Campus Ministry: a Lifesaver

Campus Ministry: a Lifesaver

Campus ministry means even more to me because our oldest granddaughter went off to college this semester. Our prayers are that she will find a campus ministry at her university.

College students are basically the same as students were twenty-five years ago. Although they are much more tech-savvy, they are still often broken on the inside, no matter how well-adjusted they seem to be on the outside. The recent suicide of a Slippery Rock University student who was a popular leader on campus made this shockingly apparent. He allowed inner pain, which he had not shared with anyone, to overwhelm him. So he took his own life.

A bright young student popped into campus ministry on the first day of classes this semester. Thankfully, she had the courage to come and ask for help in dealing with some personal painful issues. College students need unconditional friendship and the clear Gospel. All Saints campus ministry has these for students.

The important thing is that through campus ministry many people are reaching out and providing care for students. Xueni (pronounced shoo NEE) is one example of how campus ministry makes the difference. Xueni is a Chinese college student who came to Slippery Rock eight years ago. She took a break from her college courses in China to work as a nanny for an American couple who have lovingly adopted several children from China. They invited Xueni to be a nanny so she could help care for their young family.

While Xueni lived with them she wanted to meet more Americans. Someone at Slippery Rock University suggested that she contact All Saints Campus Ministry, saying that they were very friendly and therefore would be happy to help. We invited Xueni to our annual Thanksgiving dinner in our home, and she came. Then she gladly accepted our invitation to study the Bible two or three times a week at All Saints.

What a remarkable student she was and is! She soaked up the Bible like a sponge! Studying the Bible quickly became the center of her life. She realized that her passion was sharing the Gospel. She wanted to be baptized, but something held her back: she wanted to be baptized with her father. The first thing she did when she went home to China was to be baptized with him.

One thing led to another. An international professor who came to campus ministry to improve his English and to learn a little of the Bible introduced Xueni to a couple who were getting ready to go to China as missionaries. They became close. This couple gave advice to Xueni about how she could serve God. They guided her while she was living in China, Angola, and Australia. Since they are back in Ohio now, they brought Xueni to visit All Saints this summer.

Xueni is now attending Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. She has an internship teaching Chinese to English speaking students, and she has a scholarship to study linguistics. She thanks the missionary couple for all their prayers.

Xueni explained that it was not easy to know where she should work or study. What made a difference was the help from campus ministry and help from friends who gave her advice and love. I will never forget her time in Bible class. The thing that stays in my mind is one statement it seems like she made repeatedly: “I have one more question!” She always wanted to learn more about God’s Word.

Not all students need as much as Xueni did, but almost all of them could use a place to be: a home away from home. Effective campus ministry makes a huge difference for impressionable and vulnerable young people. I hope it will in my granddaughter’s life, too. Each of our student Korean meals will be introduced with the words that whatever their burdens or challenges or fears are, All Saints campus ministry is here for them. We want to do all we can to help.

Augusta R. Mennell

Campus Ministry Director

All Saints Lutheran Church and Student Center

Slippery Rock, PA