Go and Tell
By Augusta Mennell
Today’s guest blogger shares the great privilege of sharing Christ’s love as they “Go and Tell” through Campus Ministry.
Jesus’ command to His disciples to go to the whole world in order to tell the Gospel story to every creature is the heart of campus ministry at All Saints Lutheran Church and Student Center. Our goal is to go and tell the Good News to college students, especially those who have never heard that story. And we do! This is our great privilege.
Chris Young, a member of ASLC, invited two Nepalese students she works with at Slippery Rock University (SRU) to her home for Thanksgiving dinner. At first, she was hesitant to ask. She wondered if they would really like to come. When she did ask, one of the students burst into tears. She was just so grateful to be invited home for this family’s Thanksgiving dinner. As it turned out, three came to dinner – Puza, Bipuna and Benoda. As they left. they said this meal was their favorite memory of SRU.
Morgan Koziar, who is from Kentucky, is president of All Saints Fellowship (ASF). She is an outgoing student who is a natural at reaching out to international students. She goes the extra mile to share her life with them by helping them with English in an ESL class (English as a Second Language), by participating in the international students’ annual fashion show, and by encouraging them to come to All Saints for the monthly student meals. Morgan is excited about designing an ASF tee-shirt to give to students and wants to improve our outreach with movies and extra events. None of the international students can resist a friend who smiles so much and who knows them by name.
Steven Steingass, from Cleveland, OH, is another enthusiastic Christian student who is filled with ideas on how to share what All Saints has to offer to students. He envisions going on campus to offer free hot chocolate to students between classes. He wants to put up signs telling when All Saints has weekly worship and monthly meals. He is all for chalking (students are allowed to chalk messages on the campus sidewalks) and emailing this information. He would like to start a Lutheran bowling group and maybe show a movie or two at All Saints. All Saints Campus pastor, Rev. Larry K. Loree Jr., is working with Steve and Morgan to develop ways to share the Gospel by going and telling.
Student meals at which home-cooked foods are served give us the opportunity to be together with many students; but the meals are primarily an opportunity to talk to students. It seems unlikely, but the noisy meals are also a means to open the door for serious conversation. I noticed a student from Nepal sitting alone at a student meal. This gave me an opportunity, so I sat down to talk with her. We had met before when we both were at the annual SRU international fashion show. She was open to talk then and had asked for a photo together. And when we were together again at the All Saints’ meal, she exclaimed how glad she was to see me.
She said this because I reminded her of her grandfather (perhaps it was because I have white hair), who was in the intensive care unit in a hospital in Nepal. She misses him so much because he was like a mother to her (while her mother worked he cared for her for years). She wanted to be near him to comfort him, but she could not because she is a world away in Slippery Rock. How poignant to become aware of the love she has for her grandfather!
I tried to comfort her by listening with my heart. I am asking Jesus to help me find a way to expand our friendship (please help me by joining me in this prayer!). I really want to tell her about the comfort Jesus can bring in the middle of such pain. I sense an opportunity here to tell her.
Two of the sweetest little students to come into our All Saints lives are Love and Liam. Their mother is a student at SRU. These two are filled with energy. They had such fun playing with the dollhouse and toy truck when they came to our house with their parents for Thanksgiving dinner. They are from the British Virgin Islands, not far off the coast of Florida, and have had to make a major change in their lives by coming here. They even walk about half a mile to preschool with their mother, while their father uses their one vehicle to get to work. The family is Christian. They are willing to visit All Saints and did so this Sunday. They deeply appreciate the love shown to them. What we do for them is a way to tell him about Jesus’ love. That’s what Jesus’ commandment to “go and tell” is all about.
All Saints has been “telling” for many years. Some students, like Shannon, Kenzaburo, Maria, Jeddy and Sherry, do hear God’s Word. For some others, the last chapter has not yet been written. Even so, we continue to pray for faith to take root in them. It’s not a waste of time to help those who need help with advice on relationships and school responsibilities, even though they cannot hear the Word yet. Fortunately, that is in God’s hands! All we can do is plant the seed. We go and tell. The rest is up to God, and we know He wants us all to believe. What a blessing it is to tell. We’ve been doing it for years and it never gets old.
Augusta R. Mennell is the Campus Ministry Director at All Saints Lutheran Church and Student Center in Slippery Rock, PA. She was greatly influenced to “go and tell” college students by Rev. Carl Selle. He loved being with college students, and is responsible for creating the International Student Ministry, ISM. His motto for that group was “Go and Tell.” All Saints was inspired by him to go and do likewise. The Lord brought him Home this year, but his example lives on.
If you would like to highlight your work in the ministry, send a submission for consideration to Lynne, Communications Coordinator for the English District LCMS, email@example.com.