Ann’s Story

Being Called Out

Ann Smit – CM Staff

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” ~Mark 1:17

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I did not get involved with Campus Ministry until my junior year of college. I had grown up in a Christian home and attended Christian schools my entire life and it was strange not being in that kind of community. I did some sort of “church shopping” with the various religious organizations at GVSU my freshman and sophomore years, but never found anything I loved or felt like I belonged, which made me eventually quit trying. I wasn’t necessarily “slipping” in my faith, but I definitely wasn’t growing like I could have been.
Then things changed my junior year: a good friend of mine, Sarah Veldman invited me to the cook-out at the clock tower. I was nervous about not knowing anyone there, but decided to take this step of faith with my friend’s invitation. Sarah had talked to me before about how much she loved CM and being on the Program Team; she casually mentioned that I should join her on this team. I thought she was crazy. Why would I be on some leadership team for an organization that I had only attended maybe once or twice? At the cook-out, I had the opportunity to meet Ben Post, and Sarah mentioned to him that I would be great on the Program Team for the Well (there was only an 8pm service at this point). Ben basically said, “Sure! Try it out once, and if it seems to be a good fit, you can join the team.” That first meeting was all I needed. I knew instantly I loved CM and its mission. All I needed was that push from a friend and the opportunity to be involved and committed to an organization.
Fast forward a few months to Spring Break. I knew I wanted to serve and had the chance to get my first choice of trips: Catadupa, Jamaica. Of course, I picked the most expensive trip. I sent out letters like it was my job to my family asking for partnership through prayer and financially. Meanwhile, I heard about this opportunity to go to Israel with Ben and Stacie Post in April. This is something I knew I was being called to, but could in no way begin to afford. I told Ben I was interested and he kept telling me I should come along, but I had every doubt and excuse to say no. Finally Ben called me saying something like “Ann, this is the last time I’ll bother you, but I have to know: will you go to Israel with us?” Let me tell you what had just happened the day he asked this: Chris Pieters had informed me that I had EXTRA donations come in for support for Jamaica!! I was astounded. I called my sponsors and asked them if they would be willing to move those funds to support this other trip. All of them agreed and the only thing I could reply to Ben was, “YES!”

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This was my introduction year into Campus Ministry. Since then, I was asked to become a Life Group intern, lead a Spring Break trip to Arizona, and be on staff this year with Life Groups. These are just a couple examples of when people have been a huge part of calling me out and inviting me to come and follow and be a part of something amazing. God is so faithful, and He will always provide what we need. I have had countless other examples of when people have poured into me and encouraged me to excel and go further than I ever imagined. I praise God for these situations and leaders in my life. While on staff and throughout my lifetime, I pray I can be someone who sees potential in others and calls them higher. I pray the same for you! That you will have truth and life poured into you and you can do the same for others.

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Megan’s Story

A Summer of God’s Presence

Megan Mila

 

As move in week came and as I started catching up with friends that I had not seen all summer, I started to really think about and process my summer. Of course when you see someone for the first time in four months, the first questions asked are ‘how was your summer?’ and ‘what did you do this summer?’ As I got asked these question time and time again, I really did not know how to start and where to start. I was speechless. I got thinking about my summer and two major events came to mind. My study abroad trip to Tanzania, Africa, and my day camp counselor job at my home church on the East side. I could not stop thinking about all the stories I wanted to share from these two experiences, but I also had this overwhelming feeling of how great is our God for presenting me with these two life changing opportunities.

Over the month of May, I got to travel to a continent that I have dreamed about traveling to for a long time. I was given the opportunity to travel to Tanzania, Africa through a Faculty-Led program here at GVSU. I heard a presentation on this trip in one of my classes and knew instantly I needed to go. You might be asking why I NEEDED to go on this trip. I was being presented the opportunity to not only teach in a school in Tanzania, I was presented the opportunity to teach in a Special Education school. Now this might not seem like a big thing, but unfortunately, Special Education schools in other countries are not common and often do not exist. I ran out of class that day telling my parents, roommates, and everyone I knew that I was going to Tanzania. They looked at me like I was crazy, but once I explained it to them, they knew too I had to go. This was the most amazing and rewarding experience that I have ever had. I thought going into it that I was going to be teaching the teachers new ideas for their classrooms and teaching little hearts activities that would help them succeed in life, but I left there as a student. I was taught more than I ever imagined.

After I returned home from Tanzania, I started the rest of my summer off by starting my first year as a day camp counselor. I was nervous going into this new position because I was unsure of what to expect. This job absolutely blew me away. I enjoyed getting to know all of the campers and how each and every one of them is different in their own way and comes from a different background. God had an even greater plan than me getting to hangout with day campers every day and teaching them about Him. One day at day camp, I walked in and was told that a camper with a disability was going to be attending. That day changed my summer for the better. I woke up that morning not sure how I was going to make it through that day with exhaustion setting in, but I prayed that morning for patience and God granted me it. Her first day at day camp was tough on her. She cried wanting her mom and to go home. I eventually primarily worked one on one with her for the rest of the summer where she started asking for me and greeting me with a hug every day. Her big heart and precious smile made me love my job and my major even more. I couldn’t think of a more God providing thing.

