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December 14, 2023

Stanford Student-Leaders Labor in Love

By annalisa lim, '24, vice-president of christian union caritas 

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. -Matthew 9:35-38  

In the Santa Cruz mountains of California, six Christian Union Caritas leaders gathered in preparation for the freshman campaign. We delved into the book of Matthew, using the ministry of Jesus to guide our own in the upcoming fall quarter. I recall coming across the words, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few,” and Susan, one of our ministry fellows, highlighting the significance of this passage: it is a promise that God could use us six students to gather the harvest on a campus yearning for Christ. It was also a prayer for more laborers; after all, Christ had radically transformed lives through the faithfulness of His twelve apostles. 

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Thus began the harvesting through the freshman campaign. Together, we distributed 500+ “goodie bags” to welcome the freshman and introduce them to our CU community. We encouraged students to participate in CU events like Bible Course, Venture, and the fall retreat. Beyond formal activities, we engaged with students over coffee, invited them to pickleball games, hosted freshman dinners, and more. In response, over 100 new students signed up for our events, and our regular attendance grew to 40. Throughout this time, the leadership consistently prayed for God to guide us in mentoring these students. 


Before long, the new students started taking active roles in CU and leading efforts to spread the Gospel. They set up a prayer table in White Plaza (the epicenter of campus activities), engaged with challenging questions about biblical authority from their classes, and joined the Venture team, among other initiatives. There was also such a high demand for church rides that a biking group formed for those unable to fit into cars! Within these brief 10 weeks, it has been incredible to see the level of faith that our CU community has demonstrated. 

One particularly poignant moment involved a junior girl who felt called to share her faith with her sorority sisters. Inspired by a talk by guest speaker Gary Gaddini, a director at Transforming the Bay with Christ (TBC), about living like “Bold Amazing Idiots,” she not only boldly expressed her faith through a group message but also invited them to join a weekly small group in the house, encouraged by the Holy Spirit and supported by CU Bible course materials. These are all efforts that we could not have predicted before the freshman campaign, but that came from the abundant provision and goodness of God. 

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As we look ahead, we ask for prayer in stewarding the group well, to continue growing deeper in our faith and reaching outwardly in love. In a culturally and politically fraught environment, it is easy to forget that there are many hearts still longing for God. Therefore, we also pray for faithfulness in expanding His kingdom and to serve as salt and light on Stanford's campus. Yet, as I reflect on the fall quarter, I joyfully give thanks to God for answering our prayers for the provision of laborers amidst a plentiful Palo Alto harvest. 

Learn more about Christian Union Caritas here