These two have a shared experience through the Adopt-A-College Student ministry at FUMC Hurst. For the past two years they have been matched as “adoptive family” and “adopted student” and the relationship is bearing fruit for them both!
It is not the greatest of commitments – families, individuals and classes sign up for a school year to connect with a college student by sending cards by good ol’ snail mail, exchanging emails and sending goodie bags and care packages.
It is not the most exotic of challenges – it won’t take you far from home, or give you daring adventures to relate to others. It is a simple invitation to enter into a relationship with someone you might not know.
Yet in its simplicity is the opportunity for so much! College students have told me how much they appreciate, and are encouraged by, being remembered by their church family. Through the ups and downs, stress and challenges that come along with college, students are reminded that a larger body of faith is holding them in prayer. As new doors of opportunity and understanding open before them, students can be assured of their roots in a community of Christ’s love.
The student and her “adopted” parent I saw on Sunday both enthusiastically asked to be paired together again for the upcoming school year! The ministry has been a blessing to them both as they have found joy through the connection.
Watching their interaction was just another reminder to me that there is a reason we walk the road of faith in community. There is a reason we move ever deeper in our faith as disciples when we share life with one another. Other disciples offer us guidance, comfort, encouragement and wisdom. Other disciples give us shoulders to cry on when we’re overcome with grief and celebrate with us in our joy. Other disciples give us new eyes to look at the world through especially when their life experience is different than our own. Other disciples can challenge our ways of thinking and push us to consider new ways of understanding God’s love.
I hope that you will seek out connections with other disciples. Whether you connect with other people through a small group or other ministry, I invite you to seek out a new, and perhaps unexpected, relationship with someone in the coming months. You never know how your lives may be blessed by one another.