From Byron & Michelle Graham — InterVarsity staff members at Northern Illinois University.
“Yeah, I figure I’ll become a Christian in about 10 years. I’m having fun right now. But I’m sure it will be sooner than that.” Manny’s prediction seems like a major understatement in the eyes of the InterVarsity students that were able to spend 20-plus hours of travel talking with Manny about God.
Over Spring Break, 50 students from Northern Illinois University and Rock Valley College traveled to Albany, Georgia to work with habitat for Humanity, building homes for the poor. A significant highlight was that 6 of the students are not yet Christians.
Every one of the non-Christians has since taken significant steps toward God. All of them attended the optional Bible studies at night, and have joined small groups or GIG’s (Groups Investigating God) since returning to campus.
Melanie was one such student. At the beginning of the trip she felt the need to warn everyone that she was an atheist. But after being given a New Testament, she had read half of it by the end of the week and couldn’t put it down. By the end of the trip Melanie declared that she could no longer deny God’s existence because of the loving community of believers. Returning to campus she is now trying to decide what she thinks about Jesus.
The Christian students seemed to not only learn a lot about evangelism, but also about God’s love for the poor and the oppressed. One evening the students had a discussion about racism in the south having seen more confederate flags just on the way down than they have in their lifetime. Several of the students of color shared what they feel as they see the flag and how they have been affected by racism. It was a Spirit-led moment of honesty that we are praying will translate into repentance, healing, and compassion in our fellowship.