Day 5: Go and Grow

If I look back to just two years ago my life looked drastically different from the person I see in the mirror now.  I was a freshman in college, I had never really shared my faith with anyone, and I was a Christian that believed but didn’t always follow.  So much has changed since then, and the initial catalyst of that change was the spring break mission trip I went on that March.  I spent a week with a group of ten students/staff in the Middle East at Cru Northeast’s partnership location Breakthrough.  I can genuinely say that this week changed the trajectory of my life and walk with the Lord.

I was so excited to get to go to the Middle East, I mean when else would I have the opportunity to go somewhere like that?  With that excitement though, came a lot of nervousness and anxiety over starting conversations with strangers, the potential language barriers, and not knowing exactly how to share my faith in a country that you need to be careful in doing so.  Not really knowing what to expect, I boarded a plane to fly halfway around the world to spend a week connecting with and getting to know college students in a major city in a predominantly Muslim country.  I hoped to have the ability to share my faith and plant a seed in the student’s lives, and while that was a reality in some cases while other conversations fizzled, the growth I experienced in my own life was constant and immense.

Experiencing God’s faithfulness and the Spirit’s guidance are two things that were in every conversation- from start to finish.  I was very anxious and nervous on the first morning that we went and shared, and it showed- the first few conversations I tried to initiate I was awkward, struggled to find words, and had very little to show for them.  But with that God eventually led me and Scott to two guys who we endedup spending three hours with, while giving us the opportunity to share about who Jesus was and is in our lives- it was awesome!  God eased my anxiety, and taught me to trust Him in sharing and in leading us to the right people.  In addition, recognizing the power of prayer on this trip was incredible.  We went out with partners, and while one was talking the other would be praying, we’d pray walking up to campuses and before initiating, and the prayer never stopped.  God’s answer was tangible and real as we met people and shared, and it really helped sustain me through the nerves.

I’m not writing all this just to share some stories or just to talk about myself, but to give examples of how giving up one week to the Lord had an eternal impact on my life.  The takeaways from one week during my freshman year of college are going to stick with me for the rest of my life, and they have helped shape who I’ve become in Christ.  I am confident now in initiating conversations and sharing my faith, in confidence and leadership, knowing I can trust God to guide me, and in prayer.  I would really encourage you to step out in faith, and to GO!  As Cru at UConn we want to play a part in fulfilling the Great Commission, and part of that is going to the world, bringing with us the message and love of Jesus Christ.  I’m going on spring break, I’m going on summer mission- come with me, come with all of us who are going, trust in the Lord, and GO.

- Kyle Wietsma

Scott Thomson