April 2014 Update

Hey everyone!

My work with the two guys with disabilities is going great and work with the church is as well! To get me more involved in my intern position the staff has began to assign me more leadership responsibilities. This has been challenging, yet much appreciated. I am in charge of selling old media equipment in order to purchase updated equipment for the church. I was asked to lead the church’s Friday Night Prayer on the 4th, which went well enough for me to be asked back this past Friday the 25th. On this same night, I was assigned to leave after leading prayer night to head up a campus-wide Capture the Flag event put on by Grace. This event was held starting in the center of campus at The Brickyard and is an objective game mixed with “Tag”. There are two teams, each has a flag that they hide and protect. The opposing team’s objective is to get their flag and return it to their own base. Teams can tag members of the opposing team that attempt to reach their flag and place them in jail. Please pray that those we were able to meet during this time are able to connect with current members of Grace and grow in unity with the Body of Christ.

Where did April go people? I got my April Fool’s joke, someone told me April was an entire month, they fooled me! I am obviously “getting old” as they say, because I remember taking that sigh of relief as I entered into a fresh new month and now I’m sitting here writing to you all and I don’t remember there being much of an in-between. Anyway I can’t complain about this time flying, God has blessed me with health and breath in my lungs each day!

My First Disciple Part 2: Earnestness

If I could choose a word to describe Zach Babb best, since getting to know him, that word would be earnest. After planning to meet up for our first time, following our initial meeting in the lounge, Zach and I met outside his dorm on central campus. I had gotten used to the process of meeting back up with someone as people saying they were interested in getting back with me, sometimes they actually did so, but they’d eventually all end up falling out of contact, stop responding and I wouldn’t see them again for a long time. I was tired of this routine and Zach was different in that he sincerely wanted to follow with his life not just in presentation or lip service. During our first meeting I shared the bridge diagram with Zach, a tool we use to effectively explain the Gospel. I shared this in order to better understand his beliefs and to equip him with a means of sharing his faith to others. It was apparent that the things God was placing on my heart to share with him were hitting fertile soil. Zach let me know that the timing of our meeting marked a crucial point in his life. He was a fairly new believer and had just made the big transition from home and its securities to the college campus. He like all incoming students had began a stage in life where he would either be influenced to grow in his relationship with Christ or abandon it all together. In filling readers in on the in-between in my time with Zach that was hinted at in last month’s newsletter, I won’t go through and explain each meeting we had over the next few months. I do however want you to know that each time we made plans to meet back up, he showed. Zach and I began to outreach together and I was able to help him better understand the power that we have in the Holy Spirit to spread God’s word. It has been extremely encouraging witnessing his consistency and continual growth! He became so compassionate about others and interested in sharing the Gospel that he came to me with aspirations to become a pastor as well as to switch out of his engineering major to go into psychology. I had personally gone through this exact same stage in my life, as I transitioned from an engineering focus to graduate in sociology. God once again chose to use me to explain to him the doors that sticking with his degree would open for him, ones that may be limited if he made a rash decision without prayer and counsel. I also explained to him how awesome the interest he had towards becoming as pastor was. He had to first be faithful in the task God had given him at NC. State to pursue his degree. This would help his ability to pastor and lead later in life. Zach has continued to remain consistent and has decided to room with me and two of my current roommates for the next year. He will be moving in starting this summer as he takes summer courses to stay on track with his degree. He had recently been uncertain about his exact move in date as he didn’t have a job to pay for rent. We were praying for him to find work and he had been asking for advice about how to get hired since this would be his first job. He was just hired two days ago on the spot for how he approached the process. Praise is to God for this and the works that will come through his time with us from here out.

  1. State Day Mission Trip

Last week following our weekly homegroup meeting, Zach and I planned to meet up the next day to outreach for about an hour. Jonathan, from Zach’s study, had plans that conflicted with their usual time for sharing the gospel, so I decided to take his place. This gave us an opportunity to be out on campus like old times. Our time started out productive, we were able to share the Gospel and defend the faith to the people we came across, but an eerie feeling was looming as our time neared its end. I sensed that things needed to change in how we were approaching those we spoke to. It felt like Zach wasn’t getting the opportunity to share with the people we spoke to as he or I would like. After having recently returned from the mission trip to Maryland and sharing some solo there, I realized that I had never outreached alone on my home campus and neither had Zach. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two and this is how we typically recommend outreaching, but there is something unique about the faith needed to approach people alone. It helps me see God work through me as well as strengthen my trust in Him when I’m going through my daily schedule outside of assigned outreaching times. The thought came into my head to ask Zach what he would be doing the rest of the day, since I was free until 2:00. He said that he really didn’t have any other plans after our meeting so we decided to turn our original time into a mini day mission trip spent on campus. During my time solo I was able to encourage a believer in the importance of becoming consistent in his quiet time with God, something God had made apparent to him the day prior to our meeting. I was able to stop a fellow and pray for divine revelation from God in his life. It felt great knowing that He was able to feel Christ through our interaction and that he was given the opportunity to realize God was reaching out to him personally. I also came across a new follower that had just entered into a period of doubt in her life. This once again was an opportunity to show that God personally meets us with situations to show that He cares for us individually. I was able to share with her about the period of doubt that I went through surrounding my birthday this past year and how God pointed me to the story of sin’s introduction into the world. She was struggling with doubt due to thoughts that if God truly existed and had truly called her that she wouldn’t be sinning. I explained to her that Adam and Eve knew God personally, spent time in the Garden with Him, and clearly communicated with Him yet still deliberately disobeyed Him.

A Greater Good, A Part of Something Bigger

The ministry that these newsletters pertain to not only include my individual times reaching students on campus, but also the entire Grace community. I wanted this month’s letter to include not only my time out in sharing the Gospel, but also some of the progress Grace as a whole has seen on campus and in the community recently. Please remain in prayer for those mentioned in my previous newsletters: Patrick, Nathan, Micheal, Hayden, Bryan, Erik and Shirley. Micheal has begun to tag along with Zach to events which are a big step from his fear of large groups. Please pray that he continues to do so and meets the love of Christ through the Body in the process. Each of these guys is at a different point in their lives ranging on the spectrum from lost, searching, and saved to backsliding or burnt out. They all need your prayers. In this past month we have seen Kenton, Jacob, Bryce and Gracie all make the decision to give their lives to Christ! Laura, Kenton and Everett were baptized as a public display of their decisions. We are blessed to have seen these guys and gals come to Christ. Pray that God allows us to equip them with a clear understanding of the importance of The Great Commission as well as the necessary steps to continual growth in their relationships with The Father.

This ministry would otherwise be impossible without the support that you provide. Thank you again for your interest in what God is doing in the hearts here on campus, you are greatly appreciated! Please keep these names and this ministry in your prayers! God Bless.

In Christ,

Thomas F. Saunders IV

Missionary Intern

Grace at State l Raleigh NC

P.S. I just sprained my ankle today so please be in prayer that it doesn’t keep me out of work! The red and crimson are to remind you of the blood that Christ shed for you and the sacrifice God made in order for us to live lives of freedom.

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