Keep on Keepin' On
Over the last couple days, we’ve handed out hundreds of fliers, had hours of conversations about some of life's deepest questions, and encouraged believers all over the campus to keep on keepin’ on.
Tuesday was a total blur. From dawn to dusk our team engaged in conversation after conversation, doing our best to represent Jesus to a world in pain. I think that for a time spanning hours, I had only two minutes in between my conversations at the whiteboard. Exhausting, rewarding, and fun. I think the highlight of my evangelism time was sharing the way Christ empowers women with a feminist student and watching her perspective of Jesus change.
The real headline of the day was RAVI ZACHARIAS! The worldwide speaker took time out of his busy schedule to come and deliver an incredible talk with the brilliant Vince Vitale. If you haven't heard either of them speak, it's worth looking them up on YouTube. He even took time afterward to take a picture with me and Ryan individually! What a guy.
Wednesday was all over the board. Some of us (me) started the day feeling like every step was through molasses, and others (Serena Blair) felt more hyped than ever. One thing is for sure though: we've begun to really take territory back. Whether or not we see the tidal wave of change, whether or not it makes the newspaper anywhere, the change is real and it's started. For the first time in two different trips here, I feel like students know something is going on, and they're having really positive experiences. Even people who don't agree with us have taken time to look us in the eye and thank us for promoting such open and non-judgmental conversation.
As far as individual stories go, I know you all want to know the cool things happening! First, I caught one of the few Pokemon that I didn't have (Hitmonlee), so the trip is worth it to me already no matter what. For real though, cool things are going on.
The first actual story is about an ex-Catholic. He was drawn to the whiteboard being manned by our very own Stacie Anderson, posing the bold question "IS CHRISTIANITY RESTRICTIVE?" He snatched the marker from her hand and added an irritable strike to the "YES" category. Before he could storm off, Stacie managed to open up a conversation. As they spoke, he vented the years of frustration built up from being forced to attend a Christian school, and seeing the hypocritical life that Christians around him were leading. As he poured out the pain, Stacie listened. Then she apologized. Not for her actions, but for the poor actions of her family. Our family. Other believers who didn't or don't quite understand the character of Jesus and steamrolled people in their quest to save them. As she spoke affirmation and love over him, he visibly reacted. In her words at dinner, "his whole countenance changed." He transformed from being harder than concrete to "as soft as a pillow." She offered to pray for him and he accepted gladly. God set someone free today, and it was beautiful. Please pray for Zack!
Our second story still blows my mind. Stephanie was walking into C3 today when she felt drawn to a conversation between Ellis White and Jim, the campus chaplain responsible for ministering to the professors. She joined them in prayer and afterward learned from the chaplain that yesterday a professor's wife tried to take her own life. She put that information into the back of her head to pray as the day progressed. Four hours later I'm whiteboarding with a group at the busiest point on campus, asking, "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE" with several options for people to choose from. A well-built man in his fifties with graying hair came up and confidently selected "OTHER." I asked him for an explanation of what that "OTHER" is, and with a grin, he boomed, "To give glory to God, of course!" Agreeing, I struck up a conversation. Eventually Stephanie joined and I drifted back to the whiteboard, leaving them to carrying on. Ten minutes went by. Then twenty. Then thirty. Stephanie abruptly pulled me back into the conversation. That professor from earlier? It's him. He's one of the very few Christians on teaching staff, and now he's reeling from shock and looking for God, direction, peace, and faith. Four of us came together to pray for him and his family. It was one of the most powerful prayer experiences of my life. We asked for discernment, for deep, deep peace, and for the spiritual protection of his family. We encouraged him in his teaching, sharing of his faith, and hope for his family. As soon as the prayer ended, he looked at us and said, "I know exactly what I need to do. I feel at peace." He didn't share what that was, but I'm certain, and I mean certain, that God is working through his tragedy. Please pray for his children, his wife, and his own well-being. He needs it.
Other highlights: Michael Bouterse surprised us all by unpromptedly flyering in Chinese, Ellis White MCed the lunchtime talks wonderfully, Mike Tart provided a huge morale boost for the whole team through his incessant "team uncle" commentary, and Joe Barber manned the sound for our stage when no one else has the know-how. Go team!
- ENERGY. Still true. We are TIRED and the sun doesn't help! The Vitamin D has been well recieved, but standing in the heat all day really zaps your strength.
- Specific people: Carlos, Fifi, Angela, Bradly, and Susan.
- Support. The campus ministries have been occupied or uninterested, and to be honest, without the support of the Gig Harbor team, this week probably wouldn't be happening. FEARLESS Q needs to be something that the kids here want, that they organize, that they own. It's the only sustainable possibility.
As a last word, our team isn't just missionaries. We also brought along two "house grandmas," Sandy and Sheila. They cook our dinner, they clean the house, they do our laundry, and just generally love on us. It's nice to come home to a hug! Sandy is coming down with a cough from the plane, so please pray that she gets better quickly!
God is moving!
Eric Anderson for the ASU Go Team