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Dear Partners in Prayer for Cornell,

For our prayer letter for May, we’d like to share with you three different stories of answered prayers. This update is a little longer, but do read to the end!

The first is an update on Amanda, whom you may recall from last month’s prayer letter. Amanda’s father passed away on Mother’s Day. That day Amanda intended to spend remembering her mother who died when Amanda was just 16 years old. I wish you could have seen the turnout of sleep-deprived Cornellians who carpooled to the memorial service. Not even finals would stop them from supporting their sister in Christ. Amanda stood up at the memorial service to explain her reason for hope. She read the passage from Scripture that has helped her the most through losing her father to colon cancer. Romans 5:1-5 is a passage Amanda learned from her friends in Christian Union at Cornell:

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Days later, Amanda posted the following on Facebook:

I just wanted to make a quick thank you to my Christian Union family. Thank you for being there through every tear and fear I've had this past semester. Teaching me verses that gave me so much strength (Isaiah 43, Romans 5:1-5, Psalm 18), sharing worship songs, cooking dinner together, working out with me to help me de-stress, sharing your own deepest pains. Thank you for holding me through moments of panic; for letting me soak your shoulders with tears. You taught me how to feel pain without letting go of the joy I walk with as a daughter in Christ. God is my strength but I now understand the purpose of the Body. Of His kingdom here on earth. These smiles were taken the day after my last hug and kiss goodbye from my dad. But these smiles are honest and true. That is what God’s love does--that is what He does through each of you. Never let any lie of the world tempt you to lose that faith--no matter how painful, dark, or heavy--you have a light that outshines all else. The greatest light of all (thanks, Jesus). With a love most sincere and ever grateful, your sister --Amanda

One of Amanda’s sorority sisters, is not yet a believer but has begun asking questions. Her sorority sister has decided to change her whole career plan based on what she has witnessed of Amanda’s faith and the community of Christians at Cornell. She wants to devote her Ph.D. to the study of how Christians cope with terminal illness. The car ride back from the memorial service took our conversation to John 11:25 where Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies.” To fuel her curiosity, we bought this student a copy of Tim Keller’s book Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering. Please pray this student can understand personally the hope offered by Jesus.

The second story is in the form of a post on Facebook dated May 13. A freshman meteorological sciences major, wrote:

Cornell University never ceases to amaze me. Last summer, after telling people at my church where I was headed, I received a lot of “The Northeast? I’ll be praying for you.” And, to all those at my church who prayed: your prayers were answered! This past year, I have been so richly blessed by the Christian community at Cornell. (I know what you’re thinking… yes, Cornell has Christians, and we even meet together—in-between our long stints of studying and crying about how cold it is in upstate New York.) Cornell has Christians unlike any that I have ever met, and the community that I have found in Christian Union is unparalleled—it’s the kind that only prayer warriors in the Midwest could bring about!

Last night, Christian Union decided to end our academic year with a bang and hosted an event called Grill Me for Grilled Cheese. Essentially, we publicized a phone number that people could text any questions that they had about God, spirituality, or Christianity, and we promised in turn to drop by a grilled cheese (or a nutella sandwich) and give our best answer. Last night was tough. Things were crazy. A sandwich got burned here or there (special shout-out to Jenny Cao for being the BEST sandwich maker this side of the Mississippi). But, the Lord was there. So many members of Christian Union stepped up and proclaimed their faith boldly, and showed their love for both Christ and Cornell’s campus. Through God’s grace alone, we received texts from 93 different numbers last night and sent out more than 120 sandwiches. God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good.

Our final story is about Michelle, a junior engineer from Hong Kong. Michelle has attended our Bible course for the first time this year and finally committed to make Christ the center of her life. After this crucial decision, Michelle posted the following on our Bible course group chat:

Hey guys, hope you all have a great week despite projects, finals and other stuffs. I just want to thank you for the prayers. As some of you knew, I struggled spiritually over the past few weeks but I believe I have developed stronger faith after seeking answers to my troubled thoughts and questions. I will continue to study the Bible and learn God's way. I want to let you know that I am so thankful that God introduced you guys to my life and helped me with my spiritual journey. I pray that God will continue to show us his grace and guide us encourage each other.

Looking back, I see that God is good and faithful. He drew me back despite all my attempts to rebel against him. I am thankful and humbled and I know that there is just so much more about God that I have to learn about through his words. This will take time but it is a wonderful task.

What a wonderful task it has been to watch the gospel of Christ take root in the hearts of students at Cornell. We praise God for this harvest, owing much gratitude to you, our unseen prayer team, who have been tilling the fields for us from afar. Thank you and keep praying for students this summer as they transition to internships and beyond!

Grateful for His kindness to us through you,

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.