Craig (name changed to maintain privacy) was a freshman at UCSD who came into the school year as an atheist (as shown above on his Facebook page). He met some InterVarsity students who were part of the freshmen bible study in his dorm and started coming out to the bible studies out of curiosity. He also began going downtown to feed the homeless with InterVarsity’s urban ministry. During the Fall quarter, he began learning more about Jesus through the Scripture as well as developing deeper friendships with the students in his bible study. At the last large group of the Fall Quarter, we had asked Craig to share his story about his journey of checking out faith. He shared his story in front of 200 students and ended his story with: “I’m not a Christian, but I want to continue to learn more about God and myself.” Later that night, Dora (one of the InterVarsity staff) gave a call to faith inviting any students who wanted to give their lives to Jesus to stand. After a moment of quietness with no one standing… Craig stood up!!! After that night, his freshmen bible study threw a “Jesus birthday” party for him celebrating his faith decision and also had an informal interview of what happened for him. Here is the email that Hannah, his dorm team leader sent to us about that night:
Hey IV staff!
Here are some notes I jotted from when we interviewed Craig:
Q: Why did you decide to stand?
A: I was not completely sure. But it felt real. I wanted to stand up and knew that I wanted to live like Jesus. And I felt so loved when people were praying for me, I almost cried.
Q: How did you feel when you first checked out IV?
A: I had never been to anything like this. I wondered “why do they believe all this stuff?” I wanted to know. It was nice hanging out. It felt like anyone could be accepted.
Q: What did you think of God?
A: I thought it would be pretty cool if there was a god like that, but that would be La La land. It wouldn’t be possible. It wouldn’t be real. Like believing in Captain America.
Q: What was one moment when you felt “hey this God could be real”?
A: Definitely felt real when I was sharing at large group and heard other people’s stories at large group, like the story of how God changed the life of that guy from Mira Costa. Also, last night at Homeless ministry. The homeless weren’t complaining or asking for anything. They were just sharing about their lives, and they were so thankful and said they felt blessed, and that was so inspiring. That got me thinking, they have some love that the world isn’t giving them. What could it be?
Another cool thing: So his suitemate Micah, who was in the freshman track at fall retreat, couldn’t make it to large group so Craig read his testimony again from his paper. What was interesting was that on his paper he had written something like this toward the end: “I’m not a Christian, but I want to continue to learn more about God and myself.” But he didn’t read that part when he was sharing at large group, and then he stood up to become Christian moments after he stepped off the stage. 🙂
Also, another cool thing is what I mentioned at breakfast! Nick, who is agnostic, volunteered to pray for Craig at his Jesus bday celebration!! I know he is uncomfortable with prayer, but he still volunteered. And I remember this exact sentence from his prayer : “God it’s so cool to hear Craig’s story of how you are moving in his life today.” And this was super significant to me because earlier this quarter Nick and I had a vulnerable spiritual conversation and he told me one of the reasons why he doesn’t believe in God is because its hard for him to believe that God is present and moving in our lives actively today, in the present time. So yea that was super powerful!
But yea here’s the email 🙂 praise God for all that He is doing!!
Craig’s story is just an amazing example of how the Lord uses friends, community to reach out to someone to bring them to Him. One update about the story… later in the year, Craig’s agnostic suite mate, Nick, also gave his life to the Lord! But that will take another blog post to share his story 🙂