“There are a few things that we’re hoping to see in Cru this semester. First, we want to build a sense of community within the fellowship. I guess you could call it a Cru-munity [laughs]. I think we definitely need to build and strengthen the relationships with one another.
Another thing we’re hoping to do more is evangelism and reaching out to nonbelievers. I think evangelism starts with building relationships with one another. Something I’ve seen is one of the servant leaders reaching out over the past year to her roommate, who is not a believer, but has seen the way this leader lives out her life. Her process in learning to know God hasn’t been an overnight change, but it’s been through their relationship and seeing that this Cru leader has something that she doesn’t have–this stability in Jesus that she can’t find elsewhere–that she is coming to know Christ. It’s been so exciting watching her journey unfold over the last year.
This is why I think it’s so important to build community within first. It’s difficult to do outreach until we’ve also worked on strengthening bonds within our fellowship. Otherwise, we have nothing to show for when nonbelievers look at us.”
“Right now, I’ve been granted time. I have time to study the Word and pray and be nourished by other people. That’s how I’m able to see the real things: I’m seeing every day that I’m a horrible person, and that opens up so many doors to really know God’s love. If you want to know who God is, you have to understand your own depravity. Once you start understanding that, then you’ll see that God is so much bigger and so much holier than you thought, and I’ve been delighting in God so much in so many ways…I believe God loves Latinos. He does, He really does. He loves everyone and He has a place for this group of people. And, even though we’re from many countries, have very different immigration stories, different languages and all those things, there are many things that we share. My vision for La Fe this year is to make a bigger fellowship where Latinos can say, ‘Oh! I belong here, I am Latino, I have this way of being and God will find me where I am.’”
“As president, or spiritual leader – that’s really what I am – my responsibility is to keep up with everyone and be the person they can go to if they ever need someone to talk to them or pray over them…But I’ve been realizing and learning that I can’t just look at the effort I put into it and expect to see results. I need to just rest in God and just sing for his glory and leave the rest up to him. I think for a long time, I thought that our mission was to outreach, but that’s not our mission. Our mission is to glorify God in song, and first and foremost, we sing for God and only God. Other people, they’re like our secondary audience, and it’s through the joy that we have – through worshiping God – that we hope to touch other people’s hearts. And that’s what our vision for outreach is. That God would present us with hopefully more opportunities to sing for non-Christian audiences, because only he can give us these opportunities. And that we would have the right hearts so that when we do get the chance to sing for different kinds of audiences, that we would sing with a passion and joy so strong that they can’t help but be touched.”
“A verse I like to remind myself to live by is ‘The Great Commission’ when Jesus says ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, therefore go work hard in college, get a good GPA, get a high paying job, and fulfill everything your parents want you to do-‘ NO, that’s not what he says. He said ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations’- especially all nations, all ethnicities, all backgrounds. That is why I’m serving with Intervarsity. That is how, for me personally, I follow Jesus’ calling.”
“I grew up here [in America], and had a different experience than the people here at La Fe*; a lot of them are Hispanic student immigrants. There’s a lot of pride about where you come from. I was always confused about who I should identify with because I didn’t know. When I went to high school it was predominantly Caucasian and I didn’t think I would stick out like a sore thumb. I think I can be considered racially ambiguous. Am I black? Am I Hispanic?
I never identified myself with one group of people. I identify myself as a child of God. I don’t want to have restrictions with who I love more and who I love less. I just identify as all different children of God.”
“I feel like last year for me was definitely an academic high but a spiritual low. I only went to fellowships every so often and I wasn’t serving. But, over the summer I remembered the commitment I had made freshman year at International House of Prayer that I wanted to give my college years and really all my life to Christ and His plan. So, this year I just immersed myself into ministry and service, and it has really been a blessing. I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t always been easy. There have been times where my academic life has struggled because of it, but I feel like my priorities are right and that’s what keeps me going.
The song Even When it Hurts by Hillsong has helped me through so many difficulties. It talks about giving your life and your all to Christ even when it’s not easy, but ultimately His perfect desire and plan is to perfect us and make us more like Him. So, if it’s a part of His plan, count me in.”
