Ministry with CRU
Since November I have begun working with a second ministry, Campus für Christus (CRU). Many may be familiar with CRU from the States and that it is a student ministry with the vision to reach and invest in college students through evangelism and discipleship. I am so grateful for this outlet for my gift of evangelism.
The past few months have been fun, getting to engage with many different students via various outreaches (we invite students to do surveys relating to spiritual questions/matters). The desire is to encounter students who are hungry for God or hungry to know more about God and to follow-up with these students. However, these students are seemingly few and far between (which reveals to us that there is a greater and greater need for prayer and intercessors on their behalf!). I invest one day a week in doing outreaches with CRU, but I have yet to have a follow-up appointment with a student.
Though I have not had an opportunity to invest in students from outreaches, I have had the privilege to invest in students through a weekly event called "Open House" that a fellow CRU colleague, Ben, and I began in December. Open House was birthed when our CRU team realized that our team had Bible studies (regular investment in believers, mostly) and outreaches (engagement with non-believers and believers) but our team didn't offer any regular investment in students who are either non-believers and seeking or who are opposed to belief but open to spending time with Christians.
Last semester Open House took place on Tuesday evenings and was typically hosted at my apartment. Ben, the students, and I ate dinner together and spend time getting to know each other. Then, when it was time for tea and dessert, we transitioned from casual conversation into a discussion evening. Each week Ben and I would have a topic prepared that we would lead discussion in. For example, we once showed a short-film and asked questions relating to the film regarding freedom: What are things that enslave a person? What feelings arise when someone feels trapped? How did the character in the film obtain freedom? How does one obtain freedom in daily life? The discussion would relate to everyday topics or struggles and help us to open up about important, life-impacting subjects. It was an opportunity to learn from each other, to build community, and to share Christ through the gospel-worldview Ben and I shared.
Open House attracted primarily international students, one of which was Aya, who was a foreign-exchange student from Russia. Aya comes from a tribe in Russia that speaks Tuva, a language that is spoken by approximately 276,000 other people in the world. Of those 276,000, http://joshuaproject.net/languages/tyv). How amazing is it to see God drawing her to Himself!!! Aya and another friend of mine, Maria from Spain, came weekly to Open House. It was such a blessing to have this weekly community and investment in one another's lives!!!
Farewell to Aya
Since December, Ben and I knew that Aya's time in Germany was running short as she would be heading back to her country at the end of the semester February 12th. So at our last Open House (February 10th), Ben and I decided to host a surprise Goodbye Party for her.
The topic and theme for that night was love (because Valentine's Day was also just around the corner!), and so we had heart balloons and heart streamers and red candles filling up my room. As a goodbye gift, we bought Aya a "I
It was 7:30pm that evening. Open House starts at 7pm but Aya had a long way to travel and often came late as a result. However, I decided to check Facebook to make sure she would still be coming. As I open my inbox, I was shocked---Aya had written me saying she couldn't come; her roommates were throwing a Goodbye Party for her at her dorm. Oh no!!! She was leaving in two days and we all really wanted to see her before she left.
I shared this with Maria and Ben. Almost immediately we all looked at each other and said, "Looks like we're traveling to Potsdam!" (the city just outside of Berlin where Aya lived). So we all ate dinner with great excitement for this opportunity to give her a surprise visit!!!
It was about 8:30pm when we left my apartment. And after a missed bus and a bit of a turn-around, it was about 10:15pm when we arrived at Aya's dorm! She was so happy to see us and we got to meet her roommates (one roommate we had already met before). We gave her the gift, our hugs and love, and gave chocolates to her roommates sharing "God loves you!"
Sadly, we could only stay for 10 minutes because we didn't want to miss our next bus to get back to Berlin! But Aya and her roommates were touched and thankful that we came all the way out to just show them how special and loved they are.
On the way to Aya's and back, Ben, Maria, and I were just so delighted about this opportunity to mix-up Open House by not only talking about love, but also demonstrating love. Christ came down from his comfort and home in heaven and humbled himself, enduring great suffering, to bring the greatest gift mankind could ever receive---the Father; reconciliation with the Father through his blood. What a blessing it was to reflect to Aya and her roommates Christ's love that pursues.