I often tell people that God rescued me my first night at UVA.
I came to college a very new Christian, having been involved in McLean Teen Community Bible study where a group of men my age taught me to study the Bible for the first time in my life and showed me what a life giving relationship with Jesus Christ actually was. Starting my junior year of high school, I experienced joy and a fullness of life that I hadn’t known was possible. I was fully invested in growing spiritually, yet despite all that, the best I could have said coming into college was that I hoped my relationship with God would continue. The truth was that I desperately wanted friends, and if I was honest with myself, I was ready to sell out to anything or anyone who would give me a sense of being accepted.
So it was with great distress that I found myself the first night of school in a university-sponsored concert at JPJ basketball stadium, receiving text after text from high school friends, “Jed. You are coming to the Bloc Party with us. You are going to drink with us.” (Here’s where I have to be careful — there are many people in college who are able to go to parties and bring God’s Kingdom. My fear and judgement of party culture was not Christ-like. However, I had a strong sense that for me, going to the party would be a decision to drink heavily, be sexually active, and these things would be a step away from intimacy with the Lord. For me, it was a fork in the road.
I remember walking out of JPJ with friends, having already decided to go out and drink with them, when a feeble prayer went through my head, “Lord… if there is anything else I can do tonight, please make a way.” I kid you not, AS SOON as that thought went through my head, a girl from McLean Teen Community Bible Study — the only Christian I knew at UVA — walked right in front of me. I grabbed her. “Becky, what are you doing tonight?” “I’m going to the Something in a Mug party. It’s a dry party hosted by a Christian Fellowship.” I turned on the spot and followed her out of the building, and my first night was spent drinking strawberry smoothies and root beer floats with some of the most genuinely caring upperclassmen I had ever encountered. From there I got involved in Chi Alpha (XA) and InterVarsity (IV) and discovered a vibrant Christian community that would change the course of my college career and my life. I realized that night that God would be a part of my life for the rest of my life.
I’m now on staff with one of these groups, InterVarsity, because I see God repeating my story over and over again every year. Students often need to belong before they can believe.
I want to ask you to pray with me and with MomsHOOpray for UVA students on the nights of move in: Friday 8/18 and Saturday 8/19.
Pray: That new students would find their way to Christian groups that have community events purposed for meeting and welcoming new students. That through this, they would meet Jesus himself.
And if you have a student starting at UVA, please let them know that any night of the week, one of the campus ministries (IV, XA, Cru, Catholic Student Ministry, Reformed University Fellowship, Navigators, UKirk, Wesley Memorial) is doing something fun where people will be hanging out without alcohol. Regardless of what they think about Jesus, they can meet kind people there.
And if all else fails, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form and I can tell them where to go. My passion is to help first years get connected to people who love Jesus and will love them well.
by Jed Metge, UVA InterVarsity Staff