More than Memory Lane

close up of pictures
Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

By Augusta R. Mennell

Campus ministry touches the lives of students, whether they attend college locally or thousands of miles from home. Through meals, a listening ear, socializing and Bible study, bonds are created. Often the ministry plants seeds of faith. Sometimes the seeds bloom, and other times they need a little extra care to take root. Here’s a story about a student – years after graduation – and how Campus Ministry continues its mission.

This summer Chulsoon, a Korean alumnus of Slippery Rock University, PA, brought his wife, daughter, and son to see where he had gone to college and to see the Lutheran Student Center he had often visited. He thought it was going to be a trip down memory lane, but I believe that God intended it to be an opportunity for him to once again hear the Gospel that he had heard for several years during our many discussions.

Soon after coming into the All Saints building, Chulsoon and his wife asked if I would like to hear their children sing a song in Korean that they had memorized in church. The children sang beautifully and were very proud of their music, which sounded like a Psalm. It was very evident that Chulsoon’s wife and his children are Christians.

Chulsoon described his life. He owns a successful school that teaches English to Korean children. It even prepares college-age students to come to study in America. Chulsoon said he works at the school seven days a week. He is pleased to be so successful, but he intimated that he is tired of doing the same old work day-in and day-out. He claimed that he did not have time for church.

Out of the blue, Chulsoon’s wife stated, as a matter-of-fact, that “he is not a Christian.” I saw tears come into her eyes as she said this. Her words shook me and shocked me. I thought Chulsoon would be angry with her for being so outspoken. Her statement was very blunt. Amazingly, he admitted that he was not a Christian. He said that he does not believe because there are “too many hypocrites in the church.” He added that too many people in his wife’s church try too much to pressure him into coming to worship.

So here we were, right back where we began when Chulsoon was a student, eight to ten years ago. Once more we talked about faith. This visit for Chulsoon was turning out to be more than a trip down memory lane. For us, it was another opportunity to share God’s love with Chulsoon, who did listen willingly. We suggested to him that Christians realize that we all are hypocrites, all of us, and that is why we go to church: to receive God’s gift of forgiveness. We again talked about mistakes we Christians make when we try to evangelize our friends and neighbors. We suggested that we need to invite others to church in a loving way, not with a hectoring manner. Attempting to strong-arm a person into belief in Jesus never works. Perhaps Chulsoon could tell his wife’s fellow believers that.

The visit with Chulsoon and his family ended on a good note. They left feeling cared about, no matter what happens next. All Saints will pray that the Holy Spirit will help Chulsoon to open his heart to God. We said goodbye with tears on our faces, not knowing when we will ever meet again, but believing that seeds of friendship and faith have been planted. It was more than a walk down memory lane, it was a gift from the Lord to Chulsoon and his family.

Our goal for the coming school year remains the same as ever. We will open our hearts and church to all the Chulsoons who come to the Lutheran Student Center. We feel it is a privilege to share the Gospel with students. Please pray for our work here.

Augusta R. Mennell is the Campus Ministry Director at All Saints Lutheran Church and Student Center in Slippery Rock, PA. If you have a mission or ministry story you’d like to share, please submit for consideration via email to Lynne at lcobb@englishdistrict.org.

 

Meet our Missions – Lutheran Student Fellowship (LCMS) – Pittsburgh

In this edition of Meet our Missions, read about the student ministry at Lutheran Student Fellowship (LCMS) in Pittsburgh, PA.

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By Rev. Eric R. Andræ, Campus Pastor, Lutheran Student Fellowship (LCMS)/First Trinity Church

So what exactly does Lutheran Student Fellowship (LCMS) – Pittsburgh do? Below is an example of the student ministry that not only touches lives, but changes lives.

Queen (not her real name), a former University of Pittsburgh graduate student from China, was an atheist when she arrived here. After we met at an on-campus Graduate Student Orientation Fair, she started attending worship and was aided in her understanding by the simple structure and uniformity of the Lutheran liturgy; she also found that the people at First Trinity “care for each one’s life, thinking, problems. So more and more students visit this church and stay because we have found our home in both physical sense and spiritual sense.”  On Christmas Eve, Queen was baptized!

The Lutheran Student Fellowship reaches out to college students on several campuses in the Pittsburgh, PA area, such as the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, Point Park University, Duquesne University, and others. Here is a sample of the programs available to students:

  • The second Saturday of each month, students get together for a meal and games or a movie or a pit-fire, etc.
  • Each Wednesday they study God’s Word and break bread together, with supper at 7:30 p.m.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are offered.
  • Sometimes rides are provided to church or other events.
  • Sunday Divine Service, daily morning prayer, mid-week evening prayer.
  • Local and international mission and service projects.
  • International Student Ministry (ISM).
  • And so much more!

Pastor Eric R. Andræ (S.T.M., Lic.) is the ISM Director and Chaplain. Because he holds a dual citizenship, he can relate and identify with the international community.

