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Christ Changes Lives
September 16, 2003
Once a month, InterVarsity students replace their regular Large Group meeting with “Testimony and Worship Night.” Students share with the group how God is active in their lives. As Wanda Classen, InterVarsity staff at Minnesota State University- Mankato, helps students shape their testimonies to include what their lives were like before accepting Christ, how they met Christ, and their lives now as Christians, she realizes God’s power in students’ lives.
One night Jessica, a junior, told her InterVarsity Fellowship and sorority sisters about her life in Christ. “Physical injuries, a broken family, severe drug and alcohol abuse, and an eating disorder left me believing that God had turned his back on me, so I turned my back on him at the age of 10,” Jessica said.
When Jessica came to Minnesota State University, she began working as a peer counselor on campus, where she met Barbara. Jessica thought Barbara was a “goody-goody Jesus freak.” After a particularly bad day at work, Jessica couldn’t find anyone except Barbara to talk to. Jessica was surprised when Barbara listened and even offered helpful advice.
One weekend, Jessica was planning to attend a Dave Matthew’s Band concert, but her mom had accidentally thrown the tickets away. Barbara took the opportunity to invite Jessica to a Christian Music Festival. Jessica went and was amazed to see 20,000 people, bands, and speakers talking about this God she thought had rejected her because of her home situation. Jessica became hungry for this God as she listened to people tell the crowd how Christ had changed their lives. Afterwards, Jessica continued to talk to Barbara about God.
Then a few weeks later, Jessica was talking with Sarah, her roommate, about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. Sarah was a Christian and involved with InterVarsity, so Jessica hoped Sarah could help.
Sitting down on the bed, Sarah told Jessica, “My personal relationship with Jesus helps me to be more open and accepting of others, because I know I did nothing to earn Christ’s love. It’s a free gift he’s offered to anyone who will accept it. After I accepted Christ’s gift of love, everything changed. When I don’t know what to do in difficult situations, instead of giving up, I pray and ask Christ to help me through it. I have a sense of peace in my life that wasn’t there before I accepted Christ.”
Jessica, listening to Sarah share so openly about her faith in God, realized she wanted and needed Jesus’ peace and freedom in her life. “How do I start a relationship with Jesus? Will you help me?” Jessica asked. Sarah prayed with Jessica as she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior.
Jessica thought she would be happier after accepting Christ’s love and praying through difficult situations, but her life didn’t seem to get any easier. When Jessica’s father was in a car accident, she was tempted to turn to alcohol, just as she had done before arriving at school, but instead she turned to Jesus. Praying, reading Scripture, and getting together with some of her InterVarsity friends helped Jessica believe that Christ was with her through this difficult situation. Jessica’s father had completely recovered five days later.
Jessica tells everyone she talks to about how Christ changed her life. “I don’t know how people can have their lives changed by God and not want to tell everyone they know!” said Jessica. As a result of listening to Jessica’s testimony, her sorority sisters were asking questions and seriously considering what the Bible says about Jesus. The director of fraternities and sororities, who is a Christian, asked Jessica to share her testimony at a meeting, so that all fraternity and sorority students could see how a relationship with Jesus can transform people’s lives.
Students are more likely to be open to Jesus if they hear their peers telling how God is real and active in their own lives. Testimonies are easy to relate to, because even if the people listening have not been through the same situation, they have felt the same feelings of betrayal, desperation, pain, beauty, or joy. The strongest part of a student’s testimony is how their faith in Jesus Christ has helped them through difficult situations in their lives.