Wednesday, March 08, 2006

love it. . . hate it

I love ministry in a university town. College students add a life and vibrancy to the life of a church. It's exciting to see them grow and step out in their faith and recognize they are making decisions now that will impact the rest of their lives. Ministry in a university town is strategic for worldwide impact for the kingdom of God. Young people who come here for school leave here and go to places all over the world where they'll be salt and light and ambassadorss for Christ. I love it!

And I hate it. I've had several students in recent weeks remind me that they will soon be graduating and how much they'll miss Grace. I hate it that college students leave Grace. It feels like we're losing a limb or vital organ. It feels like we're losing part of who we are. I don't like it all.

The Lord is faithful. They are His people, not ours. And so we send them with blessings and great expectations into mission fields, occupational callings and other churches where they can give as they have received. . .

I'm getting all sentimental. Yikes.

Anyway, one of our college students, who is planning to go on a short term missions trip to Holland this summer, sent this great email to our missions board inquiring about prayer and financial support. When I read this note, I was so encouraged to see how God has been at work in this young gal's life through the ministry of Grace.. . . to God be the glory. . . .

My name is Arijaan Bulk and I am currently a 3rd year at Cal Poly, studying to be an elementary school teacher. I have attended Grace church upon starting college and certainly consider Grace "my home" during my years on the central coast. Along with attending the main service weekly I got involved with the college group my freshman year; however, as I am very involved with Campus Crusade (I am currently leading a Bible study for freshmen girls) I knew that college group wasn't where the Lord could use me most at Grace. I jumped into children's ministry and was a helper in the toddler room my 2nd year and currently am teaching Kindergarten Sunday School during the 11 o'clock service. I have also attended various women's functions (salad suppers and the retreat in 04) as well as went as staff to Mexico with Pastor Ken and the high schoolers in 2004. The Lord has really used Grace Church as a training grounds for a deeper understanding and application of the gospel in my daily life. I am very excited to share with you that I have been called by the Lord's perfect will and timing to do mininstry in Amsterdam, Holland this summer. I will be working along side a Christian Youth Hostel organization that seeks to reach the tourists, travelers, and locals that come to Amsterdam by clearly sharing God's love through action and word (check out their extensive website: www.yhm.shelter.nl). The Lord drew me to this opportunity in part because of my passion for that country and the people - my parents are Dutch immigrants and all of my relatives still reside there. As a result, I also prayerfully look forward to reaching out to my lost family members as well. First and for most I am very excited to share this with you because I covet your prayers during this time. The Lord has powerfully used the body at Grace to bring me to the point where I find myself today and I want all to know how grateful I am to Him for you! I am also interested in knowing your policies for financially supporing short-term missionaries. I will need to be paying for the cost of the flight as well as medical insurance. I know that Grace is committed to seeing the gospel spread and I would love to come along side of the church and be the hands and feet for many as I prepare for this adventure. I will also be talking to those at my church at home, the Oakdale Community Christian Reformed Church. Regardless of your ability to provide for me finincially I trust fully that the Lord will provide all that I need and honestly primarily dsire your prayers. I hope that you are encouraged to hear that the gospel is alive and well in my heart . . .

You go, Girl!

4 comments:

Jeannett Gibson said...

Amazing! What a great story and example of selflessness and dedication to His Message! It cracks me up...I tend to think I'm so stinking busy all the time, and here's this college student (an incredibly demanding thing in itself) volunteering and serving relentlessly. Makes me definately rethink my priorities and time commitments (and drains).

I'll be praying that her ministry is successful.

Brian Wong said...

I hear ya, Pastor Tim. I feel the same as you do, and I'm on the other side of the fence. I love attending Grace and getting involved with this body of believers. But I'm totally bummed that I'll be leaving SLO and entering the "real world." I have an inkling that I'm gonna feel like a limb that has been cut off until I can find a new church in the Bay Area.

It's taken me the last few years to get plugged into Grace like I have, and it's gonna be a bummer when I have to say goodbye.

If I can console you with anything, it's that the body at Grace is alive and well. Consequently, being a part of this body has taught me what it means to be a part of the Body of Christ, as well as the importance of being attached to that body.

Anyway, you're not rid of me yet :-) I'll still be here next quarter.

Rob Gunn said...

I heartily agree Tim! It really is hard to see these students go, but very rewarding to see how God leads them to do powerful things for the kingdom in the years ahead. Also, the student newspaper just did a story on our group here at Utah State-it is in the Wed edition of utahstatesman.com. Most of what we do here I learned from my ministry years at Grace!

Rob Gunn

penny malley said...

Two of our kids attend the Kindergarten class that "Miss Bulk" teaches, and they think she's a great teacher. (Consequently, Ted and I think she's pretty great, too!)I love seeing the college population plug in and be such a vital part of the Grace community. One way we as families can give back to them is to adopt them! Some of our Heritage Builder families shared in class the blessings that have come from the "Adopt-A-College-Student" program they are a part of. I must admit, we haven't yet connected with the gals we've adopted, but that's my next email task!