Sophomore Alex Jerve keeps a copy of Matthew 11:29 on his desk in his dorm room, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” The verse reminds Alex that he serves God first during the busy semesters at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. “It's definitely been my verse to live by and what I try to help freshmen understand,” said Alex.
Alex joined InterVarsity a year ago after attending a few of the chapter’s outreach events. “I always identified myself as a Christian and was given a lot of involvement opportunities in high school, but I started to realize there's more to it than just going to church,” said Alex.
This year, when asked to lead a Bible study for other young men in his residence hall, Alex realized he needed to be more grounded in Scripture. “I heard all the time I should do quiet times, but they felt like a waste of time,” said Alex. In November, he committed to reading the Bible and praying regularly and his faith has grown in the process.
Alex’s spiritual growth is reflective of the whole chapter. Many student leaders have graduated and the chapter is small. Recently during a chapter retreat, students spent a day studying the Bible and discussing their purpose on campus. The retreat helped to unify members and gave them a desire to see students come to know Jesus. “Everybody was so excited to share The Word on campus, including some guys from my Bible study,” said Alex.
Alex has been encouraging two of these men to reach out to others in their dorm, such as using movie nights to connect with residents or just being available to people on their floor. Next year, the two will also lead small group Bible studies. “We're ready to do the things Christ has given us to do,” said Alex.
The Word in Chinese
Gloria Yen, a senior in music history at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, has been involved with InterVarsity for four years. Last fall, she led an evangelistic Bible study for the first time.
Evangelism has hardly ever struck chords of excitement within me, mostly just notes of fear and apprehension. However, I found myself sitting in my apartment before the start of this school year, tentatively praying for an opportunity to lead an investigative Bible study with a non-Christian, what InterVarsity calls a GIG (Group Investigating God).
A couple of weeks into the semester, during an InterVarsity leadership meeting, my friends shared about an international student from China, nicknamed Mike, who wanted to learn more about following Jesus. Instantly my heart beat faster as I thought, “Here it is, Gloria! You know how to speak Chinese! This is the GIG you’ve been praying for!”
Mike and I began meeting and studying the Bible together. Thanks to my parents, I’m fluent in conversational Mandarin Chinese, but I cannot read or write. Every week, as he read aloud the Bible passage in Chinese, I would follow along in English, my mind racing to remember key words, many of which I didn’t know. What I did know was that God was at work in Mike’s heart.
Five weeks into our study, Mike surrendered his life to Jesus. Since then, he’s committed to faithfully building his relationship with God and continues to quench his thirst for the Word on his own, in our meetings, and at a Bible study for Chinese students he has started to attend. I’m so thankful for our friendship and the ways God continues to work in and through it! Our journey together has been a reminder to me that God doesn’t expect us to have all the answers. Rather, he promises to go before us, equipping us for whatever he calls us to do for the glory of his name.