Written by Erika Hernandez, CAMPUS Missionary 2020-2021
Amid the great nation of Israel, a small group of sons of the prophets stayed faithful when idolatry was taking over the nation. Amid the Philistine ready attack, Jonathan and his servant proclaimed the words of faith “… for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few. (King James Version 1 Sam. 14:6). So, amid the secular parties of the universities, a small group was found gathered on the Sabbath to worship.
Collegiate Sabbath is a special event that happens twice a school year: once each semester. A different university public campus ministry hosts it every semester, and the other Adventist Student Fellowships (ACF) organizations come together to support them.
On Sabbath March 20th, 2021 a group of committed university students decided to safely come together to worship the Lord amid the still seen effects of COVID-19. This year, Campus H.O.P.E., the student-led church at the University of Michigan, hosted the collegiate Sabbath. Students came from Michigan State University, Wayne State University and community colleges.
The program began with Sabbath School at 10:30 AM led by Gabrielle Umana, UMich, discussing the powerful chapter of Romans 5. We learned about faith and most importantly the beautiful role of sacrifice Christ played on our behalf: how great sinners we are, but how merciful our heavenly Father is, giving His Son, giving us peace and reconciling us to Him.
Many students were impacted by a special feature by Sebastien Braxton, former MTP program director, recounting of the history of the Center for Adventist Ministry to Public University Students (C.A.M.P.U.S.), the missionary training program (MTP) in East Lansing, which started in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. The missionary program started with young people who loved God and desired to hasten His coming. After it was in Ann Arbor for over ten years, it moved to East Lansing with Michigan State University as its focus university campus.
The most pivotal part of this divine service was the sermon by S. Braxton. We listened as he shared from James chapter 1, expounding on temptation and trials, leading us to see the importance of how much we love Jesus will impact when we decide to give into temptation or not. “At the temptation, our love for Jesus is weighted”, declared Sebastien Braxton. “Do we love Jesus so much that we won’t dare to sin against Him, or not love Him enough to be drawn away [by our] own lust and sin.” Yet, we also learned the beautiful lesson that amid trials and temptations there is a a blessing, “blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him (James 1:12).
When the service ended, the day was not over. A delicious lunch and fellowship time was prepared for the students in the gym of the Ann Arbor Church. Students sat together, meeting each other, and sharing how God has led their public campus ministry during this unprecedented year.
After the delicious meal and fellowship together, a few of the faithful remnant went out to the University of Michigan for outreach. We gathered at Central campus to survey students about their interest in joining the Christian organization and joining Bible studies. After we prayed, we partnered together and began to engage with the University of Michigan students. The students were open to share their prayer requests and many were interested in God and the Bible. It was inspiring to see Gos awaken the interests in students and have spiritual conversations.
Once we finished the surveys, we came back together at a park, to enjoy God’s beautiful nature, and to pray for the requests and for those students who filled the survey. Each of us prayed for the people we met. The Holy Spirit seemed especially present as we interceded for each name; the blessing truly was ours in praying for others.
This collegiate sabbath was a blessing, through the witness of the Holy Spirit working in us moving and changing our hearts. I was moved by God’s hand at work: to see a group of young adults willing to work for God, not just one but many, to see there is a deep earnestness in them to seek God and out of love towards Him, they seek those around them who may not know Him, to overcome fear, depend on the Lord, and see the miracles of answered prayers. However, God’s work is not finished yet. Students are still listening to the Holy Spirit’s call. The Lord is working on their behalf, and God fulfills His promises. ” Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…”(Phil. 1:6)