Being a missionary on a secular campus is not quite as simple to define as you may think. Just yesterday I took time to write down some of the jobs I have performed just this past month while ministrying to college students. No wonder my mind is so boggled and my body so tired at times!
While it is obvious that Bible teacher/evangelist would be the preeminent responsibility to these students, the others can sometime be just as demanding and needed.
There have been two students that, in the last couple of months, to whom I have acted as a nurse. One was put on some very strong medicines for allergies, when what she was really experiencing was mild allergies with major panic attacks. The medicines made her groggy, depressed, withdrawn, unable to focus, and delusional. After doing much research, I finally convinced her to go off the medicine, except a milder allergy aid; we went out for a couple of lunches, I took her to buy something new for her room (her room was causing some of her panic disoders), and recommended her to a counselor.
Another student has used me as a job consultant and health/auto insurance consultant. It was more just listening and giving her some tips of where to find the right answers.
One of my biggest roles in the lives of these students is as a relationship adviser/confidante. They will tell me so many things, looking for approval, disapproval, suggestions, advice, and just plain magic!
Just recently we had a college student and her fiance with us for a six-week internship on college ministry. Yesterday we had to fill out a grade sheet and evaluation form on her. So, along with all the other duties, we had the privilege of being trainers in ministry.
Yesterday, also, while in the middle of a scheduled lunch with a student, another student called because her car had broke down in a Target parking lot. I arranged AAA to tow the car to a garage for repair and stayed with her through the whole process. Car repair mediator sounds like a good title for that role!
Also, yesterday, I performed photography duties -- taking group and individual pictures of our new officers for next year. This is one of my duties at most Bible studies and other activities that we have during the year.
Chef and nutritionist is one of the roles that I love best because it is a great passion for me. Each week I cook a meal for the students that they enjoy before the weekly Bible study. For most, it is the only well-rounded, balanced, home-cooked meal they will get! I talk to the students constantly about their health, eating properly, and how that will affect everything else they do.
I am also a constant cheerleader of them all. College students are vulnerable, needy of praise and encouragement, and just some good ole fashioned love!
Next week I will begin what I believe will be a very intense counseling session with a student we have known for three years now. She is a beautiful Christian young lady with a past that haunts her and at times renders her useless and paranoid. There is abuse (physical and emotional) and other issues that I imagine will surface as we work through her life little by little. This role is one of the most serious of all that I do. Counseling is another passion of mine. One of the greatest joys is to see a person begin climbing out of the cage of guilt, shame, bitterness, anger, and sin -- and walk in newness of life.
I have learned to be thankful for whatever role God asks me to step into on any given day! It's part of being alive, being able to love others, and touch lives in unique and unpredictable ways!