It’s amazing to see students move closer to Jesus. No matter how many times we’ve seen God work in this way through the UCM college ministry, it never gets old. Whether it’s a lifelong Christian, skeptical agnostic or follower of another religion, God softens hearts and grows faith as His people faithfully reach out in love.
Clara is a sophomore at UTC who was first invited into the UCM family by CJ, another sophomore. CJ and Clara got to know each other in a Women’s Studies class their freshmen year. Even though Clara wasn’t a Christian, she was willing to give UCM a try because of CJ’s genuine love and persistence. One step towards Jesus.
As she opened the door, she stopped and said out loud, “I think I’m gonna give this Jesus thing a try.”
At first, Clara politely disagreed with most of the Christian views expressed. Her beliefs and lifestyle are common on a college campus, but pretty out of place in a church setting. Despite this, other students in UCM were eager to welcome her, listen to her and show her love.
Near the end of the semester, Clara was about to go home after our weekly meeting. As she opened the door, she stopped and said out loud, “I think I’m gonna give this Jesus thing a try.” One more step.
Over the summer, Clara’s mom started going to the doctor to be treated for cancer. Clara asked her UCM family to pray and her mom was soon healed. When UCM students pointed to God and his ability to answer prayer Clara replied, “I’ve never really believed in prayer, but it seems like there’s something to it.” Step number three.
About a month ago, Clara was in a discussion group at our weekly meeting. The first question was about people’s previous experiences with Christian groups. Clara said that every Christian group she’s ever known was full of “horrible people and cliques.” The next question was about any community, religious or not, that was a good experience. Clara looked at us and said, “The UCM is the best community I’ve ever been a part of. They welcome me, they don’t judge me and they’re real.” Forget about counting the steps, this is exciting!
Each week brings new stories of students running towards Clara (and others like her) with boldness and love. There are conversations about deep, personal issues and faith. Lots of patient listening. Prayer. Coffee and study times.
We’re thankful for the chance to know Clara and we pray that God keeps working in her heart!