Rebecca Seasholtz is a self-described “nerd” from Georgia Tech, a recent graduate and materials engineering major who has been a part of the Christian Campus Fellowship for nearly four years. She took a scouting trip to help find the location for a new Unterwegs campus ministry launch, and to her complete surprise, decided to join the new team!
Do you enjoy working with college students? Did you have a great campus ministry experience during your own college years? God may have a place for you in international campus ministry through CMF’s Globalscope program!
The well-established team at El Pozo in Puebla, Mexico, is looking for young, committed individuals or families who want to join them in ministering to university students at Mexico’s top universities in Puebla. The team needs self-motivated, dedicated people who have bought into the vision of this long-standing ministry: to love students, know Jesus, and change the world.
Tyler and Shalynn Crawford, Globalscope campus ministers in Tübingen, Germany, drew a big crowd of students from their ministry, Unterwegs, to an unusual place last Sunday: the worship service at their church in Germany. The occasion was a blessing service for their baby son Finn. Here’s Tyler’s story:
The annual Thanksgiving celebration at the Unterwegs campus ministry in Tübingen, Germany, drew 130 people, and the atmosphere was like no other Thanksgiving before it, according to Globalscope campus minister Tyler Crawford.
“We decided to shift the focus to connecting our friends from local churches with the students from Unterwegs,” said Tyler. “We set up the tables family-style and had volunteer wait staff bring the food to the tables to give people a chance to sit, chat and connect with people they might never come in contact with.
“For example, a pastor from the Jakobus church sat next to a student who has never been to a church during all his years in Tübingen,” added Tyler. “And for an hour and a half, a church elder and his wife from the Kreuzkirche sat and talked to the winner of last year’s Unterwegs Servant Leadership Award, and they made a date to celebrate Christmas together.”
For Tyler and his wife Shalynn, one of the highlights of the day came when university student Hannah stepped to the stage in front of the large crowd to share the things she’s thankful for.
“Hannah has been around Unterwegs for a long time,” said Tyler. “We met at a Café English and she wasn’t interested in sharing much about herself.”
That has now changed. As she stood before the group, Hannah took a deep breath and shared: “When I look at my life I see a lot of chaos and problems. But the longer I look at it, the more I see the small things that make me grateful to be here: a song I like to sing, an encouraging word from a friend in the right moment.”
“Hannah didn’t always talk like that,” said Tyler, “and the influence Unterwegs has had in her life over the last four years all comes out on stage. She sings in the Unterwegs band and hosts her Vesper small group in her home.”
“After Thanksgiving, I realized how lucky I have been all these years,” Hannah said later. “I applied to universities all over Germany, and I was accepted in the one city where there is an Unterwegs. I can’t imagine my life without it.”
Campus ministry certainly isn’t all fun and games, but sometimes there’s a lot of it sprinkled into the holy moments. Here’s a story from Beth Jarvis Silliman, leader of the Globalscope Unterwegs campus ministry in Tübingen, Germany, about the group’s recent weekend camping trip in the Black Forest.
Well, what did you expect would happen?
There was whipped cream, peanut butter puffs, and lots and lots of water balloons. Game time. As soon as I saw people running into the kitchen I knew this was getting out of hand. People came running back out of the kitchen with buckets, water bottles, pitchers, large serving bowls — basically anything they could find that would hold water long enough to pour onto someone else. Even our grocery bags were used in the battle. My one mistake was when I attacked Erin with whipped cream before realizing that she also had a whipped cream container. It got messy.
But what did I expect would happen when we took about 30 people into the Black Forest for a weekend of singing, eating, games, talks, and campfire songs?
I still pause when I hear a student say, “I never expected to find so many good friends at University.” I think, really? You didn’t expect blue skies and grass stains and full bellies and laughter with new friends? And that somehow all of this would add up to you learning to love who you are and that person sitting across from you?
Then there it is, the point of the whole weekend: countless moments of new students opening up and realizing that they belong, and realizing this new belonging comes with some expectations of ourselves and of God.
A lot of students, and maybe some of us, have stopped expecting to find the good. Some of them can’t even imagine expecting God — if there is a God — to want to do anything for them and with them.
For our annual weekend away the student leaders chose to talk about expectations. It was really a way to talk about the hope that God wouldn’t leave us where we are. One student leader talked about the physical abuse she had suffered as a child and how she believed the lie that she wasn’t loved. When she became a Christian it didn’t make everything completely better and perfect. It just made her loved. And this new awareness made the difference. She could believe and expect that her parents did love her, even though they couldn’t protect her. And she could forgive her abuser, which was the weirdest mystery of all.
Because of her faith, she could name the injustice done to her. Because of her faith, she could see the new life rising up in her.
Another student leader, who two years ago didn’t even believe, shared the moment of when she realized she had fallen short. She had not met someone else’s expectations. And because of her faith she found a space for confession and forgiveness. She gave an example to all of us of how and why we need forgiveness.
You are loved. And because of this you can hope and expect more.
Before we packed up on Sunday morning we did what’s called “the thankful box.” For about 40 minutes everyone said out loud what they are thankful for. Water fights. Victories and loses at mini golf and crab soccer. Hand motions of “Moose Moose.” The kitchen team. The neighbor who yelled at us when we sang Red Wagon too loud at the campfire. Moments of just pure fun. And in the midst of that comes this: “Thank you for being a place where I can join in. Thank you for the talks. Thank you for helping me feel safe.”
Thank you for helping us show these students in Tübingen, Germany, that God loves them. Thank you for praying and supporting our weekend away. It was an incredible weekend and a win for everyone.
June has been an incredibly full month for us. But with it, we have seen that faith is giving voice to the pain in our lives while not ignoring the new life.
And there are the remnants of cream and water and sunshine reminding us to expect the unexpected.