We were assigned to haiti meal packing on Wednesday afternoon. I had asked a few ppl on the beach to come help us and many seemed unwilling to come.. even thought the weather was poor and there weren’t that many out that day..
As we were walking back onto the property to just go help (they told us to try inviting spring breakers with us and then come back if you didn’t have anyone) I prayed asking God to show us IF there really was someone to come with us.. I even saw Amanda (a RPI student) run down the beach looking!
On our way in.. there were 4 guys trying to get in to the Edgewater(the hotel/resort where the conference was).. and being told no.. I quickly asked “Bro, we’re going to pack meals for haiti on Edgewater, wanta come with us?!” The first guy said wow that sounds like fun! the other 3 were less excited.. but When I told this guy Cypres he could still come just him the others were in! We all walked together to the conference center.. Standing there almost brought me to tears! there were people working to make meals and at the same time a guy asking who wanted aprons.. I watched as these 3 spring break girls (who came with UCONN girls) looked around embarrassed at first realizing that they were half dressed while many actually had clothes on! watching further you could see how they wanted to turn around and leave, but one of the UCONN girls smiled and said come on lets get hairnets and clean our hands.. the guy at the front “offered” an apron “IF they wanted it”.. which of course they did! .. just after this.. I realized I saw this so I could help our four spring break guys.. they put their beers down and looked around uncomfortably and I immediately grabbed the hand santi stuff and started putting it in their hands and passing hair nets.. John even offered them aprons!
We ended up letting Jason and John take on the guys and the girls all went together to work at one table.. There was pumpin music blasting and we all got super into screaming random things in excitement when we finished a box or 2! I was overwhelmed at the love these spring breakers experienced and the acceptance that I saw the body of christ displaying! This scene of the Big Breakers welcoming and loving on spring breakers while serving like Jesus is definitely one that I will not forget! I wish you all could have been with me to experience this!
As we were playing ultimate Frisbee 2 guys named Jake and Joe were on the team with me(Ellen) and Amanda (and a couple UCONN students too). It was a close game but we won by 1 point! yay!
After the game Amanda, myself, 2 UCONN girls and these 2 guys Jake and Joe sat with us. I asked question about them and before we knew it I was talking through spiritual things.. I learned Jake’s parents are going through a divorce and that he was Lutheran until his parents stopped going when he was maybe 10.. Joe’s dad’s brother is a reverend and his aunt is budist! I mentioned how we were using tools to ask spring breakers questions about spiritual things and even asked if any of them had a chance to talk about sprititual things on campus during the year… they said no! I turn briefly and Amanda had already gone to her bag and whipped out the Soularium (to which the RPI students keep calling it a “game” .. haha.. we’re still working on that.. ) The guys engaged with us and when asked on a level of 0-10 what’s their desire to know God.. (after telling them they couldn’t pick 0 because they were already talking to us about spiritual things!) they both said 6 and 8! I told my story and presented the gospel! I did bring out the KGP (Knowing God Personally booklet)to ask which circle they were (the point of decision in the booklet) and Jake said he had been trying to get to the circle on the right (a life submitted to Christ) … after sharing he didn’t have to “work at it” the gospel was presented and I challenged them to make a decision for themselves!
The BIGGEST win for me was when Amanda and I were walking back to the van.. she said she learned something huge about this.. the guys STILL wanted to talk after presenting the Gospel.. she had thought it would have been awkward to just go back to talking after all that.. but it wasn’t and she realized how “natural” talking about Jesus can be! I’m so honored that I had this opportunity to see Amanda realize an important life lesson! When you’re a follower of Christ, it’s normal to talk about Jesus!
On Tuesday night Jason went out with some UCONN students to share the gospel. The group prayed a few times to connect with spring breakers and didn’t see anyone really respond.. a bit discouraged they went to the Waffle House and “hung out”; while hanging out.. God Space (relational space for spiritual content- also a great book we’ve read with students) was created as they sat and talked amongst themselves. One of the UCONN students named Becky had a ton of reservations about the week and even more specifically why things weren’t biblical.. like why is it really “wrong” to get drunk.. what’s the big deal? Jason came over for lunch on Thursday and he told us the story of creating space for God to uncover what it was in Becky’s heart.. she hadn’t really trusted Jesus with her life! What ended up happening was Jason and the other UCONN students went through the Knowing God Personally with Becky.. at first she was embarrassed and didn’t want to “do the prayer” with the group. But later that night she went on the balcony and cried.. and told Jesus she desired to know him and the following day read the prayer with one of her roommates! Jason engaged with someone who said “I’m a christian” and yet wasn’t completely surrendered.. and he used God Space to engage and see someone trust Christ! We’re so proud of him and the UCONN students with him!
Just a quick exciting story to share and a prayer request from yesterday at the University at Albany: I went out yesterday on campus with Dan*, one of the students in our movement there. Last week at Big Break I had the opportunity to use the Soularium spiritual conversation tool with some great conversations resulting from it…
…So I thought it would be a good time to go on campus and bring Dan along to see what spiritual conversations God might arrange for us to have with students there. We met Anthony who was simply sitting on a concrete step outside on the patio area. We asked him if he had 10 minutes or so to help give us feedback on the photos included in the Soularium and answer a few questions related to the photos and he said yes. That began a discovery process of finding out that Anthony was feeling broken in his life and lacking direction and purpose and that he wanted to know more about how to find his purpose in a personal relationship with Jesus. We told him how that could be possible through the Knowing God Personally booklet, a concise description and invitation to knowing Jesus personally through the gospel message. He prayed to receive Christ into his heart! We were really excited and asked him to join Dan at a small group on campus at 3 pm today! He said he knew God sent us to meet him yesterday and even earlier that day he spoke with his mother about getting a Bible! God was working in his life already and we were honored to be there to point him to our Savior and Lord!
Please take a moment to pray that our spiritual enemy and his minions would not have any sway in Anthony’s new life in Christ and that he would plug in to our ministry and a local church, as that seemed to also be missing in his life since he left home for college.
Praise God for all he is doing on local campuses like UAlbany!
*some names are changed from time to time in our updates