February 2014 Update

Hi  everyone!

I’m excited to have this opportunity to inform you all of some updates from my ministry this past month! To preface just a few of the conversations God has blessed me with during this time, I wanted to say that we never know how the person we share with is going to respond. They could be completely uninterested or they could be the next Billy Graham (someone had to share with him). Ultimately their response is their responsibility. If they respond positively or they respond negatively, it’s the message of Christ they are ultimately accepting or rejecting not you. When I think back on these past few weeks I can’t help but immediately think of four names that stand out clearly to me from my time reaching out to individuals on campus. These names are Patrick, Nathan, Michael and Shirley. For the sake of space I won’t explain in full detail each of these conversations/meetings with you, but would gladly answer any further questions about them or others that I have encountered in separate emails!

Prayer Changes Things for a Weary Soul

Patrick, an older gentleman in about his early to mid forties, stood out on the college campus to me during our time outreaching. He looked rough and not too interested in being stopped, so we decided to stop him. Every soul is important to God and we cannot pick and choose who we think God will work with, He makes those decisions. Patrick was blown away that two college aged students took their faith seriously enough to reach out and pray for others. He ended up speaking to us for almost thirty minutes in which he completely opened up about his life. He was a falling away believer who had attended seminary school and ran a downtown ministry for the homeless. He and his wife had won the lottery on a smaller scale than the jackpot level and this process had ended up tearing their marriage apart. They were now separated and he was fighting to get back what he could from a life that went from extreme highs to an extreme low. He truly appreciated our prayers and expressed desire to stay in touch with us.

A Name added to the Book, A soul saved.

Nathan is a freshman in computer engineering and it was evident upon stopping him that he was going to hear what we had to say. After praying for Nathan we asked him how confident he was that if he were to die today that he would spend eternity in Heaven with God. Nathan was about 80% confident in his salvation and based his confidence on his knowledge of scripture. We asked Nathan if anyone had ever shown him how he could be 100% certain and he said no. We were able to share the Gospel with Nathan and warned him not to accept Christ into his heart in hopes of pleasing us or getting out of talking with us any longer. He said that he was not doing so for us, but that he wanted to on his own. He wanted to have Christ in his heart to know that God was always with him and that he would never be alone. We were able to go through prayer with Nathan in order for him to ask Christ into his heart. We gave him information about our church and small group meetings and are staying in connect in hopes that he gets connected into a solid community.

Feeding Curiosity of the Lost, Clearing up Misconceptions about Christ.

Michael is a fellow that Zach has been coming alongside to present him with the Gospel as well as an in-depth look at who Jesus is. Michael is not ready to accept the Gospel or Christ into his heart, he feels that he needs to know a lot more and be informed not only about Christianity but also all other religions before he makes a decision. Michael feels that the decision to accept Christ is uncomfortable and this is hindering his decision. After meeting with Michael for about a month we have learned that he’s “just not there yet” and that God has a different plan for his life than a simple submission conversion. Michael understands the consequences for putting off his decision and God is really using him in mine and Zach’s lives to find out whether or not we truly desire to see him saved. We are beginning to introduce him to the body of the church so that he can see Christ in new ways. We are praying for Michael and hope you will do the same.

A Believer Equipped and Trained to Impact Others

Shirley is a sophomore that lives in Zach’s suite on campus. They had been acquainted prior to our conversation this past week however neither of them knew each other’s religious beliefs. After meeting for lunch, Zach and I decided to go ahead and outreach at 2:00 instead of our normal time at 4:00 so that I wouldn’t have to travel back to campus in the weather conditions. We went to Zach’s room and got paper and planned to start sharing from there. We decided to speak to the first person we came in contact with that was alone and this was Shirley. We approached him and asked if there was anything he would like prayer for, that we were out praying for anyone (students, faculty, staff, etc). After thinking about it, he said the he would like prayer for rejection that he had recently received from a girl he had liked for about eight months. After praying for Shirley, we asked him how certain he was that if he were to die today (not wishing anything on him) that he’d go to heaven on a percentage scale from 1 to 100. He said he was 100% certain confidently, without much thought about it. So we asked him what contributed to his confidence. He said that no one deserved heaven, but that his trust was placed in what Christ had done for him on the cross. It was apparent to Zach and I that we had met a believer and that we needed to see how we could come alongside of him to aid in his spiritual growth. We asked him about his community and his confidence in sharing his faith. He said that since being at college, like many Christians, he had failed to connect with any believers and had little confidence in his ability to share his faith with others. We explained to him that God desires our growth through community and the Great Commission. We shared the bridge diagram with him and trained him how to share his faith boldly using it. We stressed the importance of obeying the command to “Go” in Matthew 28 and the potential in this process. We invited Shirley to our weekly small group and church services so that he had opportunities to serve, connect and grow.

Although I am on the front lines here, 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! (Attached are two photos from this past month. The first photo is of me and Zach in front of a car that someone ran onto campus and got stuck on a flight of stairs during our time outreaching. The second is the group that we had for Valentine’s Day Dinner, this was an opportunity for the guys in our small group to cook, prepare and serve for the ladies.)

In Christ,

Thomas F. Saunders IV

Missionary Intern

Grace at State l Raleigh NC

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