3 Generations of Discipleship
Mia, Haley & Fernanda at a recent Cru “decades party.”
Every August, a flurry of activity on campus launches a virtual tent city by the student union as different groups promote their cause. Three weeks ago, Cru at UCF sprang into action with our tent, just across from the Secular Student Alliance with its banner reading “Good without God?”
This time last year, a freshman passed our tent and eventually was invited to Cru by Haley, a sophomore who had become a believer the year before through (Mia) who is now a senior. The freshman’s name was Fernanda.
Here’s her story in her own words:
I was born in El Salvador, where my mom and dad got divorced before I turned one. I never knew my Dad or had the chance to form a relationship with him, but shortly after my mom and I moved to the United States, she got remarried and I finally felt like I had a family. My relationship with my stepdad was never good. I desired so badly to receive love from a father and to have that special relationship, but I was constantly feeling like I wasn’t good enough and that I wasn’t worth it. I wanted so badly to be loved , and would constantly be trying to establish my identity in other things, like taking pride in the material things I had, in friendships, and the house I lived in. This whole time I still felt like it wasn’t enough and I needed the approval of those around me in order to feel valued and loved. Around junior year of high school, my parents got divorced. I felt angry, confused, hurt and not wanted. I began turning to boys, alcohol, and drugs to try to gain that approval and love I was desperately seeking. Alcohol was my escape and a way to avoid my emotions and it was during this time I was raped. Before leaving for college, I was at my lowest; feeling like I was worthless and had nothing else to offer. I was so lost in the partying lifestyle and was convinced this was what life was all about.
The second week of school at UCF, I was invited to Cru where I signed up for a small group. Although apprehensive the first week, I went and left feeling surprisingly good. I remember feeling so loved and watching the other girls and the joy they had while talking about this Savior. It made me want what they had. As I kept attending small group and began to be discipled, I began to understand the gospel. I still wasn’t ready to make the decision to follow Christ until I went home Christmas break and for the first time became aware of the weight of sin in my life and my need for a Savior. It was as if a blindfold had been removed from my eyes and I was able to see and understand why I needed Jesus, and that he LOVED me. In that moment I accepted Christ into my life. Even from that moment I have seen God teach me so much. Understanding that I have a heavenly Father who is crazy about me and genuinely cares and knows me because of his death on the cross,I can be forgiven and live a life free in Christ. Not turning to temporary things for approval or worth but knowing that my worth and identity lies fully in Jesus and what he did for me! Never in my life have I experienced joy or peace like I have now, and although I continue to sin daily, I am daily shown God’s grace and reminded of just how much I need him.
A Fourth Generation?
This summer, Fernanda went on one of Cru’s summer projects in Miami and sensed the Lord calling her to reach out to the sorority communities back at UCF. By an incredible act of the Holy Spirit, she (along another student & Cru staff member) have received favor with at least 5 of UCF’s 12 sororities and given the chance to share her story at the mandatory chapter meetings. As of now, that’s 750+ women hearing about the saving work of Jesus!
Please pray that the Spirit would speak through Fernanda as her story resonates with these women, and that He would awaken the hearts of a 4th generation in this lineage of believers! Also pray for Carrie as she coaches Mia, Haley & other upperclassmen in transferring leadership and preparing for ministry after college.
Please pray for:
- Our growing baby boy! We had a knock-down drag-out Paper, Rock, Scissors battle and Jayson won (pictured on the other side). The ultrasound confirmed the outcome.
- Jayson has 2 trips this coming month. He’ll be traveling & meeting with at least 3 churches the 2nd weekend in October. Then on to Austin to take place in a “hackathon” with “Code for the Kingdom.”
- Bobby injured his ankle a few weeks ago. He’s been barred from putting weight on it since then. He should be back up next week. Pray for total healing.
- We’ve begun the application process for a loan to purchase a house here in Orlando. Pray for wisdom and leading from the Lord as we prepare for a move around mid-March.