Above – Nancy and some of her Northeastern friends at last year’s fall retreat
I (Malisa) sat across the table from a timid looking student. She was sharing with me the talk she was giving that night at Northeastern University’s weekly large group meeting. I am in awe of the work God has done in her life during the last nine months.
When “Nancy” (name changed) came to college, she had never experienced a truly Christian community. But that’s not true anymore. The students involved with Cru at Northeastern (they call it agape) enveloped Nancy.
Their community was a lot like the one we see in Acts 2:42-47:
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Nancy’s experience with Cru had been very positive, but when her family life began to unravel last spring, she experienced community at a whole new level.
During her teenage years, Nancy’s dad had been pretty absent due to divorce and his job. But what Nancy discovered is that he also had a drinking problem and was picked up last spring for a DUI. He was later sentenced to several years in prison.
At that point in his life, he was not walking with the Lord. He was divorced from Nancy’s mom.
While in prison, Nancy’s dad turned back to the Lord. Although it’s hard, Nancy is working to restore her relationship with her father. She knows that the community she has experienced as part of Cru is a key part of how she’s able to extend love and grace to her father.
In Cru, Nancy has found a group of people who love and care for her in the midst of hard family situations. She found a place where it was safe to share about the hard things going on in her life.
Nancy and I worked through her talk for the large group meeting (about 75 students). Nancy was going to be sharing about her family background at that weekly meeting. Nancy has experienced authentic community – a place where it’s safe to share. That’s also the sort of community she wants to create, so that’s why she’s sharing really hard things in front of a group of people.
Nancy may look timid, but the Gospel is at work in and through her. She is multiplying her life into the lives of peers and younger freshmen as well.
Brian and I are so thankful for you and for your prayers and support of our ministry to college students.
Would you pray:
- Would you pray for Nancy – that as she has experienced authentic transformational community, she would be able to help create it at Northeastern?
- Would you pray for Northeastern, as they bring 40 students to our Fall Retreat this weekend (we’ve got 320 students registered so far – an all time high). Pray that many students would start or restart following Jesus this weekend, and that many would form life-long friendships.
- Would you pray as we welcome Eliza Grace Ellis (born 10/2/13) into the world! We’ll send more of an update with more pictures soon.