Back in August we wrote about the vision that the students chose for this school year-showing the love of Christ through caring for the poor and socially outcast. In November, over 50 students gathered at a gazebo in downtown Newport News to meet and minister to the local homeless. The event was organized and run completely by the students, who went to multiple Walmarts the week beforehand and bought out their stock in sleeping bags. The sleeping bags, along with an array of hot food, were distributed at the gazebo as several students presented the message of the Gospel.
Senior David Comeau is at the heart of the mission. Several years ago, he began going downtown and making friends with the homeless who shared “the gazebo” as a common place. Slowly, a few other students began coming with him. “At first it was difficult,” the students explained. “Some of the men told us to leave. They said, ‘What trouble have you ever experienced in your privileged life?’ But when we kept coming back, they realized there was something compelling us. ‘Why are all you kids coming down here?’ they’d ask. And we’d get to share about Christ.”
In the last year some of the homeless men have even become attenders of IV large group, and some of the local churches. Every Thursday night David gives them a ride to CNU, and Eric and I have gotten to know them, too. It’s a humbling experience to welcome them into our community. If I’m on stage speaking, and I see Abraham in the audience, I’m reminded that the message I’m delivering better be centered on Christ, and not college students. The Gospel is for the world, not just the university.
This is the truth we saw our students living out last month. We’re continuing to pray that more opportunities arise for them to come out of their comfort zones and serve those who Christ calls us to love.