Christian Union Ministry Fellow Leads by Example
Students Exhibit Boldness in Speech Classby Eileen Scott, Senior Writer
Two students took a classroom assignment and used it for God's glory, buoyed by the strength and courage they received from participating in Christian Union's ministry at Cornell.
In their Oral Communications class, Elisabeth Mistur '17 and Nashon Garrett '16 each chose to present a position that runs contrary to popular views. Mistur discussed the public policy issue of whether to require women to view their ultrasounds before an abortion; Garrett spoke about creation being taught alongside evolution in science classes.
"I knew right away that I wanted to pick the topic of abortion and use the opportunity to share with classmates about what abortion really is," said Mistur.
Garrett also used his presentation to educate classmates on a view that is often discounted in the academy.
"People are so used to believing things without understanding or thinking about why they believe it," said Garrett.
As students who are very active in Christian Union's leadership development ministry at Cornell, Mistur and Garrett are engaged in a seeking God lifestyle, which includes a deep commitment to prayer, studying the Bible, and promptly obeying the Spirit.
"Before my speech, I prayed for confidence and that glory would go to God," Mistur said. "It went more smoothly than any time I had practiced it."
Garrett said his faith kept him grounded as he prepared.
"I just wanted to trust that it was a topic God could use in order to get just even a remnant of the Gospel out to people," He said.
Both students credited being part of Christian Union's vibrant campus ministry as a factor in giving them boldness to put their faith into action.
"Because I am part of a body of believers here, I feel like I can take the challenges of being on a liberal campus and utilize them to grow, rather than compromise in the face of a challenge," said Mistur.
"Christian Union helps me stay accountable in my relationship with God and His body," he said. "I know there is a community of believers who are praying and seeking God and who have my back when I am going through hard things."
"The community within Christian Union at Cornell has made the most impact on me. God wants unity in the body; there is so much power when we are together."
In his presentation, Garrett stressed the importance of scholarly exploration of both creation and evolution.
"We should provide students with enough information to be able to choose how to view different theories," he said. "Teaching them to see the similarities and differences will lead them to reason and think for themselves in other areas of conflict, rather than just accepting one view without question."
Despite taking potentially polarizing stances on these "controversial" issues, the students were not met with ridicule or backlash from their peers. However, Mistur was surprised at the level of ignorance regarding abortion.
"I was holding back tears and shocked by the honest unawareness in the room," said Mistur. "I really do not think a single classmate in that room could have explained to me how an abortion works – what the procedure actually is or what happens to the fetus."
The communications major specifically credited the mentoring she received from Christian Union Ministry Fellow Anna Shea with helping her to make bold choices.
"I have been challenged in my faith and put in situations where I have a decision either to compromise or to stand firm on the Word of God," said Mistur. "Being in a Christian community has allowed me to continue to grow in the Word of God and be encouraged to stand on Christ as my rock."
And upon that rock, Mistur hopes to continue to develop as a strong witness and a solid servant leader.
"Elisabeth makes the most of every opportunity," said Christian Union Ministry Fellow Anna Shea. "Speaking about abortion to her speech class constitutes just one of many opportunities she has seized to express the value God places on human life."
Mistur is also producing a series of pieces for a print-making class that celebrate the beauty of the human figure from conception to birth. Additionally, she gave a presentation to a gathering of ten resident advisors about issues related to abortion and abstinence.
"I couldn't be more proud of her courage," said Shea.