Well everyone, we're already halfway through the fall semester! Hard to believe, right? Students are going through mid-term exams and our CoMission staff and student leaders are staying busy as they continue to meet new students and bring them into our Gospel-centered community. Here's what the Lord has done through CoMission over the last month and a half.
Every year in September, CoMission takes a group of students on a weekend fall retreat. This year, however looked a little different because of COVID-19. Instead of renting an Airbnb 2-3 hours away for a whole weekend, a small group of staff and students gathered together for a day of fellowship and fun. The day started a local breakfast café and then the group spent several hours at Fort DeSoto Beach. During that time, one of our students, Sam was baptized! After being connected with us for a year and seeing another student's baptism earlier in the semester, God stirred his heart to ask questions about what it means to be baptized and follow Christ. He realized he was living in darkness and needed a Savior and now, he's walking in light and learning to share the gospel with others.
The remainder of this "fall retreat" day was spent at the home of one of my colleagues for rest and relaxation, dinner and a movie. Throughout the day, three time blocks were set aside for the group to gather and spend time learning about how Jesus is better than anything/anyone else this world can offer. Three of our staff took turns teaching a different topic on this discussion and some good questions were brought to the table for consideration. Questions like, "What defines our identity?" "Will the things we pursue in the world ever be enough?/Still be meaningful when we die?" These discussions were drawn from the book, Unsatisfied by Sean Vollendorf.
Since the "fall retreat" gathering almost three weekends ago, our staff have been continuing to meet new students while prayer walking the campuses, plus gathering for Bible studies and discipleship groups throughout the week. As of this week, we currently have about five different Seeker Bible studies that are each held once a week with an estimated total of about 15 students, including three CoMission student leaders (please note that these numbers are an educated guess based on staff discussions; our metrics for this specific area aren't fully up to date yet but hopefully soon). As for Gospel Appointments, our staff have met one-on-one with 18 students (16 from USFSP and two from SPC) and shared the Story in Four Gospel presentation with them. While these numbers are significantly lower than usual (no thanks to the pandemic), we are trusting the Lord is doing great things through our team and and through each student we interact with.
Another exciting thing that just happened yesterday was the initiation of a Gospel Appointment by Gabby, one of our students who was recently baptized just days before the fall semester began. Oftentimes, a newly baptized student who's still learning how to share the gospel is challenged by their discipleship leader (a CoMission staff member) to do so, but not Gabby. She set up a Gospel Appointment with a fellow USFSP student all on her own without being pushed. Now that's the kind of disciple I aspire to be. Maybe one of these days, by God's grace and empowerment of His Spirit. In the meantime, I'll be joining in on one next week with my co-worker, ReLynn. We'll be meeting with a dual-enrolled student at the SPC cafeteria and there's a possibility she might be Muslim. Please be in prayer for us and Gabby as we approach these upcoming Gospel Appointments; that the Holy Spirit will prepare our hearts and the hearts of the students we meet up with, that if nothing else benefits from these conversations, a seed could at least be planted for future nurturing by other workers. May He get all the glory, regardless of the outcome.