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Dear Partners in Prayer for Cornell,

Easter marked a turning point in the seasons here in Ithaca. Over the span of forty-eight hours we watched tufts of green burst from the tips of branches. Daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinth dot the walkways, cardinals sing, and the spring rains raise fragrance from the soil. Over the weekend, 1,000 plus students and community members filled Bailey Hall at an event called Worthy. A Cornell music professor, Joe Salzano, drew musicians from across the campus and the local churches. The event wove genres as diverse as rap, classical, celtic rock, middle eastern, gospel choir, and contemporary Christian worship music to tell the story of Christ’s incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension. I wish you could have joined us singing “Oh Happy Day!”

The week before Easter was Nexus, Christian Union’s annual conference for the campuses where the ministry operates. Not only was it a time to hear from inspiring Christian leaders and participate in dynamic worship, students were able to connect with each other in powerful ways. A special breakout session brought together athletes from the various campuses to talk about the challenges of living out their faith at the top levels of performance. Since then, athletes from all the schools formed a group chat in which they exchange prayer requests and words of encouragement.

One of our students is in the process of losing her father to cancer. She already lost her mother at age 16 before coming to Cornell. Her birthday was during Nexus, and I wish you could have seen the students from Cornell and other campuses throw her a birthday party and pray over her in the 24-hour prayer room. She was moved by the message of God’s power made perfect in the mess, and told me, “If this stuff with dad happened last year when I was still chasing boys and partying, there’s no way I could have handled it. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my Christian Union mentors and my Christian friends’ support.” We all have witnessed her faith take flight since her freshman year. She’s met weekly to pray and discuss Scripture for over a year now, and she told me in our meeting today that finding her identity in Christ has made all the difference in the world. She doesn’t have to fear her father’s death as painful as it is to see him suffer, and she has filled pages of her journal with the ways God is using his situation to bring relational healing in their complex family dynamic. We read through John 11 together and marveled at the emotions of Christ in the midst of the death of Lazarus. I wish you could have sat at the table with me to hear her read:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Join this student, and the rest of us at Cornell, in praising God for the resurrection of Christ. That event makes all the difference in the world.

Anna Shea
Christian Union Ministry Fellow
Cornell University

Please note: if you would like to receive regular updates on how to pray for Christian Union's work at Cornell, please email prayer@christianunion.org.