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The Continued Testimony: Andrew Park

When people meet Andrew Park, his dedication is obvious, especially when it is related to God. Andrew grew up attending the Detroit Korean SDA church, but never made a decision to be baptized. After graduating high school, he enrolled at Michigan State University as a major in Packaging Science, and it was there that God brought him to the point of surrender. It was after finishing his sophomore year at MSU when God interrupted his typical college life with a calling to follow Christ. The work of God in his life is something to be celebrated, but he also recalls the continued journey after he made the decision to follow Christ. See his testimony here 

After canvassing the summer after his sophomore year for the summer, he decided to take a year off of school and attend Ouachita Hills College – this provided a more concentrated time to deepen his experience with God. He later served as the president of “Adventist Student Fellowship (ASF) at MSU, and student ministry took place every day. Andrew explained, “Things were getting difficult because there was so much ministry. It came to the point where we were doing a lot of ministry but we were not connecting as a team.” There were multiple small groups during the week, Friday evening CRAVE, sundown vespers on Sabbath with games nights following, and meetings on Sunday. He admits that although he never stopped doing ministry, in his heart he became tired. 

God provided a reprieve the next two semesters as he moved to Maryland and Tennessee for major-related internships. During this time, God taught him how to be a Christian without the support of a student ministry. Separation from the Adventist community at MSU created new challenges in his walk with God. He learned the importance of finding accountability. More practically, he suggests, “Find someone that you can talk to about your struggles and your difficulties. People always talk about ministry, yet we struggle with self every day and we need support.” Andrew recounts the faithfulness of God to keep him in the faith. 

His advice to student leaders is to invest time in relationship building, and create a safe community to help one another. He concludes, 

“We cannot neglect each other; we need to take measures for things to be sustainable. Embrace the fact that we are going to struggle; it will be hard, but this is part of the process. Just because we are a Christian now does not mean that we no longer have difficulties. There are more testimonies to be made and God will constantly work on the areas in our life that need to be renewed. We all have brokenness that God wants to heal, and it is a continual process throughout life. When we have crises or obstacles in our faith, view it as a call from the Great Physician to heal us. Consider Isaiah chapter 61. He came to heal the broken hearted. He wants to set us free, and God will engage in this work as we engage in ministry.”

Andrew Park is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Packaging Science from Michigan State University this summer. He currently serves as the president of GYC and will serve with CAMPUS as a Fellow for the 2020-2021 school year.

Decontee’s Desire

Decontee’s Desire

As Decontee began her math class at Lansing Community College, she knew it was going to be a difficult class. Along with the growing difficulty was also a desire to be closer to God. Little did she know that God has been preparing for a few years a divine appointment to not only help her with Math but introduce her to a saving relationship with Jesus.

Halee Boughton, CAMPUS Missionary Alumnae ‘17,  continued in East Lansing after the MTP program and was instrumental in starting a small group Bible Study at Lansing Community College. She happened to be enrolled in the same math class as Decontee and signed up for the same group study at the beginning of the semester. The two soon became friends and became study partners for their difficult math class. One time when they met, Halee had a book she was reading about a man who went to prison because of his faith. Afterward they continued to talk and Halee invited her to study the Bible together in October of 2019. Decontee enjoyed the studies and Halee invited her to their weekly Bible study on campus, and Decontee began to attend occasionally.  

She began to attend regularly and met Pastor Jermaine Gayle in December at one of the last Bible Studies of the semester. He invited her to attend GYC. She opened her schedule and attended. On Sabbath evening, the speaker made a call for those who wanted to give their life to Christ and make a public profession through baptism to come forward. She was thinking about what the speaker said. Two pastors from Michigan were sitting near her when one of them nudged her and said it was okay to go. She stood up and went forward. Pastor Jermaine and his wife Allie joined her at the front to pray.

The time at GYC was life changing, and she began to study with Halee. Every Sabbath Decontee would faithfully attend church bringing her nephews and nieces. She continued the studies twice a week and was eager to be baptized. God was transforming her life. One day she looked at her wardrobe, and decided to get rid of everything and find clothes that were more modest. No one said anything to her about her clothes, but the Holy Spirit had touched her heart. She desired for her love for God to also be revealed in how she lived and even what she wore. 

