people giving back to Jesus for what he has done for all. Many young people were touched by the stories because they could relate to them.
Teresa Diggs, from Davenport Central High School, commented on the speakers: “They are our age and it’s easier to connect with them.”
A student from Assumption High School, Katie Daniel, said, “Listening to them helped me realize that God can help you through anything if you have faith.”
James Yackley provided his perspective on this experience. He said, “I think Phillip Ryan is an inspiration because he never gave up and always believed and trusted in the Lord.”
(Jessica Yackley is a junior at Assumption High School in Davenport.)