THE UPDATE JANUARY 30, 2013 .
Reflections on GYC BAMIJI IBIRONKE
CREDIT ADAM JACKSON
CAMPUS MTP Intern
CAMPUS has come to be known as the birthplace and is one of the official sponsors of GYC (Generation. Youth. Christ.). Appropriately, graduates of CAMPUS’ Missionary Training Program (MTP) and staff workers remain actively involved as volunteers and speakers at the annual convention. Moreover, CAMPUS encourages secular university students to attend GYC as part of their training for more effective ministry on their campuses. Here is one student’s reflections on their experience at GYC this year: ∙∙∙ To some it is vacation, to others it is known as spiritual excitement, while others deem it a reunion, but to me it is deeper than all that. Before GYC 2012 I had only been to the event once, and having had a good experience in Houston, Texas, I was excited about going again. Some may say that driving several days to and from Seattle, WA from Michigan is a waste, but it was worth every moment for me. God gave me more than what I desired. He gave me an experience that would inspire me to continue the Revolution that He began. I guess my experience at GYC overall can be summed up into three main parts. The movement – If you attended GYC: Acts: the Revolution Continues you can affirm that God’s people are not stagnant. We are moving. Though there were various different ministries from different places represented in the Exhibit Halls, we all share a common goal: finishing the work. It warmed my heart to see that people were finding new and diverse ways to spread the gospel. The Decisions – When I asked my friend about how she enjoyed GYC she responded “I am a new person.” She ex2
plained about how prior to GYC she was drifting away from God but that during the program she was able to re-commit her life to Christ. Prior to GYC I had also been struggling in my spirituality, however, during the final charge message I knew that Christ was speaking directly to me. I can still remember John Bradshaw appealing to me “Can you yield to Jesus today.” My friend and I represent just two individuals out of the crowds that stood up for appeals, and left GYC with a new life. Though GYC may be known by its famous speakers and big city venues, the power of the movement comes from the small decisions that individuals make. It is no surprise then, that many people fervently engaged in ministry can trace their decisions for change back to GYC. Jesus – While the GYC themes are creative, the messages presented at GYC never cease to revolve around Jesus. It was such a blessing to be surrounded by so many people who love the Lord. When breakfast conversations turn into networking sessions, waiting lines into a chorus of hymns and, complete strangers turn into prayer groups, you know that God is doing something special. Even though you can experience Jesus at home or at your local church, being surrounded by thousands of people who love Jesus definitely finds a way of impressing the presence of Christ heavily upon you. There is nothing particularly special about thousands of people gathering together into one place, neither is there anything specially astonishing in youth being dedicated to a common cause. However what makes GYC peculiar is its spirit. Seeing so many people excited about hastening the Lord’s coming is quite amazing and encouraging. If you have never been there I would encourage you to go. t
Fall 2012 Evangelism As one of the means of reaching their universities with the gospel, Adventist students on secular universities hold Bible Lecture Series to which they invite their campus. In this newsletter, we feature five such evangelistic campaigns with reflections from individuals who were involved in their planning and execution. ∙∙∙ Michigan Technological University “12/21/12: The end of the world?” People across the world prepared for what they believed would be the Mayan apocalypse. Meanwhile, just a month before, in November, on the campus of Michigan Technological University, was another group learning the truth about the end of the world during a weeklong Bible Lecture Series. Former CAMPUS missionary, Ezra Kenyanya, presented the biblical perspective on final day events. Since many of the attendees were non-members, he first presented what the five major religions teach about the end of the world. We concluded with the understanding that though each of the five major religions seem to agree on an “end,” they differ on the particulars such as when, how, and what happens after. Our attendees asked, like the disciples had asked of Jesus, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt 24:3). And the week’s message and appeal echoed Christ’s response in the very next verse, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Ezra wrapped up the meetings with a charge to continue seeking answers from the Bible. With the support of our local church, our small student group of only three was able to invite and bring an average of 15 attendees per night. We used posters, emails, newspaper, and radio, but, like most meetings and events, most of the attendees came as a result of a direct invitation. Compared to many other evangelistic series across the world where thousands attend and are baptized every day, our small Bible Lecture Series may have been a discouragement to some. However, three precious souls signed up for Bible study and, as a result of all the presentations, Bible studies and most importantly prayer, one soul has made a decision for baptism! In a church where it is said that only one percent of public evangelism make a decision for baptism, encouragement and joy fills the hearts of our little
student group as we have exceeded that percentage. “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7) Let us continue giving heaven a reason to rejoice over and over again, one soul at a time! Michigan State University Every year at Michigan State University the Adventist Student Fellowship organizes an evangelistic series on campus. We were excited this past year because we knew that the Lord was going to bless us spiritually. As soon as the flyers were ready, we began to pass them out on campus. The CAMPUS missionaries, who are part of this year’s Missionary Training Program, helped us with this effort and in all, about 3,500 flyers were passed out to students, dorms, and homes. From October 15-19 of 2012, Pastor Mark Howard, the Director of Immanuel Institute, came and preached the series, entitled “Finding Purpose in Daniel’s Prophecies,” for us. There were students who came because they received a flyer when we went door-to-door. We also had students who had already been studying with us come to the series.
