By Amy Hauptman

Surprised by InterVarsity

“When I went to college, I wanted to run away from the church,” said Geogy Thomas. “I felt like I needed a clean break. College was going to be my time to have fun.”

As Geogy was packing for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, his mom pulled him aside and prayed for him.  She told him: “Find a Bible study at college. I need you to be part of a Bible study.”

“Looking back, I realized that God was speaking to me through my mom because my mom wasn’t a strong believer at the time,” Geogy said.  Once on campus, Geogy came across InterVarsity’s booth and noticed students playing volleyball nearby.

Discovering InterVarsity

“I thought InterVarsity was a volleyball club for Christians,” said Geogy. “I remembered my mom’s request and thought that I could hang out with a group of Christians but also play one of my favorite sports.”

Geogy soon found out what InterVarsity was all about. “A couple of guys invited me to a Bible study and what I saw surprised me,” he recalled.  “I  saw people being real and honest about their struggles.” Through the Bible study Geogy realized that Christians are people who care, love, and have a desire to serve.

After a semester of the InterVarsity Bible study, Geogy was invited to not only attend Urbana, InterVarsity’s student missions conference, but also lead an Urbana Bible study.  What he discovered at Urbana changed his life forever.

Discovering Urbana

“Before Urbana, I began to understand who Christians were because of my InterVarsity chapter,” he stated. “At Urbana, I began to see Jesus for who he was because of the Urbana theme that year – Lord  of the universe, hope for the world.

In Urbana’s auditorium, Geogy gave his life completely to Jesus.  He also began praying for his family, that they too would understand how great God truly is and that they too would give their entire lives to following Jesus.   

Geogy returned to campus ready to grow in his faith.  As he grew, Geogy’s mom began to notice a change in him. “My mom saw the Lord working through my life,” said Geogy.  “Everything that I was learning, I couldn’t share it fast enough.”

Three years later, Geogy went to Urbana again, and this time, he invited his mom to come with him. “She came and was blown away,” he said. “She started to see what I saw at Urbana—the love of God spoken through each speaker and 20,000 people in love with the Lord.”

At Urbana 93, two significant events happened: Geogy’s mom rededicated her life to Jesus and Geogy met Jessie, the woman who would become his wife.  Jessie also came to Christ through InterVarsity. 

Other members of Geogy’s family have committed to following Jesus with their whole lives because of the transformation they saw God work in Geogy and his mom.

Discovering a Mission

Today, Geogy is the medical director of Indian Mountain Clinic in Jellico, Tennessee, where he serves low-income and uninsured people.  He and his wife felt called to stay in the U.S. though they had considered overseas missions.

Geogy and Jessie include not only their clinic but also their church as part of their mission. When the church dwindled to about ten members, they began leading Bible studies (using the same Bible study methods they had learned in InterVarsity).  They also began outreach to college students at their local community college.

Today, Geogy is one of their church’s pastors and their church has a thriving college ministry that serves 80-85 students. The church will be helping send some of the students to Urbana 12 in St. Louis, December 27-31, 2012.

“If I could tell InterVarsity staff workers anything, it would be: You do not know the profound impact that InterVarsity has in our world and in our culture,” said Geogy.