It's easy to become discouraged & listen to the negative voices in my head after a month like August. I realize that my month does not compare in the least bit to many individuals who live so close to me, their lives have been turned up-side-down.
However, BSM was poised for an EPIC start to our semester.
I met Joey after a BSM FREE LUNCH in March. He was wearing an SFA BSM t-shirt. He mentioned that he had transferred to UT-Austin online to finish his degree & was working @ LoneStar as a tutor. In our conversation he mentioned that he was drawn to the Question of the Day @ BSM FREE LUNCH: "How do YOU know the Bible is Relevant?" After lunch, he talked with Tamara @ length about his spiritual journey. Joey mentioned that he had been attending the Mormon Student Association "Bible Studies" on the LoneStar-Montgomery campus & that because of this he was confused about his faith. He mentioned that he was glad he saw the BSM sign on campus & decided to come eat FREE LUNCH because we had reminded him of what he already knew to be Truth. Throughout the remainder of the Spring, Joey continued to struggle with questions but instead of attending the Mormon student group he chose to attend the BSM Explore God Group each Thursday for a more in-depth conversation about spiritual his questions. PRAY for Joey stays on the right path and does not get swayed by those who tickle his ears with words that sound spiritual. PRAY for discernment and wisdom that comes from the Spirit that already lives inside of him. PRAY for his involvement in a local Christ-centered church & the development of deep spiritual roots.
It is truly exciting to be part of what God is doing among local college students! Today we had a nice "intimate" conversation (with 27 students) @ BSM FREE LUNCH were students took turns sharing scripture & explaining why it had been relevant in their life.
"I trend to be an individual with intense feelings & have the potential to get depressed easily. Because of that, a verse that has strengthened me recently is Micah 7:8, 'Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.' (NLT)."
I've been taking care of my mother as she has been sick, my verse is Exodus 20:12 "Honor your father and mother." Another student added, "That verse is the only commandment that has a promise with it."
There is something very cool about facilitating a conversation with students as they share with their peers how Scripture has been relevant in their life. Which allowed me the opportunity to impress the need to regularly read scripture, to "chew" on it, and to experience its power in our lives.
BSM is experiencing MOMENTUM, which in turn has drawn students to FREE LUNCH. Many of these students are open and are seeking a conversation with someone about their faith question. They want more information about the Bible and about Jesus. In the past two weeks, I can count SIX conversations with SIX different students interested in MORE. One student I talked with today has no background in the church but is actively interested in the reading Scripture and learning about Jesus. He seems highly intelligent but at the same time he had no reference for scripture - did not even know the story of Jonah and the whale. (Reminded me of conversations I had while living in San Francisco, CA). PRAY for these students, that God would reveal Himself to them, that he would provide opportunities for BSMers to have conversations with them and He would draw them to Himself.
As I left campus today, I could only think of John 4:35 NLT, "Wake up and look around. The fields are ripe for harvest." What an honor to be part of all that Yahweh is doing among local college students.
PRAY FOR BEACH REACH 2017: BSM Montgomery student Maryssa is serving with the SFA BSM & 1200 other college students @ South Padre Island. "Last night, we got in our vans around 11:30, and started driving. I got to talk to a couple of girls who were both really quiet. One of them was more open and interested about knowing who Jesus is, but her friend was so quiet that she kind of stopped talking. I also got a chance to talk to another girl who was interested in what I was saying, and then asked if she could join us today. Please be praying for the Lord's will to be done in their life and for them to see what the Lord is going to do in their life. Thank you guys for your prayers and support while I'm in South Padre this week!"
You've heard me say before that God has blessed BSM Montgomery with some amazing volunteers. In the 20 years since I began working with college students I have never found a volunteer or partner in ministry like Ryan. Ministering on staff @ a church up the street from campus, Ryan has a huge heart for college students. So much so, that he has completed the paperwork with TXBSM to become an offical BSM Volunteer, which allows him the prestigious title of Volunteer Associate Director of BSM Montgomery. So, Ryan teaches @ free lunch once a month and leads an Explore God Group on campus each Thursday.
It's the Explore God Group that I'd like to tell you about and ask you to pray for. The first week of BSM Groups on campus Ryan was the only one... "crickets" he said... so we ran some Facebook and Insta ads as well as printed flyers to hand out. The next week he had 3, then a steady stream of 4ish... until the last week before Spring Break the Explore God Group had SEVEN! That week, my morning text was: "Praying for your group today." Ryan: "we had seven today!" He's been having some amazing conversations about faith and God.
I've spent Thanksgiving 2016 visiting local churches, getting to know staff, visiting college classes & groups, and meeting college students throughout Montgomery County, Texas. One thing I noticed was that there were pockets of local students scattered across our county. These "pockets" ranged from 2, to 5, to 15, to 8, and so one.
Having worked on commuter based campuses since 1996, I know that, commuter students can feel very isolated on campus. In fact, many local students have thought the following about their local college experience; "I have no friends on campus." "All my high school friends went to a 'real' school and I'm the loser that stayed home, so I don't want anyone to know I'm still here." "I don't want to get too involved here since I'm planning on transferring asap!" OR "I am literally the only follower of Jesus on campus."
Remembering that I disliked being a commuter student myself (before I met friends @ the BSM) and knowing that each of the spiritual great awakenings in Church history began on college campuses as a movement of prayer, I began to wonder what would happen if we could gather all these local "pockets" of students in one place, once a month, to worship the Almighty Creator of the universe!
March 5th was our first N.O.W. Students from FIVE local churches attended, we worshiped through song, we worshiped through prayer, we laughed, and we ate 150 pieces of bacon together!
Pray for the NOW Events on April 2nd & May 7th. PRAY that students
is a Texas Baptist Missionary, raising 100% of her salary to serve on the college campuses in Montgomery County, Texas. She holds a Master of Divinity & has been in college ministry since 1996.