God is at work drawing people to himself. I am excited! Students are leaving their lives of sin and choosing to follow Jesus. Over the past two and a half years at Bemidji State we have seen 57 students make decisions to follow Jesus and I expect that we will see more. Nationally, InterVarsity is seeing one of the largest harvests in history. We are living in exciting times. What’s happening? I believe God is using a generational issue to raise up followers to fulfill his mission. The mission is to care about the world. Students care about injustice. The good news is that God does too! What’s going on?
Students want to know that you care before they will listen to you. Not only do they want to know that you care about them but they want to know that you care about the world. They want to know that you care about the person who is being trod upon by the injustices of the world. Students today want to do something about it. Once they know that we care, then they are ready to listen.
Partnering the story of the gospel with social justice is powerful. The gospel begins to bring hope to the world that we live in. We can talk with them about how Jesus is bringing the kingdom of God now. God is setting captives free and he can set you free from your captivity too. Do you want that?
These missions have also brought about renewed vigor in the Christian students. Suddenly they have a compelling reason to pray. Not only are they praying for their lost friend, but they are praying to end world poverty and stop human sex trafficking. It is causing them to get serious about praying. Students at Bemidji State have started praying every morning at 8am. There is a banner that hangs up in the prayer room. It says reads, “What if…” and all around it are ideas that students have written down. They are dreaming big.
Over the past two years we have focused on child soldiers and child sex slaves. This year we are focusing on AIDS and we’re partnering with other organizations.
Nearly 33 million people are living with HIV and AIDS–two million of whom are children under the age of 15. An estimated 15 million children have been orphaned due to AIDS, and the number is rising. AIDS destabilizes families and entire societies, leaving children without the care and support necessary to grow up, survive, and thrive. What can we do to help care for those affected by AIDS?
How we act: on AIDS
“Do You See Orange?”: More than 1 in 20 children in sub-Saharan Africa have become orphans because of AIDS. This statistic comes to life through the “Do You See Orange?” t-shirt campaign, as 1 in 20 students across campus wear bright orange “ORPHAN” t-shirts to represent the impact AIDS is having on children in sub-Saharan Africa. Imagine if countless friends and classmates on your campus had lost a parent due to AIDS.
At Bemidji State there are approximately 5000 students. We are hoping to get 250 students to wear an orphan t-shirt during the week of March 29-April 2. Along with that we will be hosting an interactive station connecting student childhood to an AIDS victim’s childhood. We will also host an event where we plan to play an AIDS version of “Cash Cab.”
What are you doing about injustice?