A date was set for her baptism, and Decontee expectantly waiting for the day she could share publicly her love for Jesus. Then the Covid-19 crisis broke out, and the baptism had to be rescheduled. Those disappointed she knew it was just a week away. But then there were restrictions and her baptism had to be postponed. Her heart sank and her grief overflowed in tears. 

Decontee expectantly waiting for the day she could share publicly her love for Jesus.

Then on April 11, 2020, she was able to publicly declare her commitment to Christ and be baptized at the University SDA Church in East Lansing.  You can watch her testimony below.

Finding, Retaining, and Training New Members.

Finding, Retaining, and Training New Members.

Finding New Students

Have a Presence on Campus: Make sure it is easy for students to find your Adventist group. If your name does not have ‘Adventist’ in it, you will have to make sure there is Adventist somewhere on your promotional material and group page. By this, Adventist students will easily be able to find you.

Ask the University: Some universities still collect the religious preference of students when they enroll at the university. Sometimes it is a non-profit organization. You can ask your student activities office if this information is collected and how to access the contact information of Adventist students attending your school. You may need your pastor to write a letter depending on the policy of the school or organization.

Visit Local Churches: If you live in an area where there is more than one church, make sure to visit other local churches the first Sabbath of the year. Leave club information with the greeters letting them know when you meet and contact information. Make sure to attend your local church regularly. This is will help you find students who may be “off the radar” but decide to attend church later in the year.

Register Your Club with https://acfregister.com/: This will help students who are coming from out of state to find your organization. You many need to set up an account, but this may also potentially help to find international students enrolling at your school.

Retaining New Students

Contact Information: Find out where they are staying (on or off campus) and connect them with Adventists who live near them. Make sure they are added to your weekly communication (GroupMe, WhatsApp, Group Text, email, etc.) and follow up to see if they received the message.  

Know the Student: If the only time the student hears from you is when you are inviting them to an event, chances of them coming will decrease significantly.

Build a Relationship: Find out the new students’ major, if they are grad or transfer, where they came from, birthday, how they are feeling about their classes, if they need help navigating campus, etc. Find a way to message them sometime during the week to see how their classes are going.  

Meet with Them: Spend time with them outside of regularly schedule meetings. Ask them if they want to meet up for lunch or dinner. Study together in your favorite spot on campus. Pray for God to lead the conversation. Give them freedom to share how their family, school, personal life is going. Pray for God to give you wisdom to 

Pray for them: Pray for them by name and ask if they have any prayer requests. For example, if they say they have a big test and ask for prayer, follow up with them after the test to see how things went. ASK them if they would like to be official members.

Training New Students

This is assuming you have done the previous two areas: found and retained the students. 

Build spiritual conversations: Make it a habit that after you talk that you pray together. Since the goal is for spiritual growth, this happens through personal conversations. Share what you have been learning in your devotions or even your struggles with the understanding that you know God will help you. 

Regular Training: Once you have a regular meeting established and people attending, consider having a training time for those who want to learn how to study the Bible, give Bible studies, share their faith, etc. This is a great resource for training. The topics include, how to find God’s purpose for your life, how to be a disciple for Christ, how to study the Bible, and more: DiscipleshipCourse. Remember that time is precious, this may be good for a Sabbath Afternoon training, Sunday morning, but find a regular time that is brief no more than 30-45 min each week for training. Invite the new students to attend this training. 

Build Ownership: One time when you are meeting up outside of your classes, ask them what they think of the weekly meetings, church, etc. Ask if they see an area that is working well or one that needs improvement. This will take some vulnerability on your part because they may have some good insight that may critique how student ministry is run. However, as you prayerfully listen, this is where you can ask them for solutions and if they would be willing to help in the area they see needs improvement. 

Discover Their Interests: Some students like to do crafts, post inspirational quotes on Instagram, create videos, make people feel welcome, or speak another language. Ask them if they have thought of using their interest to serve others. 

Ask for a Commitment: As you get to know them, ask them to do tasks in proportion to their ability and interest. For example, printing fliers for the club, helping with sound, reading a scripture, posting an inspiration quote on your club’s Facebook page each week, visiting a student with you, joining when giving a personal Bible study, etc. Continue to pray for God’s guidance and ask them if they would be interested in doing additional or other things.