"But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you."
-1 Chronicles 29:14
How are things going in California?
Without fail, I get asked this question when I'm catching up with folks. My instinctive reply is "good..." followed by a brief pause. In that time I think about the many things that have made this past semester good - a church committed to mission in Fresno, the natural beauty of the Central Valley's national parks, personal & professional growth, and, of course, the amazing students I've served.
- I think of Matt, who is now using his beloved vocation of music to direct the choir at church.
- I think of Jackson, who amidst the stress of his first semester of college and busyness of working nights and weekends, has eagerly embraced our discipleship time as a joyful retreat to decompress and receive prayer.
- And I think of Jill, who, although experiencing a turbulent period of transition in several areas of her life, displays an appetite to know Jesus through discipleship and community that bears clear witness to the power of the Spirit working in her.
Reflecting on the last few months, Jill said:
"After years of trying to strengthen my faith by myself, it feels as if I have finally found the missing piece to the puzzle. Becoming involved with a growing community of like-minded and faith-based students my age has opened the door to a spiritual joy I have never been able to capture unassisted. Through just a few months of active involvement in a group as discipleship-based as the CCO, I can say with certainty that my faith has far surpassed what I dreamed was possible. I now know that if I have a group by my side that lifts my burdens with me and never fails to point me back to the love of Christ, I will not be defeated in life's struggles. Experiencing community through the leadership of believers such as Austin and Geraud and the fellowship of students just like myself, I can never rationally go back to walking the path of faith alone."
I wish I could read that paragraph to myself every time someone asks how work is going. My time in California hasn't just been good - it has been deeply transformational for both me and for students.
Jill is learning to ground her resilience in the Gospel, develop her worldview through the lens of Scripture, exercise her gifts in the body of the church, and pursue her interests for the glory of God. I don't know many 19-year-olds who would want to inaugurate a group study on RC Sproul's What is Reformed Theology? or plan a series of paintings creatively capturing the imagery of the book of Revelation, but Jill isn't most 19-year-olds.
This is why we invest in college students - campuses are filled with creative, capable, willing servants, who need others to help them gain a bigger vision for their lives. You and I are part of exciting and important work for the Kingdom!Jill, second from left, with the First Pres college group
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est
"Where charity and love are, there God is."
My work with students like Matt, Jackson and Jill depends on the charity and love of supporters like you, for that is where God is working. Thank you for praying and for investing in this work -- especially in the last couple of weeks around Giving Tuesday. I'm now about $1000 closer to my goal of being fully-funded by the end of the year!
If you share a desire for college students to experience transformation, would you offer a charitable gift toward the last $3800 of my support raising goal? You can help by committing to monthly support or making a special year-end donation at ccojubilee.org/akilduff.
As a postscript, I'll be in Boston until December 16th, then Pittsburgh until December 20th, and finally Canton until January 6th. If you're in one of these places and would like to meet up to hang out and/or hear more about our vision to reach EVERY student and how you can help, please reach out!Donate