KIMBERLY SHIN CAMPUS Chaplain, Michigan Technological University
DANIEL JEAN-FRANCOIS Assistant Pastor, East Lansing University SDA
JAMES ERVIN II Bible Worker, Ann Arbor SDA
SEBASTIEN BRAXTON Program Director, CAMPUS MTP
The messages had an impact. They convicted us to search our hearts and see our condition during this critical time that we are living in. After the series there were students who were serious about having Bible studies. Andrew Watson who has been studying the Bible with us for about a year made a decision for baptism. How exciting it was to see a soul take a stand for the Lord. Eastern Michigan University As we considered the spiritual state of Eastern Michigan University as well as the many world tragedies, it became clear that true progress would be impossible without change, and true change would be impossible without God. This insight, along with other factors, gave birth to the Prophecies of Change Bible series which were hosted on campus from November 11th through December 16th, 2012. To make the meetings more accessible, we held the meetings every Sunday during that time period, at a time when other religious students would regularly attend services. The five selected topics – the validity of the Bible, God’s character, the judgment, the second coming, and the 3
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millennium & hell – were chosen based upon a sense of the issues and needs of the campus. It was our prayer and aim, through these five topics, that the students left the series having more trust in God’s Word and character, more awareness of what Christ is doing for us now, more readiness for His soon return, and more hope in His promised change. Roughly ten souls attended each meeting; five of whom were non-Adventist and came because they received a personal invitation from an Adventist student. Many of the students who attended the meetings were extremely blessed and challenged, so much so that four of the five non-Adventist students made decisions for further Bible studies once school resumed after break. True to their word all four were in attendance this week at our Wednesday evening Bible study, which we have every week, and just today (1/17/13) one of the four had her first personal Bible study. Here at Eastern Michigan University, we are witnessing sparks of progress, which by the grace of God will ignite into flames of change.
University of Michigan ”I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. For your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” These were the words of Gandhi in response to a Christian friend who challenged Gandhi on his employment of the philosophy of Jesus in his movement of passive resistance, but reluctance to join the Christian faith. The spirit of the age suggests that Gandhi is not alone in his reception of Christian values but rejection of the Christian faith. In an attempt to meaningfully engage such disappointed hearts, from December 3rd-8th, a series was conducted at the University of Michigan, entitled, ”Has Christianity Failed You?” It is a known fact that many youth turn to other movements and religions seeking what they thought could only be found in Christianity. Many turn away from Christianity disappointed, hurt, and angry, feeling as if they have been lied to or duped into a movement of organized hypocrisy. But is it really Christianity that has failed them? The series began with the message, ”Where Atheists, God and Gandhi Agree.” Amidst the half-filled auditorium were
a few students eager to engage in the Q&A portion, hoping to obtain the Christian perspective on war as well as a passionate demand for why so many Christians are falling short of Jesus’ example and ideal. The impact of the talks were felt immediately. One young man, a Christian nuclear engineering student, approached me after the opening night seeking my contact information. He expressed disappointment in his current church and Christian group which filled the time with more pontificating than preaching. Another young lady, an active member years ago but now inactive, came to the series and then approached me about her openness to studying the Bible.
JANUARY 30, 2013
UPCOMING EVENTS February 1-3 GYC Studies Camp Au Sable Grayling, MI April 6 Collegiate Sabbath
Not only were the presentations impacting those present, but due to the live-streaming feed, it was impacting other parts of North America as well as listeners in Europe.
April 13 Black Tie Affair
As the presentations came to a conclusion Saturday evening, it was abundantly clear that in all the issues raised by Atheists, Gandhi, and even God Himself, none were against Christ, but only against those who claimed to follow Him.
April 20 MTP Graduation Ann Arbor, MI
And so we end where we began, with the words of Gandhi, ”I’ll become a Christian the day I meet one.” Central Michigan University Every weekend, from September 7-23, Israel Ramos and Sebastien Braxton held a series of Bible lectures in Central Michigan University’s French Auditorium. The event was hosted by Sola Scriptura, an Adventist student organization on campus in cooperation with the Mt. Pleasant Seventh-day Adventist Church. This event was the result of a more aggressive effort at evangelistically targeting the 13 major universities that CAMPUS has a presence on as well as a refocus in better connecting with local Adventist churches in Michigan that are in university towns. Part of the initiative includes training local churches into becoming university churches – a process whereby local congregations in these areas view reaching the university campuses as their primary ministry to the community. t
The Update is a publication operated by CAMPUS with the purpose of informing our sponsors, friends, and students of Adventist student activity on secular campuses in Michigan.
Editor: Sikhu Hlatshwayo Layout and Design: John Yoon