Monday, October 29, 2012

What's your perspective?

Half of the semester is behind us and the rest will be a memory in no time. It is amazing to me how so many days seem to last forever yet I can't believe this past year has gone by so fast. Our perspective changes everything.
It is easy in campus ministry to let things that happen, circumstances, get you down. Sometimes it gets you wishing the semester would hurry up and end so you can rest from it all. But if you take a step back, slow down and refocus...your perspective changes and excitement for what God is doing and will continue to do overcomes those negative feelings.
In life there are always those people who never seem to get it, whatever "it" might be. In ministry, that "it" is Jesus and the abundant life his life, death and resurrection freely gives to all who accept it. When  you watch students continually chose a lifestyle that leads them nowhere but destruction even though they hear and see something so much better week after week, your heart breaks and doubts creep in. You wonder if what you are doing is making a difference, if it is worth it, if you are good enough.
Our mission here at El Pozo is to love students, know Jesus and change the that really possible? Will our loving students and teaching them about Jesus week in and week out really change the world??
The truth is, there are students we invest in every week that just don't get it. Maybe one day they will, and we pray for that everyday, but right now they don't and it can be frustrating. It can get us down and make us wonder if we are doing things right. BUT then there are students who do get it. They have been loved, they have met Jesus and are changing the world, or at least heading in that direction. We see God working in them and living through them and excitement builds again. Our perspective shifts from lamenting the ones that "got away" to being excited for those who are getting it. Now of course that doesn't mean we just forget about all those who are choosing the world over Jesus. We continue to love and serve them in the name of Jesus, but our perspective is one that doesn't let those things that are out of our control slow us down or hold us back.

Here are a few students who are getting it...

Bego has been around for several years. She has grown in her faith and lives it out daily. Bego gets it...Today she sees my teammate Kami on campus and starts chatting with her while the friend she was with went inside to buy breakfast. After they have a little chat about Tuesday nights' En Vivo talk that Kami was putting some finishing touches on, Bego's friend returns. Bego then proceeds to ask Kami the exact same questions and repeat the exact same conversation they had just had so that her friend could hear it. That conversation brought up our monthly community service projects, our annual spring break mission trip, Thursday devotional lunches and several other activities we do at El Pozo. Bego was able to use that conversation as an opportunity to share with her friend about all that God is doing through El Pozo and invite him in a nonthreatening way to be a part of it. Bego is graduating in December and has the desire to go to Spain for a year as an intern with the Globascope campus ministry in Salamanca. Although most of her family is disappointed with her decision not to get a job that relates to her major, she would rather follow her God and disappoint her family than disappoint her God and follow her family. Bego gets it.

Bego with new band member Frank
Rebeca has been a friend of mine and El Pozo's for many years now. Apart from our weekly lunches to talk about life, she hasn't always been around or part of the ministry on a consistent basis until just recently. A year ago, Rebeca wouldn't have stood up in front of everyone and used the words "we" and "us" to talk about El Pozo but those are exactly the words she used last Thursday to make an announcement inviting the community to support her flag football team. It brought a smile to all of our faces to know that the years we have spent loving her and showing her Jesus has made a difference. She also recently has started to attend church regularly for the first time since I have known her and is taking steps to grow in her faith and make it a priority in her life. Rebeca is getting it and inviting her friends to be apart of it with her.

Rebeca with two friends she invited to En Vivo, Polo and Valles

Hugo is about to graduate in December as well, but will then start his Master's in January and so will probably be around for another two years. Hugo started playing in the band earlier this year and recently has really stepped up as a leader in big ways. He constantly is looking for ways to improve the band and other areas of the ministry so that those who come can have the best experience possible...not so that they will pat him on the back and say "good job", but so that each fellow student has the chance to meet the Jesus that he knows and follows. Hugo has not had the easiest life. He has been hurt more than most students at the university here, but in the pain of it all he met a God who loves him more than he could ever imagine. Hugo has talents and passions that God is using to bring glory to His name even in the midst of his doubts and insecurities. He lights up when he talks about how much he wants so and so to know Jesus and the need in this or that place for people to serve God. Hugo gets it and even when he lets doubts creep in, just a few reminders of who God is and who we are in Him, gets Hugo back on track and getting it again.

Hugo and other band member Charisse serving Thursday lunch
Thank you for all of your prayers and support. For helping these guys get "it" and being a part of what God is doing to change the world. Pray for Bego as she raises financial support to go to Spain and for strength to continue to follow God in spite of her family's opposition. Pray for Rebeca as she continues to take her faith more seriously, that it will be a priority in her life always. Pray for Hugo to recognize the talents and passions God has given him and not let anything get in the way of him using those to bring glory to God. Pray also for all the other students who get it and desire to serve God daily,  for those who are just starting down that road towards life and for those who seem so far away, that we will be able to show them God.