Betty (NYU) — “When the speaker talked about multiplying discipleship it reminded me of my friend who’s not a believer. I want to take what I heard this weekend back to her. I haven’t known how to talk to her, but I took good notes and I’ll ask God for wisdom on how to share with her.
I’ve also been struggling academically. I’m still getting As, but I’ve been trying to impress my professor and totally failing. It’s kind of embarrassing. It’s made me bitter too. Coming here this weekend has reminded me that God is saying, ‘Don’t try to impress people or strive to be hard working. Just come to Me.’
Looking at my priorities this semester, it seems like I’ve only given God barely five minutes! Now I want God to be my main priority. I’ll still work hard, but do it for Him and trust Him for success.”
Jack (NYU) — “I recently became a Christian. The transition from China to America has been overwhelming, but it’s honestly so nice to be here today. I can wholeheartedly live devoted to God. I can sink myself into worship and the messages.
It’s been so nice to open myself up. At school, you want to avoid opening up about your values because you don’t want to sound judgmental, but here I can be known.”
Sarah (NYU) — “I’m from Singapore. I’m a sophomore. I’ve felt alone. I haven’t known a lot of people. I wasn’t going to come. But being here I’ve found so many people who are ready to talk to me!
I just recovered from having cancer. I feel like cancer was my fault, that I must’ve done something really bad to make God angry enough to give me it. But, listening to the talk during our women’s time healed some of my wounds. I’m so glad that I came!”
As you can see, we had a great weekend away! Pray for these students as they jump back into the fast-paced city life they know and love.
Ask God to help them walk closely with Him each day and to show them how they can share their faith with others.
And... let us know how we can be praying for you! We'd love to hear what's going on in your life lately.
“This past year has been a whirlwind. I’ve lived in London, Nashville, Mumbai, and New York. I’ve had moments of pure happiness and desperate heartbreak. Through the highs and lows I’m learning to trust God and grow in my faith.
If you had asked me a year ago what I wanted to do with my life I would’ve confidently told you that I planned to work in the NYC music industry. But honestly, I have been running away from God.
I grew up in the heart of the Bible belt. At home, at church, and at school I was taught the Christian faith. I never questioned it because nothing contradicted. I didn’t understand the significance of the gospel because I had no reason to doubt it. Then my summer capped off a year of challenges.
While sharing my faith on NYC campuses I was quickly frustrated. I met Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, and more! After one week I was spent. I didn’t know how to back up what I believed. I couldn’t answer when people asked, ‘Why do you believe Jesus is God?’ I didn’t know why I believed beyond the truth that Jesus loved me.
I immediately began questioning my beliefs. I felt like the father in Mark 9. He asks Jesus to heal his son and Jesus says, ‘All things are possible for one who believes.’ The father responds, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ THAT WAS ME! I wanted so desperately to fully believe. But had to say to God, ‘I need your help!’
God acted quickly clearing up my serious doubts within a few days! My questions drove me back to Him. Because of my time with Cru, I’m no longer someone who isn’t capable of explaining what they believe or why they believe it. I still don’t know all the answers to all the questions. Yet, today, I am purposefully joining in life with Him. God is the only thing I desire to chase.”
Flathead Lake can be simply stunning. It’s an ideal setting for students to get away from the stress of their academic schedules and hear from God. This is what our annual Fallapalooza offers. It challenges interested students to live out their school year with God at the center of their pursuits.
“What is a disciple of Jesus and will you become one?” Asked Pastor Marty. These were the questions posed to our group of thirty-five over the course of four talks. The answers were clear. A disciple is one who follows Jesus, is changed by Jesus, and goes on mission with Jesus. At the end of the retreat he displayed a gold track and field baton. “Who will carry this baton?” The question wasn’t rhetorical. He was waiting for someone to claim the baton.
As the silence drew out, a guy named Tyler finally stepped up and grasped the symbolic metal tube. The moment was personal. This whole weekend learning to follow Jesus was not just theoretical.
“The reason we are talking about Jesus today is because people like us have been following him for 2000 years. It’s a historic faith that people can’t stop talking about. You must be the ones who carry the baton for this generation” Marty declared! It was an empowering close to a crucial message.
If students don’t receive the baton, they can’t carry it. And, if they don’t carry the baton, they can’t pass it on. Would you take a moment and pray for these students? A handful who attended still identify as non-Christians and those who already follow Jesus are dealing with tremendous competition for their hearts and minds.
Aaron and Jack, second and third from the right, are co-leading one of the men's Lifegroups. Every group meets each morning for devotions and weekly for in-depth Bible study. Outside of that, Jack and Aaron are meeting one-on-one with the these four students for personal discipleship and evangelism.
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Braelynne is a spunky, sophomore Resident Assistant in Knowles Hall. Her fascination with Disney princesses, love for baking delicious cupcakes, and motherly care for her residents have earned her the affections of many freshman girls. I have the privilege of helping her follow Jesus through discipleship, meeting weekly to talk about what God is teaching her and to encourage her spiritual growth.
In her R.A. position, Braelynne has an unique opportunity to share Jesus with the women on her floor. She has been talking with one of her residents, Ellen, a freshman from Detroit. Ellen came to UM with every intention of living the “college life.” Last semester, Braelynne had a conversation with Ellen about where she stood spiritually. She identified herself as a non-Christian and believed there is not “one right way.”
This winter, Ellen’s demeanor changed. She seemed to be even more opposed to God and was indulging heavily in UM’s party scene. Just weeks into the semester she had a complete breakdown. After a three day binge of drinking and sex, she called Braelynne hysterically crying.
Braelynne knew our annual Women’s Getaway was coming up and took a step of faith to invite her. This past weekend, thirty of us travelled to Kalispell, MT to connect as women and talk about our relationships with God, other women, and men.
Ellen was amazingly receptive to the lessons. She and Braelynne spent the weekend processing all the things we talked about. Ellen left the retreat with many questions and spent hours talking with Braelynne afterward. Ellen shared, “I’m not a religious person, and the past few weeks have been really awful for me. Braelynne invited me to this retreat and I said I would come. I got to meet all these people who love God and are like me. I had fun, and I think I actually met with God.”
Braelynne boldly invited Ellen to experience authentic Christian community even when Ellen was opposed to spiritual things. Meeting women who love God and want to honor Him with their lives helped her become receptive to Jesus’ offer of a satisfying and everlasting life. Ellen feels like she had an encounter with the Lord and can now choose if she wants to entrust her life to Jesus.
For Braelynne’s influence with Ellen in the coming weeks. That their friendship would grow and Ellen would make the decision to trust her life to Jesus. Also pray for our other staff and two students who will be traveling to East Asia over Spring Break. That they will encourage our overseas partnership at their new campus.
We took 20 students to Flathead Lake last weekend to give them vision and strategy for bringing the Gospel back to campus for the spring semester. We spent time discussing our national mission statement, "Turning Lost students into Christ-Centered Laborers." We encouraged these student leaders to return to campus with a renewed passion for sharing the Gospel with their peers and discipling them to maturity.
Above is a picture of Hannah, a junior nursing student, and Braelynne, a sophomore Resident Assistant, returning home from the retreat. I work with both of them, and they are now starting to pursue deeper relationships with freshmen. These two girls are beginning to take younger students to share their faith and are beginning to lead Bible studies in Knowles Hall. They are joining the mission of connecting their fellow students to Jesus!
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