Divine Appointments

“Wanna play Hillbilly-Horseshoes with us?”   One of my favorite parts about campus ministry is how a silly question like that can change lives.  As staff workers we hear many stories from our students about how a seemingly meaningless interaction with someone ended up leading to serious spiritual growth, but we don’t as often get to participate instories like that.

During the fall I (Eric) keep my Hillbilly Horseshoes set (popular yard-game also known as Ladderball) in my car in case I find the opportunity to play a few rounds with some students on campus.  One Thursday night in September after InterVarsity I got into a game with a few of my students.

A couple hours later and it was just myself and Cooper.  Being a four-person game, we had to find some folks to fill in.  After being rejected a couple of times I decided to ask the two ladies passing by a seemingly silly and meaningless question, “Hey, yall wanna play Hillbilly-Horseshoes with us?”  

Enter the Fill-Ins…Meet Jenna and Rachel, two freshmen students roaming about campus at 1 a.m. with nothing to do,enjoying the warm evening air.  “Sure, why not?,” they reply. Introductions are made and Cooper and I teach them how to play.  As we play one of them asks the expected question, “Who are you guys and why are you standing outside the library on a Thursday night at 1 a.m. playing this random game?”Cooper and I tell them that we’re part of InterVarsity and that we’re just hanging out having a good  time afterwards like we do many Thursday nights.  Rachel says to me, “Oh yeah, I thought I recognized you, you’re the guy who spoke tonight, I was there.”  I ask Jenna if she’s ever been to or even heard of InterVarsity.  “Yeah,” she says, “Rachel’s my suitemate and she has invited me to go a few times but I don’t know a whole lot about Jesus and the Bible and all that stuff, so I’ve never been.”At around 2 a.m. we start to pack up the game andCooper and I tell Jenna that she should take Rachel up on her invite, that InterVarsity is a cool and welcoming place and you don’t need to know anything about Jesus or the Bible to come.

Time goes on… A couple of weeks later at our annual cookout on the Great Lawn, two  familiar faces appear.  I tell Jenna that it’s good to see her again and ask if she would come the next two InterVarsity’s because I’ll be giving a couple of talks about the basic message of the Gospel.  She says she’ll try to make it.  She came to InterVarsity a few times and began to get to know some of the women in ourcommunity.  Some folks tell her she just has to go to “222,” Eastern Virginia’s annual Fall Conference that is November 21-23.

Our December update wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t fill you inon our Fall Conference.  One of the things we love most about our ministry is that every now and then we get to do stuff with InterVarsity students from other schools.  222 is such an occasion.  Beth and I got to help out with the Leadership track this year where students were given some ideas about what Spiritual Leadership is all about, and challenged to pursue with reckless abandon whatever call the Lord puts on their hearts.We work all year for these 4 hours… For 2 hours on Saturday night at the    conference (and another 2 hours on the last night of chapter camp at the end of the school year), we have what is known as Chapter Time.  After some intense time of meeting and hearing from people from other schools, our CNU students get the chance to break away and share with each other what the Lord has been doing in their lives over the course of the conference.For the first hour and 15 minutes or so students share how the Lord has met them, encouraged them, and taught them through the specific track they signed up for during the weekend.  We heard how students in the Gospel of Justice track were given some ideas about a Biblical view of justice and challenged to remember the poor.  We heard how students in the Leadership track were challenged to be humble in their leadership and  constantly recognize that it is about God and not them.  We heard how students in the other tracks were challenged in many different ways.

Doughnut Time…At CNU we have a tradition that at Chapter Time we celebrate (via Krispy Kreme doughnuts) folks
giving their lives to Christ and making serious recommitments to Him.  Working chronologically backwards (this   weekend,  past month, past semester, past year, etc…) we ask folks to come to the middle of the circle and grab a doughnut if they have given their lives to Christ or made a recommitment in that time frame so that the rest of us can clap and yell and celebrate with them.
The goal is that by the end of the night, everyone gets a doughnut (even folks that haven’t committed themselves to Christ yet) so that we can celebrate the goodness of the Lord.I expect too little of God… I had been praying for Jenna since the day I met her that she would see that Jesus is Lord and put her faith in Him.  I was praying that she would come to 222 with us and praying that she would give her life to him there.  When the call was given for folks who had made a commitment to Christ that weekend to grab a doughnut, Jenna did not go.  She did, however, go and get a doughnut with 3 other people when folks who had made a commitment to Christ in the past month were invited to get a doughnut.

God used that moment to teach me that he doesn’t need big multi-campus conferences, just a few people who are willing to invite folks to check Jesus out.  Its amazing to us how God can use something as silly as hillbilly horseshoes to grow his Kingdom and glorify Himself at CNU!

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