By Kim Carson, Campus Minister at California University of Pennsylvania
CALIFORNIA, PA – I met Sarah four years ago during the fall semester of her freshman year. She was a Christian student involved in a lot of activities, but our paths didn’t cross again until a few weeks before the end of the spring semester. Sarah and her friend Amanda came to a couple of New Life meetings and expressed interest in being involved the following school year.
Fall 2013 rolled around, and Sarah and Amanda returned. They jumped in with both feet and became part of the core group of New Life. Sarah joined Bible studies, came to our weekly large group meetings, and started prayer-walking with us. Crazily, we decided to attend Beach Reach, just 5 weeks beforehand. Five California University of Pennsylvania students, including Sarah, figured out how to make it there. While at Beach Reach, Sarah shared the gospel for the first time. While she was there, her faith was reignited, and she chose to be re-baptized. Sarah returned to campus inspired to live out her faith.
Sarah’s fire for the Lord continued as she started her junior year. She became a residence assistant in her dorm and saw it as an opportunity to tell people about Jesus and to invite them to be involved in New Life. Sarah got even more plugged into leadership team and led worship at our weekly meetings. She jumped into regular Bible reading and participated in Bible studies and prayer-walking. She enthusiastically invited people to come to Beach Reach with us, and people responded. We brought a larger group, and lots of people were impacted by their experiences in sharing their faith.
The story doesn’t stop there, though. Sarah continued to grow in her faith during her senior year. She inspired her fellow students with her passion for Jesus. Sarah led New Life as the president and learned more about delegating and discipling. Not only did she want to tell others about Jesus, she also wanted to share her evangelistic passion with other Christians. During that school year, Sarah got to lead her first person to Christ. Sarah’s vibrant personality and her willingness to invite people into relationship with Christ helped her stand out on our campus. After all the powerful experiences we had had at Beach Reach, we endeavored to take another still-larger team back to Panama City Beach. Upon returning, Sarah continued to inspire those around her to actively share their faith. Inviting people to know Jesus and to join New Life were second nature for Sarah, and our ministry benefited from her gifts.
Now, after 3 trips to Beach Reach and a graduation, Sarah has joined me in ministry at Cal U as an assistant campus minister. God used all of her experiences to mold her for this very experience. She has undertaken her role with great diligence and fervor. Sarah continues to inspire others with her enthusiasm, and I have been greatly inspired by her intentionality in making gospel appointments with students. She reaches out to everyone she comes in contact with and cares about where they will spend eternity. I know some of her drive comes from her college-days experiences at Beach Reach and her involvement in New Life at Cal U. Now, we’re approaching another Beach Reach trip, and Sarah is helping plan it. It’s beautiful to see how God is expanding the ministry through fantastic, Jesus-loving people like Sarah. I can’t wait to see what wonderful testimonies result from spending a week serving college students in Florida in March 2017. May we leave a legacy of evangelism and discipleship.