Dana and I were enthralled as the young staff woman related this recent story. Last fall upon returning home for Thanksgiving her extended family gathered together for the traditional meal and celebration. When it came time to eat, someone suggested that she pray for the meal, and uncommon activity for this family. She gladly agreed and shared a simple, yet heart-felt prayer of thanksgiving.
When she finished praying there was a hushed silence in the room. They had never heard someone pray like that before. They innocently asked if she just “made that up” or was it something she’d memorized from another source? When she assured them that this was a spontaneous prayer from her heart, they were amazed.
Christmas followed a few weeks later with another large, family gathering and another family meal ensued. Again being the “one with religion”, the young woman was asked to say a prayer of blessing before they ate. She again prayed a simple prayer of gratefulness for her family and the meal. When she finished there was again a period of silence from family and then they all broke into spontaneous applause! Afterwards separate individuals asked how she’d learned to pray in such a way “it seemed as if she were really talking with God”. She was able to share with them her own experience in knowing Christ.
We are seeing many young staff join us from families where Christ is not known. Most of them have become believers in college and then come with us after graduation. We continue to train them to be effective campus ministers their first few years on the staff as they begin to reach and discipline college students on campuses across the country. In addition to having an impact on their respective campuses, these same staff are also having much positive influence in their families, many of whom do not have a Christian background.
We end this school year with staff teams on 63 campuses and another 115 campus ministries led by volunteers. Our collegiate staff family now totals 460+, the largest division in the U.S. Navy, the following campuses: Oregon State Univ., U.C.L.A., Univ. of New Mexico, Univ. of Wyoming, Univ. Of Minnesota – Duluth, Kent State Univ., Williams College (Massachusetts), and LSU –Baton Rouge.
We are grateful for the privilege of leading this growing work as we see many students coming to Christ and disciples being raised up and sent out all over the U.S. and the world. Thanks so much for your prayer and financial support that enables us to have a small part in what the Lord is doing on the college campuses of America.