International Travel is Hard / Campus Ministry is Crucial
|The School of Athens was painted by Raphael in 1511, and visited by me, in 2022.|
Hey there! Another month of Summer is upon us. Meaning my work as a campus minister is slower than usual because many of our students are at home on break. We use this time to fundraise (as many of you know, thank you again for your support), to meet with students who are still in town, and to rest in a Sabbath like way for the coming season of sowing in the Fall!
Emily and I were blessed enough to be given free plane tickets to Italy as a wedding gift last year, and we just got to use them this past month. In my time there I had a lot of thoughts about what I am doing, what we are all called to do, and how to be successful in it. I am of course talking about discipleship. Leading people to Christ through your words, life, and relationships.
|The Amalfi Coast with my ghoulish looking Father. |
Emily and I left our swim suits in our hotel and they are sadly no more.
|Emily and I in the Vatican. So much history and art that glorifies our Good Lord here.|
As someone who is very social and loves to befriend others, being a stranger where you cannot speak the same language and you have different resources available to you, I found myself annoyed quite often in Italy. I wanted to make connections like I can do on campus with our students.
That is the good news though. I am not able to make disciples in Italy. I am able to make disciples here, in DFW, an international hub for so many college students. I will probably never learn how to speak Italian, but how many Italian students can I meet here on a transfer semester and impact?
At UTA, one of the largest international student population is Indian students. While I may be working locally, the work of a campus minister can and should be seen as global mission work. The impact I could have going abroad is nothing compared to a student who is going back home that has experienced the love of Jesus. Their family and friends will see the change and experience the good news of Christ much more fully than I as a stranger could communicate to them.
This is of course not to say international mission work is bad. I am so glad there are disciples who have met that calling. I am saying that God has and is continuing to use the college campus to meet world needs.
|Harrison (right of me) and his sweet family.|
This is my friend Harrison. We met in 2018 when he was a freshman at Collin College. He had just moved from Indonesia to Dallas and only had an aunt and uncle in town. I got to be one of his first friends in the states, and I have been blessed ever since. Harrison recently graduated college, after 4 years of being a faithful student leader in our ministry, leading his fellow students to Jesus through his studies. His family travelled here to celebrate his accomplishment and I got the chance to get dinner with them.
|Dinner at Twisted Root with the whole Wijaya family|
This is one of those relationships I am talking about. Harrison has been transformed by Christ the past four years. His parents and older brother all agreed he had matured and opened up so much since the time he had left. He has caught the vision of God's Kingdom, and he can bring that vision back to his family; back to Indonesia. This is the good news of Jesus' global kingdom.
Thank you for reading!
If you are interested, here is a wonderful article about campus ministry written by Tim Keller that talks about these exact advantages to this kind of ministry.
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