‘After I brought up missions to my mom, she’s been telling me that I should go and get my Masters, then eventually my PhD. She’s like “Oh! You can become a professor and be a missionary in the classroom!” My parents love to bring up how Paul was an educated person and someone of high standing before he became a missionary. They’re like, “See? You can do that too!” But you know how Paul says in Philippians that whatever he gains, he counts as loss? He says he considers everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus… he considers everything else garbage that he may gain Christ. And my mom goes, “Where does he say that???” And I said, “Mom, it’s in the Bible.”
It’s interesting because I think that especially in our church, we see our parents supporting the idea of missions. They’ll look at the other kids becoming missionaries and support them, but when it comes down to their own kids, they say, “No, not you. You can’t go.” ‘
My dream is to do away completely with the current system – to have the mono-ethnic fellowships gone and to see more multi-ethnic groups come together. Our current system is like we have the hands over here and then the eyes over on the other side, but we’re not together. The eyes aren’t looking the hands and acknowledging that they’re of the same body; the feet aren’t acknowledging the eyes that they’re of the same body. We’re not acknowledging each other as One body, but isn’t that the way the Church should be?
We have something called community group with our freshmen class. Community group started two years ago with the current junior class. At the time, they were freshmen and wanted to see other freshmen from other fellowships come together, but by the end of their sophomore year, the community group had fallen apart. The idea was passed on to the next class, but now it’s just largely consisting of kids from their own fellowship. Now, it’s been passed on to us and that’s when we started thinking about revisiting this original idea of community group and reaching out to all the freshmen in fellowships across campus.
My friend and I started a Facebook group because we believe in establishing relationships and one-on-one time first. The idea is if there is somebody on a particular campus, they can post in the group, “Hey, I’ll be here at the dining hall for lunch from this time to this time. Who wants to join me? Who wants to meet somebody new?” Our hope is that the Facebook group can grow to encompass 100, maybe 200, freshmen.
“You know, people have been talking about a Rutgers revival for a long time. Even before I was a freshman, I remember my friend, who was two years above me, said that they had been praying and praying for revival ever since she was a freshman. The people before her prayed the same prayer too; people saw visions and dreams of revival here at Rutgers. Now we’re praying the same prayer and soon we’ll be passing the baton, which is exciting, but the reason I don’t say I have those kind of expectations for this semester is because I’ve learned that even though I can have my own expectations and plans, at the end of the day it’s not about me or what I can or cannot do. It’s about Him and what God can and will do and being content in that.”
“Freshmen year I went to Liberty University, which is a Christian college down in Virginia, but that didn’t work out for several reasons. I think the biggest issue was that I felt like I was living in a bubble–a big Christian bubble. So even though there were ministry opportunities, I didn’t really feel like people were doing too much to get involved in them because the whole school itself was one big ministry. People were there to be ministered to. Sophomore year I took a semester off and did a semester online while I tried to figure out what to do. I wanted to stay in New Jersey and Rutgers just seemed like the best option.
Things here are just so different. From the moment I step out my door in the morning–no, even before that, every moment is a ministry opportunity. I definitely feel like this is where the Lord wants me to be doing His work. And He’s teaching me so much from being involved in the Rutgers church plant, the Rutgers Oasis Church (ROC), about logistics of something like starting a ministry or planting a church which I think might be something that I’ll be doing in my future. He’s also making use of my drumming to serve him in several different worship settings which is a blessing and something I hope to be able to keep doing in whatever form possible. So yeah, the Lord’s definitely at work here and in me as I finish my degree, and I’m excited to see what He has in store for my future.”
(2/2) “I guess the answer is love. With all the other religions, it’s about doing things because you have to. It’s like you have an obligation. But like I said before, it’s about love. Not love between the community because other groups have that, but about the love from God to us. Have you ever thought why He even created man? He didn’t have to to show His glory but He did. I don’t know… this is all something I’m discovering for myself. Growing up in Hinduism, I never got answers. I was always told to practice it because I had to. With Christianity, I get to ask questions, although that gets a little annoying because I’m so analytical and I want the answers. But not everyone has answers and that’s been something I’ve been learning recently. I think it’s God’s way of showing me who He is and my own limitations.
