I have so much to update you on! Business in the front: October 4th (this Tuesday) is International Day of Prayer. So, we’re asking that you would prayerfully come alongside our STINT team and Campus Pour Christ team that day.
- Pray for our students to arrive on campus safely. Some students are traveling from villages that are hours away.
- Pray that their hearts would be softened to hear the gospel and that God would go before us.
- Pray for our hearts to see these student’s needs and to not become hardened to it, that it may burden us for the sake of Christ!
- Pray that God would provide support for the Senegalese staff families.
- Pray for the health (emotional, physical, and spiritual) of our team, the Senegal team, and the Congolese team.
- Pray for the upcoming elections (they are in February). Pray that riots/political deomonstrations would be limited and wouldn’t keep us from campus. This was a slight problem last year.
Ministry Stories: Last week, Whitney (my lovely, hysterical, and Spirit-filled roommate) invited a student over to our house to hang out. They hadn’t ever met, but this student was a contact from the summer project team that came for six weeks earlier this summer. The sweet Senegalese student, Khoudu, traveled over an hour by bus to get to our apartment to hang out with Whitney. I decided since both of my roommates were in the kitchen hanging out with her, I wanted to join too. So, I invited myself along for the conversation.
Khoudou was SO funny. In the middle of our conversation she said, “You shouldn’t be called Campus Pour Christ. You should call yourselves the ‘Jesus Lovers.’” Whitney shared her testimony of coming to know God through Jesus with her, and sweet, little Rachel passionately shared about how she knew for certain that she will be in Paradise with God because He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I feel like I said so much, and tried to explain so much, to Khodou but one thing in particular stuck out to me.
We started talking about the differences between different religions. She mentioned that all religions teach the same thing: be a good, moral person. The problem with that argument is the fact that Jesus, the person Christianity was founded upon, never said that. Therefore we have to eliminate Christianity from that argument thus making it different than the rest of the world’s religions.
One of the cool things about God is that He directs your path. I’ve been in the book of Colossians since July 27th. For those of you who aren’t familliar with Colossians, it’s only four chapters long. I’ve been there for a while because I fully believe God wants me to grasp this book in it’s entirety. The first chapter of colossians presents the gospel and the divinity of Christ. The second chapter goes through not being persuaded to another gospel, but the true one of Jesus and how to walk in truth. And the third chapter starts with how to walk in step with the God.
The amazing thing about chapter three is that if you are looking on from the outside, it looks like a “do this, don’t do this” chapter. For example verse five: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry…” But there are a few words in the beginning of this chapter that change the whole meaning. 3:1, “If then you have been raised with Christ…”.
This part of the book is not about how to impress God apart from Christ, how to earn God’s favor, or how to make yourself righteous before God. This part is about how to walk with God once you’ve been raised with Christ. The only way we can have a restored relationship with God is if we are sinless. All of us, especially me, are sinful. We cannot change our ways on our own and think we are acceptable in the sight of a holy and just God. The only way we can stand before God as innocent is through double imputation=Christ taking our sin, us receiving His righteousness. We cannot earn/be an active participant in the saving work of God. We can receive Him, and that’s it.
So, the application verses are only for the process of sanctification (becoming more like Christ) rather than justification (being made innocent/clean before God).
I thought it was super cool that God had me in Colossians for so long to be able to understand that what makes Christianity different is that we cannot do anything to earn His favor. It isn’t about us. It is about what Christ did for us on the cross, and about God loving us so much that He wanted to redeem us from this mess.
We have been in a country for almost a month where people are striving to make themselves acceptable before God. We see it everyday. We cannot earn God’s love. He freely gives it to us (that’s the definition of grace). I pray that the students we encounter this upcoming year will be open to hearing that Jesus paid it all, and all to Him I owe! I pray that Khoudou’s eyes and heart will be open to seeing God’s goodness and redemption plan.
So, that’s that. Sorry this is so long. Here’s some lyrics to a really great hymn called Rock of Ages that really brings to life the gospel for me. And here’s a modern version of the song. I love it. And I love you too.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.
2. Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law’s commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.