These are the questions that college students are always being asked. As soon as students step onto campus soil, these questions motivate students to eat-study-sleep (and repeat) until graduation.
While I came to college to cultivate my interests and dreams, I realize now that God brought me to college to pour Miracle Gro on my soul. For my entire life, I had lived comfortably under the umbrella of my parent’s faith until God used an InterVarsity staff member my freshman year of college to ask me:
“Will you follow Jesus?”
This question not only shocked my ‘cultural Christian roots,’ but it also sent me on a journey of curiosity. What does it mean to truly follow Jesus? What will that require of me? How will I know where he wants me to go? Although, I didn’t completely know the answer to these questions, I knew that I wanted to follow him whatever that looked like.
The summer after my junior year, I took a risk and followed Jesus on an InterVarsity Global Urban Trek to Manila, Philippines. I thought I was giving up a summer to learn more about God’s heart for the world. Instead, God brought me half-way across the world to show me what his heart actually looks like.
I remember seeing examples of true generosity and hospitality as my host family sacrificed their only bed for me for six weeks, so that I might be comfortable while they slept on the hard concrete floor.
I remember learning what it looks like to honor another person, as I was invited to eat all my meals before the rest of the family. Though this was sometimes difficult for me to receive, God showed me the precious gift that this family was giving me at every meal and I should not reject it.
I remember experiencing true compassion and sacrifice as my host mother spent her precious money to buy me special food when I was sick with the flu.
That summer provided me with some of the most important and foundational experiences that I could receive as a new Jesus-follower. These examples of true sacrifice, kindness, compassion and generosity were the spiritual Miracle Gro that gave me a foundation of how to live my life for Jesus.
It’s been nine years since I started following Jesus, and I am still on campus (now as an InterVarsity staff member), and I am honored that I get to continue to witness spiritual Miracle Gro affecting students’ lives. Just as God used one question and one summer to produce much fruit in my life, I look forward to seeing God produce so much more than I could ever imagine in the generations of students to come.
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11
Amy Hauptman is an InterVarsity Campus Leader at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, NV, and a part-time Campus Staff Member at the University of Nevada, Reno. She graduated from UC Davis in 2006 with a BA in Comparative Literature. She has a heart for the ‘towns’ and ‘villages’ of college ministry (the junior and community colleges). She would also say that the three driving forces in her life, besides her love for coffee, are to see, learn and enjoy as much as possible.