Making students feel welcome is a priority in this ministry, as well as meeting their needs. (See this article in Lutherans Engage.) For more information, feel free to contact Rev. Eric R. Andræ at LCMS Campus Ministry at First Trinity Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, PA. Call (412) 683-4121, visit their web site, http://lsfpgh.com/, and like them on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/LSFofPGH/

Lutheran Student Fellowship Pittsburgh logo tumblr_static_photolcms u

If you have a mission or ministry story you’d like to share, please submit for consideration via email to Lynne at lcobb@englishdistrict.org.

 

Meet our Missions – Holy Cross Lutheran

Learn about the ministry and mission of Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Student Ministry, Toledo, OH.

Helping hands
The crew from University Lutheran Chapel in Ann Arbor, MI, came to lend a helping hand.

This month, our “Meet our Missions” introduces the missions and ministries of Holy Cross Lutheran, Toledo, OH.

By Rev. Peter M. Burfeind

Originally we were simply a campus ministry, but through our group “Engineers in Christ” – a “high-tech” service group – we’ve done service work not only in the Appalachia but also in Toledo’s inner city, less than two miles from the college campus. We’ve built handicap ramps, renovated rooms, and constructed playground equipment, to just name a few things. Through this service work, we’ve made connections in the inner city community and we are currently working on renovating a dilapidated house to become a “mission house” for various ministries, including Word and Sacrament ministry.

We also have a connection to a jobs retraining program for robotics maintenance and programming.  We’ve touched quite a few lives through this ministry.  As we help people connect to the hope of a good, secure job, we are able to reach out to them and their children with the Gospel. Currently, we need help getting this mission house complete. We have a tight budget, but also need professional and trades help.  This mission can be a wonderful blessing – I’ve seen the fruits already at this early stage – but we risk getting bogged down in just getting it up and running.

Meanwhile, the students in our campus ministry are blessed by such work as well. Students are at a transitional period in their lives, and many are falling away from the faith in these critical years.  Our weekly services, Bible Studies, and Engineers in Christ group provides an opportunity to address many of the challenges of today’s world.  This year, we’re beginning to see the first of our students  – those who were with us when we began – graduate. These are young men and women who have matured in Christian faith and leadership, and they will be a blessing to their future congregations.

Learn more about Holy Cross Lutheran’s ministry by visiting their website.

Follow their mission on their Facebook page.

Do you have a mission or ministry experience you would like to share? If so, you, too, could be a guest blogger for the English District. For consideration, please send an email to Lynne Cobb, Communications Coordinator for the English District LCMS at lcobb@englishdistrict.org.

Click HERE to donate to missions supported by the English District LCMS.

BBQ and jobs fair
Members of the community join us for a BBQ and jobs fair.

Meet our Missions – Martin Luther Chapel

MLC WOF April 2016

Campus Ministry and Mission at Michigan State University – and beyond

By Rev. Curt Dwyer, Pastor, Martin Luther Chapel

Martin Luther Chapel is in mission to the students, faculty and staff at Michigan State University and to the surrounding communities in the East Lansing area. Martin Luther Chapel serves people at all ages and stages of life, with a special focus on providing college students a place to become part of a worshiping community and serve in meaningful ways during their time on Campus.

As we gather for worship and go out to serve our neighbors, we want to help students (and all people) grow in faith and develop their leadership potential so that they can be a blessing to the church, wherever God takes them in life. In addition, through the ministry of the Friendship House (International Student Ministry – Lansing Area), we are actively involved in outreach to the large population of international students and visiting scholars that come to MSU.

Here’s what one student had to say about the Campus Ministry program:

       “Last year I decided to apply for the Wednesday ON FIRE leadership position. Little did I know that this decision would be a pivotal moment in my life. I cannot see myself becoming who I am today, gaining the friendships I have, and having the experiences I’ve had, if not for being on the Wednesday ON FIRE leadership team. To say that I have been outside my comfort zone as a leader is an understatement. In addition to playing bass at Wednesday ON FIRE, I have planned a fall retreat, been on the Bible Study planning team, and led the spring break servant event trip to El Paso/Juarez, Mexico. I did not feel qualified to do any of those things. I’m reminded of something Alexa, a fellow Wednesday ON FIRE leader, said to me, “God doesn’t call the qualified. God qualifies the called.”

        That’s been my life as a leader. Through these experiences I’ve grown spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. God has made me qualified. Over the past two years, Martin Luther has become a home. In addition to Wednesday ON FIRE I’ve become involved in the greater community, which is this ministry’s greatest outreach tool. It is a definite time and place to go and worship. It is the gateway to all that Martin Luther Chapel has to offer for the student body of MSU and the surrounding community.” – Matt C., MSU student

MLC 2017 Servant event team

The support of the English District is instrumental in helping us extend our reach far beyond what would otherwise be possible. We have a worldwide mission field in the blocks surrounding our church building; with the help of the people and congregations of the English District, we will continue to actively share the love of Christ with everyone we meet, and equip them to carry the Good News with them wherever they go!

Do you have a mission or ministry experience you would like to share? If so, you, too, could be a guest blogger for the English District. For consideration, please send an email to Lynne Cobb, Communications Coordinator for the English District LCMS at lcobb@englishdistrict.org.

CLICK HERE to give to missions supported by the English District.