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Remember when I said in the beginning that these were life changing experiences? You might be asking yourself how and why. Well like many other college students, I often doubt my major of Special Education. I am often told ‘oh that takes such a special person to do that job.’ It makes me question myself and if I am the right person to teach these students and to love on them. These two experiences this summer have shown me that I picked the right major and that when I am doubting myself, I will think of these students and know my heart is in the right place. I couldn’t be more thankful that God gave me these opportunities this summer to show me that my heart is in the right place, and that I have chosen the right major.

Jacob’s Story

Learning to be a Leader for Christ

Jacob Sciacchitano

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For 3 years, I was privileged to serve on the campus ministry worship team.

This process drastically changed my life. I was lost, maneuvering life’s most dangerous landmines by mere inches, and trying to do it all on my own. But God had a different plan. He placed people like Ben and Stacie Post in my life right at the most pivotal point…a crossroads.

I had a choice to make. Was I going to be a nominal Christian, going through the motions, and having it all together on the outside? Or was I going to allow God to truly take over my life? The choice was left up to me and I’m glad to say I chose to let God have his way.

Over the course of the 3 years I was involved in CM, I can truly say I was blessed with the people I got to know, the places I got to visit, and the miracles I witnessed. God placed Ben, Stacie, Chris, Scott, John, and so many more, into my life to challenge me in my walk with God and to grow me into the person I am today.
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I have a vivid memory of one leadership retreat where Ben posed a question to all the men. It struck a nerve. From that point on I continually fought uphill to be the man that God called me to be. I can honestly say today that my life would be drastically different if not for the mentoring, love, support, and sharpening that CM has given me. I am truly blessed.

In 2012, Ben & Stacie played a huge part in Amanda and I’s wedding ceremony which was completely unforgettable. It is a witness to how much it’s impacted us by the sheer number of weddings we go to and see all the faces of the ones we knew from CM. It’s like nothing else I’ve experienced. I can truly say that CM is hidden gem. Anyone that talks to me about considering attending GVSU for school is always met with a whirlwind of great things to hear about the school and CM.

I’ve probably said way too much, but I guess that’s just the way I feel.

I am now on staff full-time at my home church, Rockpointe, in Sterling Heights. Through the mentoring, teaching, coaching, and support of the CM staff and the Post family, I have felt more than equipped to do what I’m doing now.

When Stacie was leading the worship team, she led so humbly, always seeking to call out leadership in others. I was one of several student interns that was impacted by her leadership. She is such a great leader. She taught us to step up, be empowered, and lead the people God was calling us to lead. It’s incredible to see how that mindset she had influenced me and continually influences the volunteers I am leading on our worship & tech teams.

In 2016, I celebrated 5 years in my role. I was fortunate this past summer to have some interns of my own and I hope I imparted even a fraction of the lessons that Stacie taught me. I thank her so much for being the leader I needed and that God calls for.

I owe her and the CM staff so much for who I am today! Love you guys!

Rachel’s Story

What Israel Taught Me

Rachel Gatica

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The past two years attending Campus Ministry I heard people say “Go to Israel, it will be life changing.” In my heart I knew that they were right but I doubted that I would ever be able to go. The more I doubted, the more God kept nudging me to sign up for the trip. One day, I followed the push (because it was the only thing I could think about) and signed up for the trip. Spoiler alert: Everyone was right—walking where Jesus walked was life changing and faith growing.

I am sure for anyone who reads this or hears anyone else talk about their trip to Israel is thinking “Yeah, yeah. That is what they all say, but that can’t happen for me.” I used to think the exact same thing. I used to doubt what God could do, but Israel changed that for me. I grew up my entire life hearing the Bible stories, but in Israel God completely transformed my heart by showing me that He is still the same God today that He was back then and He always will be. I always read about how God provided for the Israelites in the desert, but I experienced it firsthand while hiking up Mt. Arbel. It was over 100 degrees that day and He provided wind when we needed it and strengthened our bodies. This reminded me that God will always provide for us whether it is at home, on campus, or climbing up the side of the mountain. Nothing is too great for our God. While sitting in a boat in the Sea of Galilee we talked about when Jesus and Peter walked on the same body of water that we were actually floating in (it still blows my mind). Peter got out of the boat to be like Jesus, but he doubted himself in the process. God taught me that in order to live like Jesus, I need to get out of the boat and take leaps of faith and not doubt Him or what He can do through me.

My whole life I read in the Bible about what God could do, but in Israel, I truly felt what God can do and can see what He is doing. His power came to life more than I could ever imagine. He showed me how to believe and not doubt. He is the same God that we read about in the Bible and He chooses us to use for His glory today. I will forever be thankful for all that God taught me about his goodness and faithfulness while I was in Israel.