Monday, February 28, 2011

Changed Lives :: Plano, A Student Experiences God at Work

Part of our Student Conferences is giving the students an opportunity to share their faith in the community where the conference is held.  They are armed with a short 5-question inoffensive survey to open a conversation, a Connecting with God booklet that talks about Jesus and having a person relationship with Him, and the Holy Spirit!   We’ll take the students to a mall, on the beach or even to area neighborhoods.
This story is about an outreach at one of our conferences and a student’s experience in sharing Jesus.
This student’s life (and the lives of the girls at McDonalds) will never be the same because she experienced the Holy Spirit working through her to bring someone to Christ.  Thank you for making it possible for us to be on the field, hold these conferences, and give students opportunities to share.  Lives are changed because you are faithful.


A Student Experiences God at Work

by Nicole Matuska, staff serving in Plano, TX
Mackenzie is a senior at Plano HS and went to our FastBreak Winter Conference.  Here is her story about sharing Jesus...
"When the Student Venture bus dropped me and the other campers off at a McDonald's in South Dallas, I wasn’t super excited to share the Gospel with strangers. In fact, there was a spiritual battle raging in my heart and I felt very discouraged. It was my 6th outreach with Student Venture and I had never experienced a stranger accepting Christ.
I always have trouble initiating a conversation, so this year I decided to use the MLK- themed survey to start conversations. This particular outreach I felt very successful in the conversations that my bi-lingual partner, Vidi, and I had with shoppers and employees at the local Fiesta supermarket. Although all the people we talked to considered themselves Christians, none of them had ever heard about having a personal relationship with God. Vidi and I got to explain the gospel to them and they let us pray for them, but none of them were comfortable saying the prayer themselves at that moment. Already the outreach was going better than I had ever experienced before, and it was only going to get better from there!
As all of the Plano and Carrolton students were gathering in front of McDonalds waiting for the bus, my good friend Bola spotted two teenage girls that she wanted to talk to and asked me to go with her. We awkwardly began by asking them the first three survey questions and asked them if they knew that God wanted to have a personal relationship with them;one of the girls said no and the other said yes. So we continued sharing the gospel with them, making it clear that God wants them as they are, and that we can only depend on Jesus’ death on the cross for salvation. As the bus pulled up to the edge of the street, one of the girls accepted Christ and the other rededicated her life to Christ.
I felt very excited as I walked onto the bus because although I was physically there and technically I shared the Gospel with the two girls, it wasn’t me at all. God had done all the work by preparing the girls’ hearts beforehand and speaking to them through me and Bola. I realized that this outreach went so well because I was trusting God to speak through me instead of trying so hard to share the good news in my own strength."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Changed Lives :: Indianapolis, Students Reaching Their Friends

When our Executive Team discusses the different groups of people who can partner with us to reach out to students, we make sure our list includes “other students”. Students are most likely to listen to their fellow students when they share with them.  Students-reaching-students is a unique relationship because students share the same experiences and challenges and can easily relate.  When students share how God has rescued them from hopelessness and emptiness, students listen!
Often people don’t believe that students can lead other students to Christ or help them grow in their faith, but in Student Venture, we see every day that they can!
Thank you, dear friends, for supporting us and for caring about the hearts of students.  We consider it a joy to share this mission with you.

From High School to College

by Mark and Dawn Michal, staff in Indianapolis
Jacey (second from left) is a Sophomore at a different high school (Lawrence North) but has been coming to our meetings for a few years now.  She has had a heart to start a Student Venture ministry at her school and started this year with a Bible Study for her cross-country team.  The girls who have been coming to her study after practice range "from far from Christ" to "marginally Christian".
Jacey was able to bring four of her team members with her to the Student Venture Fastbreak Conference.  All of them grew spiritually and one of them, Abby, accepted Christ for the first time in her life!
Abby is so excited about her new relationship with Christ and Jacey is blown away by this change in her friend.  This is such a perfect example of how a teenager can make a difference.
Jacey could have easily just considered our Student Venture meetings a place for her to grow, but, instead, she saw it as a launching point to reach out to her friends.  She worked hard to get her friends to her small groups, stepped out and risked her relationships, and as a result, her friends are coming to Christ!

Changed Lives :: Northern Michigan, The Influence of Sisters

If you have a brother or sister, you probably remember how much influence they had in your life (and maybe still do).
This story shows the influence that one sister has with another, and it shows how others watch our behavior and are affected by it.  We are a witness for Christ – either for good or for bad.  Praise God, these girls are good ones!
Your influence is felt in the life of Student Venture, and it is a good one!  Thank you for partnering with us and supporting us—you are appreciated.

The Influence of Sisters

by Mike and Laurel Riley, Staff in Northern Michigan
The Influence of Sisters -----
By Mike and Laurel Riley, Staff in Northern Michigan
Jill (high school senior) attended our Myrtle Beach Getaway Conference last June for the first time. She was hugely impacted, and as a result, has touched her family – in particular, her younger sister and her mom --
One of the biggest things God did in Jill’s life at the Getaway was to show her that her life & faith story can touch the hearts and lives of others and bring them closer to knowing Christ in a personal way. Jill has grown by leaps and bounds in her faith this year – faithfully spending time in God’s Word, helping lead the freshman girls’ Bible study, helping start a small group Bible study with some friends, and inspiring her mom and sister Jayne (freshman) to start attending church again.
In early November I received this text message from Jill:
“I just led my sister [Jayne] to Christ! OH MY GOSH! I will never forget what she just said to me!”
Here is an excerpt from the letter Jayne wrote to Jill after begining her new relationship with Christ:
Today I picked up my Bible for the very first time. I started reading Timothy’s chapter. Just from today, my relationship with God has started, and I can already feel it strengthening. I feel as if I can connect with God now and not feel weird about it. This all happened because of you. You are such a great role model and you continue to lead me down the right path. I want to be just like you.”