Adopted Twice - Into a Home and Into a Heavenly Kingdom
RC at Crandall University in Moncton, New Brunswick, is our first Canadian chapter. Under the leadership of Chapter Director Cody Guitard it has hit the ground running. Even better, Guitard has already identified a student who has proven herself to have outstanding apologetics understanding and leadership – Melanie Blagdon – to whom he has presented RC's Legatus Christi certificate.
“We awarded the Legatus Christi Certificate to Melanie at our last club meeting of the school year. I have no hesitation in recognizing Melanie. She is a shining light for Christ both on and off the university campus and is the embodiment of humble, loving service to God and others. Not only does she work hard in school, but she works even harder in ministry. In fact, she has played a leading role in most of the ministry on the university campus, including the Ratio Christi chapter. She has brought many new students into the weekly RC apologetics club and does not hesitate to engage in one-on-one discussions about the Christian faith with her peers. She has certainly set a standard that I hope to see others follow.”
(See why RC gives the LC certificate and the qualifications here).
Melanie answered some interview questions for us about her life and what apologetics has done for her Christian faith.
Q: When did you find Christ as your Savior, and how did that come about?
A: I came to know Christ as my Savior when I was in eighth grade. I was adopted into a primarily non-Christian home as a baby and my parents were divorced when I was six or seven years old. However, my dad was saved during their marriage. He’s played a role in my testimony because he would make sure my brother and I would know why we were celebrating Christmas and Easter. He would also share the gospel on other occasions.
Dad gave my brother and me our first Bibles when I was around thirteen or fourteen and started bringing us to church. While I was there, the pastor preached on Mark 8:34-38. I was challenged with the reality that nothing in this world matters except whether I follow Christ and live for Him. The second time, he preached Luke 18:10-14, about the Pharisee and the tax collector. He talked about those who humble themselves to Christ, who repent of their sins, and those who turn from their sin to follow Christ will be saved. I also remember him preaching a message about the law in Leviticus – that nothing we can do will earn us favor with God because we need to be cleansed by Christ’s blood through His sacrifice.
During my brief time at this church I made a couple of friends and saw something different in them. It was the Holy Spirit working in their lives. They also shared the Gospel with me. I started to listen to radio programs that taught me about how Christians would be persecuted for their faith. Over time, through hearing all of these different messages, I was very convicted. One day I prayed for God to forgive me and save me from my sin. I wanted to follow Him and live my life for Christ alone. After I became a Christian a lot of things happened within my family, but God has been faithful to give me the strength to go through those things and He has used those times to teach me. He continues to teach me more about Him every day as I continue to grow in Christ.
Q: If you were in a high school church youth group, how much did you learn there about the Christian faith and reasons to believe?
A: Due to issues within the family, we were not able to go to church until I was in high school – and yes, I was involved in the high school church youth group. This was the time when I was discipled. My youth pastor would emphasize the importance of knowing what you believe and why. Since I have family members who are unsaved, knowing these reasons became super important to me because I was being looked down upon in my family. I wanted to know how to answer them if they were to ask me a question.
Q: What got you interested in apologetics, and then how did you get involved with RC?
A: I did not understand what “apologetics” was until I was in my first year of university. I had never heard the term until Cody Guitard and his friends at the time invited me to a Bible study about apologetics, which Cody was leading while he was a student at Crandall.
I became involved with RC when I found out that a club was starting at my school during my third year. This excited me because I wanted to be able to strengthen my own faith and learn more so I could answer the questions other people would ask me about Christianity.
Q: How would you describe the RC chapter at Crandall?
A: Crandall University is a Christian university so it seeks to embrace the Christian viewpoints. I am unsure of the exact number, but I believe there were approximately eight students who attended the club meetings regularly throughout the school year. We’ve had some people who do not attend Crandall but attend our meetings. There is a clear goal to engage secular thinkers. There are non-Christian students who attend regularly and they have been able to participate in discussion with their own viewpoints. They have had some of their questions answered and they continue to ask more questions.
Q: What does it mean to you to be recognized with the Legatus Christi certificate?
A: Receiving the certificate is an honor. Legatus Christi is a reminder of the ways in which God has used RC to help me grow stronger in my own faith. It also challenges me to continue on in the study of apologetics and in sharing the gospel each day. It serves as a reminder of what God has called me to, which is to live out Matthew 28:18-20.
Q: In what ways has apologetics enriched your life, your own faith, and your witness to others?
A: The skills I have learned this past year and a half have been life changing. I am thankful to have had an RC chapter at my school so I could gain the knowledge and the skills to be able to live out 1 Peter 3:14-16. Before attending the RC apologetics club, I did not feel like I could accurately give a defense for the Christian faith to answer the questions and objections the people around me would have. However, after attending the club, my own faith has been greatly strengthened and reaffirmed.
Apologetics has given me more reasons to believe in Christ, His life, His death, His resurrection, and more reasons to believe the reliability of the Bible and of Christianity. It has enriched my witness to others by giving me more confidence in answering questions and equipped me to be more prepared to make disciples.
Q: How do you envision taking the apologetics you've learned into your future endeavors?
A: I will definitely carry apologetics into my future. In all honesty, I have no idea what the future holds. I am currently in the process of planning a wedding and after we are married, we’re moving to a new province. Once I get there, I do not know what’s next. However, I know that there will be people all around me who need the gospel. I hope to serve in my community and share the gospel wherever God takes me. My heart goes out especially to children and youth. I am eagerly praying that God would give me an opportunity to help strengthen them in their faith through apologetics as I move on.
I’ve graduated with a B.A. in Psychology (May 2018) and I will have a TESL certificate awarded to me in the Fall (TESL = teaching English as a second language). With this certificate I may teach English to immigrants until I go back to school for further education. Having no idea what God has planned for me yet, I hope and pray that I will be able to bloom where I am planted and share the gospel daily with the people I meet in my community.
Q: How could you imagine yourself coming back to work with your RC chapter or starting one at another school, or working with RC in any capacity?
A: I don’t believe I will be in Moncton to work with the RC chapter at Crandall University. However, I would love to help others with starting a chapter at another school in Ontario. I would also love to help with RC Canada in any way that I could be of assistance.
Q: Tell us anything else you’d like our readers to know:
A: Through what I have seen and lived through, there seems to be a lack of discipleship and occasions for people to learn why they believe in the Christian faith. It is so important for young Christians and their parents to learn apologetics because without understanding our own faith, we cannot share it with others or teach new disciples. There is such an urgency to share the gospel. Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Through RC, we are able to strengthen young Christians and their parents with a strong foundation so that they can be equipped to fulfill the command of Christ.
I would like to thank my fiancé, David O’Neail, for being one of my friends when I was in grade school. I am thankful that God used your upbringing to teach you apologetics at an early age so that you could share the gospel with me when I was younger. I would like to thank the teachers at Crandall who have challenged and strengthened me academically and spiritually. I would also like to thank Cody Guitard and Kathy Guitard for their influence, encouragement, witness and friendship.
To the readers and other RC leadership: Thank you for taking the time to read this interview. Thank you for your prayers and support in this ministry and for taking the step to open a chapter in Canada. I am excited to see what God will do with RC in Canada. Thank you for investing into the lives of young adults and young Christians. Your labor is not in vain and on behalf of the students at the RC chapter at Crandall University, thank you for all the ways you have helped us to grow.
Thank you, Melanie, for joining the ranks of our outstanding young Ambassadors for Christ – and Cody for stepping up to take directorship of this chapter! See a photo of the whole Crandall RC group below
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