Urbana, Greek Ministry, Missions, Legal Issues, Alumni, Bible Study, From the President, Campus Ministry, Graduate Faculty Ministry, Evangelism
“I love to tell stories,” declares 2010 alumna Deborah Ahenkorah.
And as the founder and executive director of Golden Baobab, an organization that awards three annual prizes to the best authors and illustrators on the African continent, she has a powerful story to tell—one of disappointment, faith, and grace.
A Childhood of Books
Deborah’s life has always been full of stories. As a child growing up in Ghana, she read everything she could get her hands on, from Bible stories to Nancy Drew mysteries to romance novels to Christian fiction. “I had a very intimate relationship with books,” she says. “In reading I got to go on all these journeys by myself in my own imagination. . . . My head was such an interesting place to go back to.”
“Life after college is tough,” Anthony Moore, a 2012 graduate from San Diego State University, candidly admitted. His post-college year has been one of looking both outward to intentionally love coworkers with the love of Christ and inward to face personal battles.
The Kingdom of God at Work
“Once I graduated, I felt very on my own,” he said. “Still, the skills I picked up in college—talking to people about Jesus, inviting, asking the right questions, knowing what mistakes to avoid—really helped me feel confident. . . . InterVarsity equipped me with the tools I needed to talk to people about Jesus and spread the kingdom.”
“I grew up going to church all my life—I was involved in Sunday school, church choirs, youth group, and church camp during the summer,” said Megan Wong. “I knew all the Bible stories, but as I look back on it now, my faith was very stagnant.”
Megan’s parents raised her to believe in God. But Megan realized in college that she was just going through the religious motions without understanding how much her life was affected by God and how God could use her.
During her first year at Sonoma State, Megan found InterVarsity. She remembers that her InterVarsity chapter had talked a lot about being a witness on campus and that sharing God’s Word with non-Christians was an essential part of following Jesus Christ. Megan and other InterVarsity students were trained to invite non-Christian friends to join a small group Bible study, where their friends could investigate God for themselves.
In a journey only God could design, InterVarsity alumni Joe and Sheila Fell are living in urban Cleveland, bringing God’s hope and light to their community through legal advice and education.
Sheila and Joe both began their freshman year at Case Western Reserve University and at the InterVarsity group on campus there as brand new Christians, unsure or even unaware of concepts like “discerning God’s will for your life” and “listening to God.” But by the time they each graduated, five years apart, both sensed God calling them to work in an urban, multiethnic setting.
Michael Oh, who told his story of faith and commitment at InterVarsity’s 2009 Urbana Student Missions Conference, has been selected to become the next Executive Director/CEO of the Lausanne Movement, a global coalition of evangelical Christians. Michael is a Korean-American missionary who founded Christ Bible Institute in Nagoya, Japan. On March 1, 2013, he succeeds Douglas Birdsall, who becomes president of the American Bible Society.
Thousands of Bible studies are breaking out across the country, following commitments made at Urbana 12, InterVarsity’s Student Missions Conference, held December 27-31, 2012, in St. Louis.
At Urbana 12, attendees were invited to commit to lead an Evangelistic Bible Study (EBS) with a friend and 8, 153 responded by filling out a commitment card and by taking an Evangelistic Bible Study Guide. The Bible studies (also known as GIGs—Groups Investigating God in InterVarsity parlance) are focused on passages from the Gospel of Luke.
David Sutherland served in President Clinton’s administration, helped start in his house what has become a 1,000-member church, and moved his family to Asia for the sake of God’s global mission — all because of what God did in David’s life in college.
What Matters Most
“My debate experience in high school and college inspired me to figure out what things are ultimately important, so that we can invest our lives in those things the most,” noted David. “But InterVarsity and Urbana showed me that God invites us to invest our whole lives in the things that matter most to Him.”
When David and his brother began attending the University of Louisville, they were focused on winning the national debate championships. They dedicated over 100 hours every week to practicing for debate competitions; and during their freshmen year, they won second place in the national championships.
Almost 16,000 people are gathered in St. Louis for Urbana 12, InterVarsity's triennial student missions conference where the theme is The Great Invitation. In his opening remarks, Urbana Director Tom Lin called on the overwhelmingly college student audience to "surrender your plans and let God surprise you. God's invitation extends further than we can every imagine. Don't limit God."
Urbana 12 began today and will continue through New Year's Eve, next Monday, at the America's Center and the Edward Jones Dome. Attendees have access to more than 100 workshops and have the opportunity to talk with more than 250 missions organizations and seminaries who are exhibiting at Urbana 12.
At a news conference on the opening day, Tom was asked how college students today are different than the students who attended earlier Urbanas. He said that the differences make it both easier and more difficult to engage in missions.
For Immediate Release
(Madison, WI) --- Students who attend college to find meaning and purpose in life will sharpen their focus by attending InterVarsity’s Urbana Student Missions Conference, which is held every three years between Christmas and New Years Day. Urbana 12 will be held December 27-31 at the America’s Center and Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
Today’s students may differ from students of earlier years by the number of online classes they’ve taken, by their proficiency in social media, and perhaps by their level of concern over the amount of educational loan debt they’re carrying. But students still seek a career that will make a difference in today’s world. Providing answers for that search is what Urbana 12 is all about.
The music, sung by 17,000 people, was unexpectedly powerful for Jim Hicks when he attended InterVarsity’s Urbana Student Missions Conference in 1996. “Never before and never since have I experienced that kind of worship,” he said.
The insights from the Bible exposition and the volume of information gleaned from missionary speakers were also overwhelming for this student from the College of Wooster InterVarsity chapter. He was glad for the chance to talk over his experiences with others in his Urbana small group. "I was absorbing a lot, but I'm an external processer,” he said. “I come to understand things and understand the application in my own life through talking about it and listening to others."