As promised I'll talk about SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry) in this post. We brought 11 woman from UTD to SICM, and those are the people that I mainly talked to during the week. SICM is 6 days of classes. The students are either there from 9am-5:30pm or 9am -9pm. As you can imagine a common response during the week was they were a little overwhelmed. You hear so many profound things, and you're trying to soak it all up. But every single one of those girls also said they loved the experience. Right now I'm in the process of having conversations with girls that I think could lead a small group next year. I met with one of the girls who went to SICM this week, and I asked her about her experience. I really wished that I had recorded what she said. It was very powerful how excited she was about talking through what God had done while she was there. She reminded me of an instance that happened Tuesday night while we were there. The students have long days both Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night we have this worship activity to help prepare the students hearts and minds to go out on campus and do evangelism. We finished up the night with some songs, and I was personally ready to go. It's been a long two days, and I'm tired. But the students started chanting for an encore!!! This is the only time I've ever seen this happen, and I've been to SICM 4 times now. It didn't dawn on me how cool that was, though, until this girl brought it up and said "these students have been doing 12 hour days, yet they weren't ready to leave yet! They wanted to stay and continue to worship Jesus." The Spirit always really works on this trip, and it's so encouraging to go and watch how God impacts people. I'm not the best story teller, though, so I asked Alayna Thomas, one of the girls who went to SICM from UTD, to write about her experience there. I really hope that this story encourages you as well. P.S. I tried to find photos besides the one on the post card. I had no luck, though:(
A Reflection of What God Taught Me at SICM
June 3, 2017 | Alayna Thomas
God can and does meet us where we are at. I have learned that He sometimes needs to pull us away from the distractions to fully have our attention. SICM was my pull. I needed to leave familiar Texas to encounter my unchanging God in an unfamiliar place. In the Pacific Northwest, He shaped mountains (foothills actually, per my host mom) and He caught my attention with their beauty.
At SICM, I rediscovered God's divine goodness, faithfulness, and provision. Before the week of classes, I believed that discipleship and evangelism were occupational tasks for those called into ministry. But God taught me two very important things in Bellingham, WA:
- Sharing the GOOD NEWS is not a vocation; it is a lifestyle.
- God calls us daily to take up our crosses and follow Him. He calls us to go and make disciples of all nations.
As one of my youth pastors preached in middle school, God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. If we choose to disqualify ourselves, less people will encounter God. His goodness, faithfulness, and provision are not truths to keep to ourselves, rather truths to bless others.
One afternoon amid classes, the SICM schedule included on-campus evangelism. I was terrified. My anxiety was so rampant that prayers for peace didn’t bring my pulse down. I was so convinced that my conversations with Whatcom Community College students were small tests. If I failed - whatever failure looks like - then I obviously didn't learn anything at SICM.
God is able and willing to meet us where we are at. He met me in the anxiety that I wouldn't surrender. He embraced me in the inadequacy that I conjured in my mind.
After about two hours of evangelism at WCC, our team of 12 students (six pairs) rejoined to debrief. It was evident that God worked through us. Yet I still convinced myself that I didn't do "well enough."
That feeling stuck with me until Sunday night, when my friend and I were on our way to the airport. (We stayed an additional 36 hours in Washington to see more of Seattle before coming back to hot Texas. The hotel we lodged at provided shuttle service to the airport.) All day Hollee and I shared stories of stresses that were waiting for us back home. God was not invited to the conversation. We also discussed how we were still uneasy about evangelism; we were disappointed that we weren't naturals at approaching strangers.
After an afternoon of sight-seeing, we arrived back at the hotel three hours before our flights. Might as well get there early, we thought. So, we picked up the luggage and waited for the shuttle. Hollee and I were the only two hotel guests headed to the airport. Our driver was very friendly and conversational, and we were still full from a week of God's great love.
Sem, the shuttle driver, asked what brought us to Washington.
"A Christian leadership conference," I said. Hollee saw his eyes light up through the mirror.
"Oh?" he asked. "So what did you learn at this conference?"
We told him all the basics, not knowing whether he was a believer. Discipleship, evangelism, leading small groups, developing spiritual friendships. Our feelings of evangelical inadequacy surfaced.
Sem eagerly began to tell stories of God's amazing life transformations. Sem is a strong Christian man who has devoted his life to say yes to God. He is involved in his church and faithfully keeps his job as the shuttle driver because of his ability to minister to hundreds of guests each month.
Hollee and I were in audibly visual awe. “Wow, God is good.”
I can't even attempt to write out the stories that Sem shared. God tells him to have conversations, and he has them. Homeless men, addicted women, tourists and Washingtonians alike have come to see Jesus because of Sem’s obedience. He humbly gave praise to our King, and not his own works.
His stories were so plentiful, that we rode the shuttle for two loops to the airport. We had the time. Once we made it back to the airport a second time, we sat in his shuttle for another 20 minutes or so. Before we left, God used Sem to very clearly give Hollee and I imparting advice.
"The Holy Spirit is living inside of you," Sem said. "Every encounter that people have with you is a physical encounter with God."
God can and does meet us where we are at. He calls us to not stay still, but to move as He moves. We are all His children, and He wants us to come home. He wants us to bring our friends over for playdates. He wants to adopt the lost and heal the sick. God calls us to invite people to the table, so that they too may taste and see that He is good.
I hope you enjoyed that. Thanks for making this experience possible for all the students who went! I'm so excited to see what they do with everything they learned when school starts.