“So I have a moral dilemma that I need to run by you, and I think you’re the most moral person I know.”
The first part of this phrase is not unusual to hear on a college campus, on this occasion the campus of Hocking Technical College in Nelsonville, Ohio. Emily and I were down in the area to meet with churches to talk about partnering with us in our ministry, so we decided to meet and catch up with Chris, a student in the ministry with whom I had the privilege of working with last year. I could not wait to catch up with Chris and hear about how the Lord had been working in his life.
We sat down at a picnic table outside the dining hall and had only been there for a minute or so when “Garrett” suddenly plopped down beside all of us and blurted out that sentence to Chris. He began to tell a long story of how he had befriended a girl with whom he had classes. She needed a place to stay between those classes, so he offered her his extra room key so she could have a place to nap. One thing led to another and they began to sleep together. Garrett’s moral dilemma had to do with the fact that this girl had a boyfriend already, so he was not sure how to handle the situation. He also had no idea if what he was doing with her was okay or not. Chris listened carefully, his eyes never leaving Garrett as his story unfolded.
Emily and I sat quietly as well, listening. My mind began to race as the story went on. “Garrett is not unlike a lot of young college kids”, I thought. “He is trying to figure out how to make it on his own, find happiness, and have some purpose. Yet he does not even have a basic moral compass. He doesn’t have anyone or anything to tell him what is right or wrong.”
I was also encouraged as I watched Chris engage with Garrett. He began to gently explain to Garrett why what he was doing was wrong. About this time last year, Chris had only just surrendered his life to Christ and began a relationship with him. It was incredible to watch him gently talk with Garrett and tell him why what he had been doing was not okay. I was incredibly impressed by his continued growth and maturity. Most importantly, Garrett had sought out Chris for his thoughts, calling him “the most moral person I know.” The fact that Garrett had reached out to him signaled to me that non-Christians know there is something different about Chris. Because his life has truly been transformed, he has already had opportunities to be a witness of Christ to others and will continue to have more.
Honestly, it was hard to see Garrett go through this and have no truth to lean on when life is hard. At a time when we are usually away from campus, our conversation with Garrett was a great reminder of why Emily and I have chosen to be full-time missionaries and work on college campuses. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36
1. Praise God for all that He did at OU’s Fall Retreat (thanks for praying!) Several hundred students came, friendships were formed, and lives were changed.
2. For Chris’s friend, “Garrett.” Pray that God would work in his heart and his mind, and that his problems would convince him of his need for Jesus.
3. For all lost college students, “harassed and helpless”, that God would give us ample opportunity to introduce them to their shepherd.
4. Again, for us, as we continue to work on finishing our required seminary course and developing our Ministry Partner team so that we can return to campus. We are praying to return in January, in time for spring semester.
5. For a friend, with whom Emily is attempting to share the Gospel.