In the next three weeks, unbelievably so, this semester will be wrapping up and the students will turn their minds toward holiday plans and other ventures. We have found that at the end of a semester, while exams loom over the heads of college students, they are perhaps a little more vunerable and in much need of encouragement and affirmation. This coming week we will have our regular Bible studies on campus (guys on Mondays, girls on Wednesdays, group on Thursday nights), plus eight hours of manning literature tables by the food court or bookstore. In the past two years, this has been an important time to solidify relationships and make new friendships with students that have, most likely, rubbed shoulders with us during the past four months or so. After passing by our table a hundred times during the semester, they will finally stop, grab some literature, ask a question, or try to redeem a New Year's resolution early by finding out when our Bible studies meet for spring semester. We're ready and waiting for them!
Also, in the following two weeks, we will putting together a Progressive Dinner (Dec. 10) for about 30 students. This is a time of indeed reaching out to students who are just not comfortable to come to any of the Bible studies yet. However, the chance to travel to four different homes all decorated for the holidays and eat some (free) food, is just too much to ignore. They'll come and we will welcome them.
Another tradition we have started is trying to connect with every single student for lunch or a coffee during the week of exams. However, since our group of contacts has grown to more than forty, and we would like to touch base with as many as possible, we will try to plan three or four group lunches, and for those who truly want (or that we know needs) the one-on-one, we'll meet at one of the campus coffee shops, and "make some memories".
I have thought, too, of cookies and small gifts of soap and candles to give each one with a note of encouragement. Just something to let them know they are important to us and that we will be here when they return in January.....ready to continue being a place they can come to gain strength, comfort, answers, and just to belong!
My goals are both aspiring and inspiring! I better get busy!