Dear Prayer Partner,
Thank you for your prayers! The first month of school is certainly the most taxing for us as staff and it is an incredible blessing and encouragement to know that a great cloud of witnesses (you!) stand behind our efforts in the most important work of all (prayer). We could not do what we do without you!
The first few weeks are a whirlwind of activity—as many activities and meetings as possible, to meet as many freshmen as possible, and a great deal of planning and prayer as well...not to mention reconnecting with all of the returning students, who bring joys, sorrows and crisis back to campus and back to us. The meetings with upperclassmen remind us of the reason that we do what we do. As we meet with them, we remember the freshman versions of each of them and thank God for his faithful transformation in their lives. There are a few examples of students with profound setbacks, including leaving the faith, but for the vast majority the truth is simple: involvement in Yale Faith & Action (Christian Union's ministry at Yale) brings about a maturity in prayer, biblical literacy, and integration of faith into all aspects of life that simply wouldn't happen without the investment of many hours being mentored, participating in bible courses, and leading various ministry teams. Seeing the transformation is faith-building for us, and freshman outreach, then, becomes a profound gift.
One of the students we've met, Marina, has been quite involved with us from the first days she came onto campus. In high school, she was often the only person her age at her church, which was a blessing in terms of relating to adults, she says, but left her with a longing for peers. Contrary to the image of Yale as a godless place, she was thrilled to find rich Christian community and peers who followed Christ as well! She has also started to share her faith with non-Christian suitemates. She has been inspired not only to seek Christian community for the joy it brings her, but also to share openly with others to bring them in. One night, after 1am (she has also noted the change in her sleep schedule), she and her suitemates were talking and her suitemate asked her directly, "So what does Christianity do for you?" She paused, because it was a difficult question to answer. After a few moments she said, "It provides comfort for me in difficult situations like this [transition to college], and guides me through them."
Please pray that Marina and her classmates continue to seek the Lord's guidance and comfort in the days and weeks ahead. We have just returned from an incredible fall overnight where several prayer "pods" were formed and friendships forged. Please pray these deepen and enable these students to become all that God has for them. Praise God for the wonderful spirit of unity and encouragement that we have as a staff. Please pray that we would continue to help and encourage one another through the years toward love, faithfulness and many good works. Pray above all that God's name be glorified on Yale's campus.
God bless you all,
Christian Union Ministry Fellow