By Kathryn Brill

Saying Yes: A Freshman’s Leap of Faith

When freshman Alissa Fairchild arrived at the University of Southern California (USC) this fall, she knew exactly what she was looking for: a chance to share God’s love with others. “I wanted to embrace any opportunity God had for me,” she said. God honored her request and gave her an amazing way to show his love to the people right in front of her, impacting not only them but also Alissa herself.

Embracing God’s Call

It started when Alissa, a new member of USC’s InterVarsity chapter, attended an event where students ministered to each other in prayer. At this prayer meeting, Alissa saw firsthand God’s transformative power as students were healed from physical and emotional pain. She and her prayer partner had many opportunities to bless people through prayer. Alissa described it as an “amazing experience.”

It turned out that the prayer meeting was only the beginning, though. As Alissa left the event, she felt a call from God to pray in an unexpected place: “I was standing outside my dorm building, and I looked up to the window of my fourth floor suite, which I share with seven other girls, none of whom are Christian. When I looked up at my room, God told me, ‘Go up there and pray for your roommates.’” Although Alissa thought it sounded a little crazy (how would two atheists, four agnostics, and a Buddhist react to being prayed for?) she went ahead and said yes to God’s call. “There was a chance that they would completely shut me down, but there was also a chance that they would say they wanted prayer. And if there was even the slightest chance, I had to ask them,” she said.

Stepping Out in Faith

Alissa got back to her room and found four of her roommates there. They asked her how her evening had been, and she started telling them about the prayer meeting. She was beginning to get nervous about how she might approach them about prayer when her roommate O., an atheist, mentioned that her throat hurt really badly. “There is no way it could have been clearer that I needed to pray for her,” said Alissa. When Alissa asked her if she wanted prayer for her throat, O. responded, “I would love it if you prayed for me.” As Alissa prayed, she asked God not only to heal O’s throat, but also to fill her with his love. O. told Alissa afterwards that her throat felt much better and she felt “loved and at peace.”

Another roommate, an agnostic named H., witnessed Alissa praying for O. and said, “I wish that I was sick so you could pray for me!” Alissa explained to her that she didn’t need to be sick to receive prayer, and “she was so excited to be prayed for,” Alissa said. In the end, all four of Alissa’s roommates who were home received prayer. Alissa asked God to make his presence known to her roommates and give them an awareness of his love. All four told Alissa that they felt happy and loved as a result of the prayer. “I was absolutely overwhelmed by how God was moving in the lives of my roommates,” she said.

The Power of Prayer

God’s work in the lives of Alissa’s roommates didn’t end that evening. Alissa has offered to pray for her roommates whenever they need it, keeping the door open for future spiritual conversations and encounters with God. One of her roommates has gotten curious about Christianity, asking Alissa a lot of questions about Jesus and even exploring the Bible. “I can’t wait to see what else God does in my dorm room and at USC,” said Alissa. “I know he has big plans for both.”

As a result of this experience, Alissa now has a greater confidence in God’s ability to work in anyone’s life, no matter how hostile they might initially seem to Christianity. “People are searching for meaning and hope in their lives, and that is exactly what Jesus can provide for them,” Alissa said. “Although reaching out to non-Christians might seem really scary and intimidating, God will give us all the right words to say.”