Ask A Busy Person

 

When you want to get something done, ask the busiest person you know. That is just what All Saints campus ministry did. We asked Akelah, an international student from the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean not far from Miami, if she would be the president of All Saints Fellowship. Akelah is a very busy student, yet she immediately accepted the job.

It was the director of SRU’s International Program who introduced Akelah to All Saints. The director realized that Akelah could use a friend to help her adjust to university life, and she knew that All Saints would be glad to help.

Akelah had come to SRU to major in Special Education. She is passionate about teaching so that she can help children. She worked hard to have enough money to pay for her studies. She and her husband and two preschool children were ready for the challenge of going to college. Unfortunately, in spite of having accumulated enough tuition money, her financial situation changed drastically. Due to no fault of her own, she lost most of the money she had accumulated for tuition.

But this setback did not stop her. Incredibly, people from the university and community became aware of her situation and poured out their help. Akelah could hardly believe their generosity. In spite of all the help being showered on the family, Akelah was greatly stressed by the experience. Knowing this, the director introduced her to All Saints Campus Ministry for our care.

Akelah quickly bonded with All Saints. She feels like this place is her home. She comes in often to ask for advice, to get rides to the stores, to obtain help in getting her driver’s license, and to share her enthusiasm for bringing students to All Saints. She wants them to come for friendship and a chance to learn about the Christian faith.

Life was so busy for Akelah that it took a long time for it to occur to me to consider asking her to be president of ASF. It seemed so unlikely. Who would think that a student who took care of her husband and two young children in addition to her hectic school schedule could do it? Then she invited family members, who were devastated by a monster hurricane in the Virgin Islands last year, to come and live with her temporarily. Ask a busy person. We did. She said, “Yes.”

Now that Akelah is the student leader, she is putting her ideas into practice. She came to help us with receiving students at All Saints during the campus-wide scavenger hunt sponsored by SRU. She greeted the “hunters” with real enthusiasm. She made a difference at the Labor Day Korean meal, where she handed out frisbees and tote bags and made sure the American and international students felt welcome. She is a natural at making new students feel welcome.

Her plans are to put signs all around the SRU quad. She believes signs will be effective because students walk on the quad every day, so they’ll see All Saints’ invitation to meals, worship and special events like concerts. She will continue the Facebook outreach but will add the signs as well as "chalking" the sidewalks on campus with messages for students.

Akelah’s enthusiasm is infectious. She wants the students to enjoy all Saints’ kindness. She especially wants students to get to know our campus pastor, Reverend Larry K. Loree, Jr. whom she has gotten to know. She believes he is very special because he is so real, accessible, and caring.

Having the leadership of this busy student is such a blessing because we need student leadership. It is so important to reach students with the Gospel through students because students listen to students. If All Saints does not do this, who will? With Akelah’s gift of loving everyone, we will do this all semester. Please pray for Akelah and for All Saints.

Augusta R. Mennell

Campus Ministry Director

All Saints Lutheran Church and Student Center

Slippery Rock PA 16057