This whole first week of classes has been a “Welcome Week” of sorts. It has been a fun way to promote events and invite people to a variety of different things. We’ve had an ice cream social, capture the flag, a worship night, and last night was the bonfire. We recognized some nights were a bigger hit than others.
Let me tell you: the bonfire was a hit.
On any given Thursday night, the majority of campus can be found with alcohol in hand. This particular Thursday night, somewhere between 50-60 people had a different agenda.
This was a big deal. We have anywhere between 100-120 students at our Tuesday weekly meetings, which is great. One of our biggest events, Retreat, had 60 or so students last spring. Events though can sometimes be hit or miss, especially during the first week of school. The bonfire wasn’t necessary about numbers though… it was about passion.
Rewind back a little to yesterday afternoon. My friend and I had gone to several different dorms to follow up on freshman who had shown an interest in Christian organizations on campus. We only met one girl on our mission, but this girl was great. Once we explained who we were and why we were at her dorm, we saw excitement. As we invited her to Tuesday’s weekly meeting and the other events ending the week, she pointed us to Cru posters she had put up on her floor. She said she would be at the bonfire (get this) with her whole floor. This was a freshman, who had never once been to a Cru event, advertising for one. My friend and I were so excited and figured we would see her around, little did we know exactly what we would find when we ran into her next.
Fast forward through the rest of an extremely busy day, 4 classes, a 12 minute lunch, and half a nap. All I could think about was curling up with a solid book or dozing off to a movie. Reluctantly though, I went to the bonfire, only to find our friend we met earlier, with almost her ENTIRE floor. She wasn’t lying to us. She wasn’t the only freshman though. I would estimate that over half of those around the fire were freshman. Another freshman from the other side of campus had encouraged his floor to join him also. I heard person after person relay their excitement for this upcoming year, and their upcoming time with Cru.
Riding away from the bonfire hours later, I was in awe of God. This summer my phone background read the words “PFTF” – Pray for the Freshman. I tried to throw a prayer or thought up each time I checked my phone and before going to bed. I prayed for students with a passion and fervor. I prayed for community and unity. I asked for relationships to build that would be centered around the Lord. And here, the first week of classes, at this bonfire, I think I saw God wink at me. (It wasn’t a chuckle or a smile, just a wink to catch me off-guard and make me laugh). He heard my feeble prayers, and the prayers of many others as they also prayed for this group of incoming freshman.
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”