Thursday, July 15, 2010

Testimonies of NAU InterVarsity

PAUL KIM- 24/7 Prayer Team
    24/7 prayer has changed my life. It has been such a huge influence on my prayer life and my relationship with God. I have grown and learned so much about God, myself, and the importance of prayer and the role it plays in the life of a Christ follower. I love 24/7 prayer and what it brings to the NAU campus and its students and I will support it until the day I die.

JORDAN STEELE - Large Group Team
     Being on large group team this past year has been a bigger blessing to me than most people know. The summer before that year started, I guess I was having a sort of identity crisis. I felt like I was just “the funny one” that people wanted to be around for laughs, but nothing more. I was dying to prove to people that I could be deeper—that I could be a real friend to them and talk about things that mattered.     
     I kept praying to God that he would give me a gift that I deemed worthy for myself. Something like a deeper compassion for orphans that would compel me to go on mission trips to Africa six times a year. But deep down I knew I was praying these things selfishly—like I wanted to prove to people that I loved Jesus, because I felt they didn’t take me seriously. 
      Then at the beginning of the school year, I was asked to join large group team by staff member Ashley Boelter. She asked me to write the weekly announcements for IV that would be sent to all the students and staff via Facebook. I agreed, and decided to put my own flair on them; open with a joke or weird news story, try to weave my own comments into the announcements and at the end, BAM hit ‘em with a funny YouTube video. And I quickly found out that people actually appreciated what I was doing. They were really reading these announcements because they found them entertaining, and then were more apt to go to these events I was telling them about. 
       God made me realize that he really did make me this way for a reason. He might not have given me those gifts that I wanted to impress my Christian peers with, but he gave me a gift that still has weight for his Kingdom—the gift of a sense of humor that has mass appeal. He also made it clear to me that all I needed was balance. I was made to bring laughter and joy to others, but I still needed a small group of people who I could really go deeper and grow with. And He made it known to me who those people in my life were. So through this past year, I really found myself by searching for my identity in Christ rather than relying on my own standards. And that wouldn’t have been possible without large group team.

CHRISTY STUHAN -  Bible Study Leader
     Well, I was a bible study this last year and it was definitely one of the best periods of growth for me ever. This was because of several reasons. When I decided to lead a Bible study I don't think I had any idea what it would actually be like. It was really hard. 
      There were a lot of situations, this year, where I was not really allowed to show my emotions or be vulnerable, and that was a really hard position to be in. Through all of this, God had to show me a lot about myself I didn't really know. He had to show me that I was stronger than I thought, and had to break me so I would realize it. He had to show me that I was really bad at sacrifice. He threw me into situations where patience was like gold. Basically, especially second semester, God showed me that everything that I was not and needed to be, when we read James. It's kind of earthshaking to get all of that at one time but it was better in the long run. I guess the thing I learned most is that pain leads to growth but we have to be willing to change for Him, to glorify Him in all of our actions. We have to actually be willing to surrender all our wants and needs and to trust that He is in control. 
      These lessons were some hard ones but I know that God has already blessed me through them. I have a group of great girls that I know will do great things for Him and who are the most beautiful girls I have ever met. Their love and compassion and patience is amazing. God showed me through them how beautiful He has made me and that when I change and grow through Him it is a beautiful thing but in this world its hard not to listen to lies. The thing is though, God showed me when we change into other people for other people we just change into someone else THAT we still won't like. God is graceful through the process of change and through all of the struggles this year He is the one who has never stopped loving me. Being a leader is excellent but I believe that these lessons are something He would show anyone because our God is a God of Love, the most perfect Love. In Conclusion, God is Good all the time and all the time God is Good.

BARRY JORDAN- Chapter Camp
     When I came to NAU my freshman year, I didn’t have much of an idea where I would go as far as church or campus group was concerned. Somehow, I heard about and went to, a large group meeting for Intervarsity and then joined a small group within the first week or two of school. I didn’t get too involved with IV throughout my first year, but still felt connected through Bible study and found accountability and friendships through that.
      Towards the end of my second semester, I started getting closer to more people in the chapter and one of my bible study leaders, Eric, started pouring into me more. He also invited me to attend “Cross-training”, which is the meeting for people who are considering becoming leaders for the next school year. I attended and we went through several ideas and “gifts” tests to get an idea of what leadership or service team each person should be apart of. After this meeting and much prayer, I felt God leading me to be a bible study leader.
      I led an all guys freshman bible study my sophomore year, and although we only had 4 people consistently show up, we had a pretty tight group and were very open and discussed and prayed for our struggles and sins and had friendships with each other outside of bible study as well. To this day, I am still friends with all of the guys from that bible study, and one of those guys is entering his second year as a bible study leader this fall semester.
      Last year, my junior year, the leadership structure changed a little bit and I lead a co-ed small group with my friend Emily. Bible study was good, but discouraging at the same time. Most of the people who consistently came were girls, and on the average night girls outnumbered the men, about 10-5. We were able to split up at the end up bible study men and women separately and talk about stuff, but I feel it wasn’t quite the same as when I lead an all guys group.
      I was also able to mentor one guy consistently, who I met with every other week. These meetings were amazing because we got to get into deeper stuff and really see where we were in our faith and bring up tough questions to talk about. It was awesome to be able to point him to Christ and what the Bible says about certain issues and questions, the most common one being sexual purity, and challenge him to keep those things in prayer as well.
Although, overall I have had good experiences leading small groups over the last 2 years, I felt really convicted towards the end of this last year about my devotion to small group and being more invested in people inside it, especially with the men. I am very excited to be leading an all-men’s study again this year and am committed to a much more intentional group this year. I have several ideas for this year that I am committed to following through on, including discipleship groups, where I would meet with about 3 guys from bible study a week and then they would meet with the rest of the guys to disciple them. I also plan to have my group partner with Anthony and his men's small group, to get together and meet to fellowship with each other as the men of our chapter, and have events like going out in the woods and grilling up burgers and having a massive fire pit. This would also be a great place for us to invite our friends and other non-Christians so we can reach out to those who might not otherwise go to IV or a Bible study. My goal for the small group is to be focused on God and serving Jesus as a lifestyle, by following Him and reaching out to those around us.
      Since I have been a part of InterVarsity, I have had many opportunities to grow in my faith with Jesus and learn what it means to be a leader and lead by example and truth. I am very excited about this year and what God has in store for us.