Catherine’s dorm room is always filled with an eclectic mix of people: A Nigerian foreign exchange student, an eccentric theater major, a Christian from Catherine’s small group Bible study, a neighbor from down the hall. Catherine has always had the gift of hospitality, but it has taken almost three years at Ramapo College of New Jersey to become confident in her ability to lead.
As a sophomore and junior, Catherine only came to InterVarsity activities once in awhile. Her faith was important to her, but she didn’t feel like she had much to contribute to the chapter, and she was heavily involved in Ramapo’s biology club. Last year, despite her inhibitions, Catherine’s small group Bible study convinced her to accompany them to Chapter Focus Week.
Knowing that the InterVarsity chapter was in need of student leaders and recognizing leadership gifts in Catherine, one of the staff workers encouraged her to join the leadership team for the next fall. Reluctantly, Catherine agreed. At first she was uncomfortable being called a leader. After all, in her mind she was only doing administrative work: sending out emails and brainstorming outreach ideas with the other leaders. She didn’t feel like she was contributing, or that she could contribute, to the real work of the ministry.
But her staff workers kept cheering her on, giving her words of affirmation and encouragement. They knew what Catherine couldn’t see at first: that when she walked into a room the atmosphere changed. She connected people; she brought people together and made them feel comfortable.
Slowly, Catherine began to leave behind her insecurities, shedding them like heavy winter clothing at the beginning of spring. She did what she had always done, but now with more intentionality: she built relationships with Christians and non-Christians alike; she opened her apartment door to anyone who wanted to hang out, which has led to diverse groups of people spending time together; and she prayed regularly for her roommates and friends who don’t know Christ.
This is Catherine’s last semester at Ramapo, but that hasn’t slowed down her ambition to serve God. She has decided to step out in faith and confidence to lead a group of her friends in a GIG (Group Investigating God) Bible study.
Catherine is eagerly entering a new phase of her Christian walk. Not only does she realize that she has something to offer, but she is walking forward in her faith, gaining wisdom and compassion for non-Christian students along the way. And most alluringly, she is learning to trust God; and God has been faithful to Catherine, using her gifts in such a way that it has changed the face of Ramapo’s InterVarsity chapter. Catherine’s unique ability to foster an accountable, fun, and loving community has uplifted and renewed Ramapo’s InterVarsity chapter. Their new motto is, “Ramapo IV, when you’re here, you’re family!”