This semester has felt a lot different than last semester. I guess I hung out a lot more with fellowship friends then. But I met these freshmen last semester and I’ve been hanging out with them more now and I feel some of my old ways coming back. It’s such a struggle. It wasn’t like I drank or partied before I became a Christian or anything but it’s just little temptations, you know? So I think about questions like why this is happening. I think maybe God is trying to get me to reach out to them, but I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out.”
(1/2) ‘I finally told somebody in my family that I was a Christian. You know how you have that one cousin who’s like a sister or brother to you? Yeah, so I told my cousin, “Oh yeah, I’m a Christian now.” He was like, “Oh, that’s cool!” which is surprising because he’s a really devout Hindu. Anyway, so now it’s one down, and twenty more to go.
I need to tell them, but it’s hard. I think my Dad would be fine because he’s more of a logically-based person. He might be like “Don’t tell your mom.” [laughs] My mom is more emotionally-based, you know? She’s also pretty devout. She’d probably cry. It’s always like that with her. Even if I’m right, if she cries, and then I have to apologize because, well, she’s crying. I actually tried telling them earlier that I wasn’t Hindu anymore and my Dad told me “No, you can’t convert.” That was that.’
“Sophomore year of high school, I was really empty. I never really needed God until that point in my life and so when trials came I didn’t know if He was really there for me. I had no problem believing that a God existed, but the fact that He loved me and cared about me was hard to grasp because I never knew Him intimately or felt His presence personally. All I knew about Him was just things I learned in Sunday School. So I started to pray every night, ‘God if you’re actually there, show me that you love me.’ Every day I would pray this, for months. One day, I was out on the porch praying, looking up into the sky. As I was praying, this shooting star went straight across the sky.
Now, every time I see a shooting star, that’s what I remember- that God loves me.”
“It’s been five, almost six, years since I decided to follow Jesus, but even to this day, it’s been very hard for my parents. They used to go to church with me, then they told me I could only go once a month, and then the once a month turned into “Don’t ever go there anymore.” When my dad said that to me, I went to my room and just started crying and wondered ‘Lord, what am I to do now?’ It’s so hard and draining to argue with your parents; the beliefs are just so different. Sometimes, I forget to, but I would say pray for your own parents. That could take a day, ten days, ten years, twenty years for God to answer that prayer. It’s a lot to deal with, definitely, and it can be really emotionally draining just to talk to them about your faith. But keep going. Continue to know Christ, because He’s the only one you can depend on at the end of the day.”
“During Urbana(*), God stripped away from me the identity I had based in my friends and Christian community. I wasn’t able to live with any of the guys from my school because the housing situation didn’t really work out, so I ended up staying with some guys from my sister’s school instead. There were ten guys living in a room meant for two, which meant every night we had to take turns waiting to shower. One night, while I was waiting for the shower, I was just standing around in my underwear. It was a day where I had been struggling a lot and needed prayer. So I turned to these guys and shared with them what was on my heart. Without missing a beat, three of them came over and started praying for me. All I could think was, “Wow, here I am naked on a physical, emotional and spiritual level and here are these guys whom I hardly know and yet we’re all bound by our love for Jesus.”
“This one time, my younger brother, who’s six years old, wasn’t sharing something with my sister. They got into an argument and she said, “You know you’re not acting like a Christian.” Suddenly, he became really upset and became very defensive, “No, no, but I am a Christian!” Anxiously, he ran to find my mom and asked her if he was a Christian. She replied that only he could know for himself. Not satisfied with her answer, I remember him running up to me, distraught, saying, “Da jie, da jie (older sister), am I really a Christian?” I said, “Well, I don’t know. Are you?” And then I got to pray with him and he accepted Jesus as his Savior. That summer, he was really eager to learn all he could. He asked me if I could go to the library so we could check out books to know more about the Bible–like all these cartoons on the Old Testament and New Testament stories. We went and got bubble tea afterwards and as he’s flipping through these books, he looks at me all serious and says, “Why do I call my Tae-Kwon-Do teacher my master?” I explained to him it was a form of respect. He frowned, “But he isn’t my master! God is my master!” Sometimes I wish I grew up in a Christian home but I think God has definitely blessed me in so many ways despite it all. My relationship with my siblings have gotten so much better. Many times I feel like their mom because whenever something is really troubling them, they’ll come talk to me about it and I get to talk and pray with them.”