CM Alumni -2011
Campus Ministry at GVSU was a huge part of my college experience and I am so grateful for it. I was involved in many ways and formed so many great relationships. I served on a spring break mission trip each year, and was able to experience God working in various cities, grow closer to my Creator, and meet great new friends. I was also heavily involved in small groups, where I could dig into the word with fellow brothers in Christ, and I was also able to develop my leadership skills as I began leading small group studies as well. I become more confident in my faith and was able to grow closer in my walk with God. Through all of this, I met my wife and a couple other of my best friends today. I’m so blessed to be able to continue to walk through life together today with friends that I met through CM!
I am still living in Grand Rapids and currently work at Amway in Ada, MI. No kids yet, but my wife and I are seeking God’s plan for our lives as she continues with her 3rd year of medical school in Flint, MI. I fully believe that every part of my college experience, especially CM, led me to where I am today. We attend Keystone Community Church and help support local and global initiatives. We also strive daily to keep God at the center of our lives in all of the different things we participate in. Finally, we work to maintain our relationships with close friends and encourage each other in the Lord as much as possible. I’m thankful for all of the little things that God has orchestrated to get me to where I am today.
Trusting My Shepherd
During the last few weeks of the previous winter semester I was going through a spiritual valley, and I was inspired to re-memorize Psalm 23. While studying God’s word I also stumbled upon an online sermon about the same Psalm, and it had me thinking about David’s words in a whole new way. David was writing about being a sheep, and I realized that maybe I should be looking towards God as my shepherd while I was wandering through the valley.
So I prayed, and I searched my heart for where my Shepherd was leading. I found that God had planted in me a seed for service. I realized that tiny seed had been growing since I had gone to Dallas on a spring break mission trip. There Christ allowed me to encounter a ministry and community that I was passionate about, along with people who shared the same love for service that I did. While leaving Dallas in March I was offered an internship position by the ministry director, and I denied it, because at the time I thought I had a summer job in Michigan. I didn’t think I could ever move to Texas for a summer!
I soon realized what God was really doing with that little seed. He had been leading me back to Dallas even though I couldn’t see it! In April He nicely offered me the internship position again, and I closed the door- AGAIN. This caused my Shepherd to really get my attention. In May God denied me from my college program, ended my Michigan job opportunity, and shut down a relationship- just so I could explicitly see where He was leading me in the valley. He left me with no excuses, and showed me the way out- straight towards Dallas, Texas. Ten days later I was across the county and working fifty hours a week in a place where I thrived.
Serving in Dallas has been life changing. I learned how to pray big prayers, how to serve others with love, and how to live on my own in what feels like a foreign land. The Lord showed me how to be more open to His guidance, reminded me that I am a sheep, and taught me grace through His relentless pursuit of my life- in the mountains and in the valleys! Praise be to God!
To Rest in His Presence
The summer after my freshman year of college didn’t quite go the way that I had planned it too. With the craziness of the spring semester, I decided to spend the summer back home working the jobs that I did in high school because it was just easy. However, being burnt out from the year, I regretted this decision right away feeling like all of the ways the God grown me throughout the year were being wasted and could have been used in a much more impactful way. I really missed the community that Campus Ministry so abundantly provided and just felt very stuck which really kept me from appreciating all of the blessings that were surrounding me at home. Working in these jobs and taking a couple classes was too much to handle leading me to quit one of them. Through this decision, the Lord taught me to rest in His constant presence despite the circumstances and be ever trusting that He was doing something in my life and in the lives of others around me. He showed me how to slow down and be intentional with my family and friends which was very much needed at this time with what they were going through. Seeking Him day by day, He continually amazes me. He began to and is continually teaching me that when my heart is overwhelmed, to turn to the ‘rock that is higher than I’ and He will provide. That is why I worship.
“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61:2
CM Alumni – 2014
I was tricked into a Campus Ministry Bible study my sophomore year of college.
A friend of mine from the rowing team asked if I wanted to tie dye shirts (code: Bible Study) and I agreed. I kept returning because the people were nice and I liked the snacks, but eventually God used small groups to change my heart and my life. I went on to lead a freshmen small group, and those girls became some of my best friends. Campus Ministry allowed me to figure out who Jesus was with enough structure to help me understand and enough flexibility to let me figure it out on my own. I am forever grateful for the impact CM had on me as a person and how it began and influenced my relationship with Jesus. My friends and mentor relationships from Campus Ministry are some that are unmatched, even today. I am so thankful for the support, encouragement, and experience that CM gave me while in college!
I currently work as a Resident Director/Grad Assistant at Bethel College in Indiana. I’m studying to get my Masters in Counseling. Campus Ministry played a huge role in where I am at today. I interned for Campus Ministry in the office and also for small groups. These roles influenced how I work in ministry and allowed me to learn and grow during my college years. God changed my heart in college away from Pre-Med and showed me how He had created me to be with people. This greatly influenced my decision to study Counseling. I spent this past summer driving across America (20 states!) with my best friend from school. We worked at a camp in California, and road tripped the rest of the time. It has been quite the adventure since leaving CM!
I’m rather new to the organized Christian community although I’ve always been a believer. I started attending church services regular after I experienced Christmas Eve service of my sophomore year of high school. I felt moved and enlightened by God and I could feel a powerful source pulling me in. I became very active in my church community singing with our Praise Band and becoming Youth Group President and let God into my life and lead me to the path of glory.
However my junior year of high school came and I became overwhelmed in school and extracurriculars and I began to struggle. I put everything into school and I put God on the back burner and from there I began coping with unhealthy habits. These habits developed into an eating disorder and I was lost. I couldn’t concentrate in school, and I stopped finding enjoyment in the things I loved such as singing and dancing. I still attended church every Sunday but I was so consumed into my eating disorder that I would spend the whole service thinking of how to get out of taking communion because of the calories. How sad is that? That I would rather be “skinny and perfect” than have the body and blood of Christ strengthen me?
The year went on and most of it is just a blur of over exercising and hunger pains to be quite honest. I do remember that as spring came, I asked God why I was so broken? Why he couldn’t fix me and make me perfect? But than at a youth gathering in Detroit I learned that I was asking God to put me in more pain than I already felt, I needed to let God back into my life, I needed to put God first and everything else would fall into place. At the gathering I felt God surround me as one of the speakers talked about how so many teens and young adults of today struggle with things such as eating disorders, depression and self harm and how our bodies are a temple and God loves us and all of our imperfections and mistakes. At that moment I felt God’s presence next to me, around me and within in me. God was talking directly to me, and from that exact moment I brought God and Jesus back to the front of my mind. From there it was an uphill battle to recovery but I knew God was going to save me and he did. He walked beside me during my journey and was there at every doctor’s appointment, in every moment of doubt, and he always forgave me when I slipped back into my unhealthy ways.
From this experience I not only learned but actually experienced God’s presence within me. I now have God as the center of my life. And as I come to The Well every week I feel the touch of God on my heart and grow even farther in my faith. And I now I know I walk with God because even in my darkest times he picked me up and held my heart. God loves us so much and he doesn’t want us to be in pain, we just have to let him in. Nothing competes with the feeling of Gods never ending love. And this is why I worship.