Sunday, January 27, 2013

Snapshot: Life in Campus Ministry

Campus ministry is a huge part of me and my husband's life.  Not everyone understands what my husband Chris does for a living, so I thought I'd share some of the incredible joys that come from working with college students.  Within the first three weeks of this Spring semester,  we've watched God move in their lives.  We've talked to students who are breaking addictions, getting out of unhealthy relationships, pursuing God-honoring relationships, and learning the Bible for the first time.  Students who have had little-to-no church background are hungry for someone to teach them--in fact, one learned that Jesus was God's son only a few short months ago.

Perhaps the most exciting part of Chris' job is mobilizing students to be on mission, to have lives that are not only healthy, but beneficial to the world and community.  I could tell several stories to illustrate this, but I want to focus in on a girl named Bree.  Meet Bree and hear her testimony:

"I came into college with no real religious thoughts in my head at all, except that I didn't like Christians because I was sure they were all just hypocrites. I had met a girl at orientation, and although she liked a lot of the same things I did, I was rather disappointed to find out she was a Christian. Before we really started hanging out, I told her that it was fine that she was a Christian, but that I would appreciate her not trying to convert me. I went to the BCM Freshman Survival Night with her because, hey, free food right? I didn't like it at all because I didn't fit in, so when {my friend} asked if I would go to the first worship service of the semester, I was...not so excited. Now looking back on it, I can see God working on that night in August 2011..... I found myself surrounded by people my age that were raising their hands in praise to songs that I could relate to, people that were there by their own choice. Wow! Chris spoke from Ephesians, and it was then that I was aware for the first time that I was dead in trespasses, and that I was walking in sin. So I made the decision that I needed God; I needed Jesus in my life!"

Exciting, right?  But God was not done. Bree wasn't content to sit on her salvation.  We got to watch her get baptized into a local church, and lead others into practical, life-changing ministries.  Last semester, Bree led a team of students on what they called the "Set Her Free" project.  They adopted an IMB OneLife initiative to help women trapped in sex slavery.  The project raised awareness of human sex trafficing and raised money that provided food, clothing, shelther and job training needed to free a woman from a life of modern-day slavery.  Imagine walking across your public institution to scenes like this:

Their goal was to raise $500 to change one woman's life forever.  At the end of the day, students not only collected $1000, but they had dozens of spiritual conversations with fellow students and professors.  People that didn't even believe in Christianity stopped to contribute and commended the group on living out their faith. 
I know there is a lot going on in our world that is concerning, alarming, frightening, or maddening.  But what I see nearly every day in the lives of students gives me hope that God is not absent at all.  Students like Bree are boldly finding innovative ways to make a difference by sharing the love of Christ.  She's only been a believer for a year-and-a-half, but is already making plans for long-term mission work in Asia by majoring in international studies.  I'm so glad that God is at work among our future leaders! 

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