Pool parties, camps, retreats, waterslides, float trips, worship nights under the stars, and advancing the gospel in some of the most remote places in the world. This is the opportunity that college students have in the uniquely special season of life of the after high school but before being a professional kicks in.
Sure, not every college student takes advantage of these opportunities. But many/most college students have the opportunity. Isaiah in chapter 6 responds to God’s call by saying, “Here am I Lord, send me!” And for many college students in the state of Arkansas that is exactly what they said, “Here am I Lord, send me!”
The following are excerpts from students that did different things this summer but went into the summer with an intentional process of growing in Christ. The two questions they were asked to reflect on: (1) Why it was important to do what you did this summer, and (2) One hard thing that God used you to accomplish this summer. Here is what they had to say:
Tabitha Waite, Sophomore University of Arkansas Little Rock
This summer I worked as a receptionist at a vet clinic. It’s my first experience at real-world work, especially when it comes to dealing with clients. If it wasn’t for my spiritual growth with God, I would probably have had an ongoing breakdown with the amount of pressure the job entails. The more I learn, the more responsibility I must own. Dealing with more difficult people in the world takes a toll mentally and emotionally. The only thing that kept me going was listening to God’s Truth and relying on his unconditional love day to day. Knowing that I am part of his kingdom and not the world helped me handle struggles better, along with verses from 2 Timothy: God didn’t give us the spirit of timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. In terms of the hard thing that God used me to accomplish, it was more of an inward change. He shaped me to not desire any opinions other than his own, and helped me be more assertive and stronger, which didn’t come naturally to me at the start of this summer.
Heath Anderson, Senior University of Arkansas
I was able to take a step back from school and focus on growing my relationship with God. My faith was made stronger thanks in part to the consistency that came working with the Little Rock project. I was pushed to improve on spiritual disciplines including worship and reading God’s word, and the fellowship that came these last couple months was uplifting. I don’t take Christian community for granted, and this summer was no exception.
A responsibility of mine was to have one on ones with people in the group. Hearing how they were doing in their walks with Christ encouraged me in mine, but one of those meetups was with an old friend that I hadn’t seen much since high school. Things had changed, including him walking away from the faith. He was in the room when I surrendered my life to Christ, and hearing that he had no belief in God anymore was hard. I’m grateful for the opportunity to reconnect and share the Gospel with him through the Little Rock project, and I am hopeful that the seeds God planted in his heart will grow.
Gabriel Brown, Sophomore University of Arkansas Little Rock
My relationship with God really grew when I decided to spend my time working for the Lord with some of my greatest friends. There is nothing more powerful than serving with your best friends. One hard thing that God used me to accomplish this summer, was really diving deeper into his word and getting deeper into my spiritual life. It made me so much happier as a person.
I would highly recommend getting involved with your BCM on campus, because without it I wouldn’t even be close to understanding the path god wants me to be on. Going into college my first year, I wasn’t expecting to make a lot of friends because of online classes and covid. But the BCM changed everything, and I couldn’t be prouder to represent an amazing organization.
Alex McDonald, Sophomore Henderson State University
This summer I have attended the Little Rock Project and made some amazing friends. Through this project, I have met more fellow believers and had a Bible study with them once a week. I believe that it is important to have a group of believers around us to keep each other accountable. As said in James 5:16 to “confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed” Accountability is how believers grow lead each other on the righteous path for Christ. The Little Rock Project was an outlet to stay in the word and to fellowship with other believers.
This summer, I have been able to fully grasp the concept of sharing my faith. The Great Commission is our commandment to spread the word and love of Jesus. It is always a struggle to keep sharing your faith in a normal day to day basis. This summer I have fully grasped that as Christians, God will always take care of us in our seasons of life. In the meantime, listen to where He takes us and keep sharing the gospel.
David Beavers, Junior University of Arkansas Little Rock
I think it was important for my spiritual growth that I worked at a Christian summer camp because you can put pretty much your entire focus on your spiritual life because your literal job description is to be a good spiritual and general role model to the kids, you’re taking care of. So, you spend your summer having a lot of fun, making positive impacts on the future of the church, and getting paid for it all. It’s a dream job.
One thing hard that God used you to accomplish this summer.
I had a cabin with some young guys (6-8) for as 2-week session. They were a handful to say the least. At first none of them were really interested in the devotions or chapels, but after they saw how invested us counselors were in the Bible studies, they started to pay more attention and ask more questions about what we were talking about. And even in the short two weeks that they were with us you could see a huge change in mindset and excitement when it came to spiritual things.
Kinley Larmoyeux, Sophomore Arkansas State University
The Bible explicitly states the importance of godly friendships, and Little Rock
Project gave me the space to meet and fellowship with other believers. My small group contained a solid group of girls; each week we intentionally spent time sharing what the Lord has been doing in our lives and what He has been teaching us through His Word. By asking accountability questions and by being in prayer for one another, I experienced an iron-sharpening-iron type of fellowship. My desire to consistently spend time with God has only increased, and I have spent more time in my Bible than ever simply because my love for it has been cultivated. I am grateful for this community that has positively challenged me in my faith.
I have confidence that God knew exactly what He was doing when he kept me here in Little Rock. Covid-19 may have changed my plans for the summer, but I know that the Lord’s plans were greater. Little Rock Project was the highlight of my summer not just because it was fun, but because my relationship with Christ has grown. I would seriously recommend getting plugged in to any student.
In conclusion, in Psalm 16 the author writes, “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely, I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord”
As we have seen from the testimonies above when we rely on God and push towards his will for our lives. Looking back, we can see that “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” God is ordering our steps and guiding our faith. My encouragement to college students and people out there, like the college students above that intentionally used their committed their summer to God as they reflect God did incredible things through all of them, let God use you. Be obedient to his calling and where that might lead and like the Psalmist says above, “surely, I will have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord.”
May their tribe increase! I hope that as they return to school this fall, that their hearts still burn for others to find Jesus!