By Amy Hauptman

Creating Space for Latino Fellowship

Only 10 of the 600+ Latino students at Brown University were involved in any Christian fellowship on campus.

Why was this?

InterVarsity student and junior Monica Perez wrestled with this question during the Katrina Relief Urban Plunge. She met students from 10 other campuses with thriving Latino ministries in their InterVarsity chapters. After hearing these students’ stories, Monica sensed God was inviting her to reach out to Latino students at Brown University.

“God showed me that Latino students didn’t have a space on campus where they felt they could be understood or learn more about Jesus,” said Monica. “And I knew that this shouldn’t be.”

So Monica decided to take a step of faith and started a LaFe InterVarsity Bible study with the help and guidance of her InterVarsity staff. The Bible passage that God kept putting on her heart was the passage about Jesus inviting his disciple Peter to walk on water (Matthew 14:22-33).

Stepping Out In Faith

“I believed that God was calling me into leadership, but I needed to actually step out of the boat and see that he would carry me,” said Monica. “I didn’t know much about leading a Bible study, and I also didn’t know who would attend. But I knew that I just needed to step out in faith.”

So what did Monica do?

She started passionately inviting Latino students to study Jesus’ life together in community through inductive Bible study. She wanted to provide a space that would satisfy Latino students’ hunger for Latino fellowship at Brown University, as well as address their spiritual hunger.

Today, over 25 Latino students are involved in Monica’s Bible study.

“We went from 8 committed members in the beginning stages to now over 25 students,” said Monica. “We have seen members come to faith this semester. People are excited about inviting their friends.  And we have built a lot of trust with other students.”

Remarkable Latino Fellowship

But what’s even more remarkable to Monica is that these Latino students “probably never would have gotten involved in any sort of Christian fellowship if it had not been for LaFe.”  And the students involved in her Bible study are also really close friends—they hang out outside of Bible study.

Each week, Monica and her co-leader challenge their Bible study to do something in response to what they learned from Scripture that week. Week to week, the challenge may include striking up a conversation, praying boldly, or reflecting on a specific biblical passage.

“Through our friendships, we have been able to keep each other accountable to the Scripture that we learned that week,” said Monica. “It’s been a blessing to see the eagerness that God has placed in all of us. The discussions are always vibrant and life-giving, and we have seen a real transparency and trust in the group.”

The group is growing quickly, and Monica and her co-leader are praying about what their next steps should be as they expand LaFe’s outreach on campus.

“In the end, I couldn’t be more excited for what God’s been doing at Brown University,” said Monica. “We have been seeing momentum, and Latino students are getting excited to grow in their faith.”