When Everything Goes Wrong, Don’t Panic

Mark Slaughter, regional evangelist for the Great Lakes West region, almost didn’t make it to the Campus Mission that had been planned on the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus. The first of two late winter blizzards (that blanketed the campus with over two feet of snow) cancelled his flight. But he caught another flight and joined almost a dozen other InterVarsity staff from various campuses for the outreach that had been planned for four months.

When he finally arrived on campus, further obstacles appeared.

I-Zones were planned for the outreach, interactive exhibits that focused on topics such as heaven, purpose in life, and the HIV/AIDS crisis. The I-Zones were designed to give staff and students the opportunity to have conversations that can lead to invitations to other outreach events. The only problem was that partitions to hold the exhibits didn’t arrive when they were supposed to. After praying, one student suggested calling a friend in the Chancellor’s office. “That’s pretty high up the collegiate food chain,” Mark commented. But the Chancellor’s office sent over the needed partitions.

Outreach Café’s were planned in some of the dorms to give students the chance to have spiritual discussions. The hall director at one dorm informed students at the last minute that the dorm lounge could not be used for the Café, even though it had been reserved two weeks in advance. “They decided to pray, and moved the café into a small dorm room,” Mark reported. “Suddenly it became the thing to do.” Soon thirty laughing students were crammed into every square inch of the room (photo above), with Mark in the center answering questions.

Finally came the day of the Harvest event, the big wrap-up meeting that had been planned. That was when the second blizzard arrived. Most of the events scheduled on campus that day were cancelled. “We wondered if we should cancel too,” Mark reported. “But many students came to the Harvest because we were the only major thing happening on campus that night. Sixteen students accepted Christ’s Lordship, several others stayed afterward to talk.”

The next night the InterVarsity students gathered to celebrate God’s work. “One by one students stood to tell stories of seeing God’s amazing work in their friends’ lives,” Mark reported. “We initially questioned whether the Campus Mission would happen. God taught us all how to do a mission flooded (or ‘blizzarded’) in prayer.”