October 2017 Prayer Letter

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”(Isaiah 6:8)

​Greetings from Kent! This is such a beautiful time of the year here in Northeast Ohio! I’ve been trying to get out to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park whenever I can, to see the leaves change from green to yellow and orange and red, to hear the swish of the dried leaves beneath my feet, to smell the clean and crisp autumn air, to feel the wind on my face… It’s become a place of deep reflection and renewal for me.

I can’t exactly describe or explain it, but God is doing something extraordinary at Kent State University, and particularly within H2O Kent, this school year.

Just this week, I woke up to find a text message on my phone from a guy named Morgan, whom I’ve recently been getting to know. He wrote: “Wow wow. I’m SO AMPED UP! Hahaha. I just told my apartment-mates that I accepted Jesus / got baptized this weekend and we talked for like two hours about my journey and about God / Jesus. Now she wants to have regular discussions about God and to join for a Bible study that I usually just do by myself! Sorry for the late text, just had to share!”

Morgan and I met just two weeks earlier, when a friend brought him to H2O’s weekly worship gathering. I happened to be preaching from the book of 1 John that day — touching upon themes of love, regret, loss, and forgiveness — and something prompted Morgan to follow up with me. He sought me out in the lobby, afterwards, and we talked for a few minutes before arranging a separate time to meet up later in the week. When we resumed the conversation at Tree City Coffee that Wednesday, I found it really easy to connect with Morgan.

(Morgan is the tall, bearded guy in sunglasses in the back, on the right)

He exuded an easy-going personality, a warm style of communication, and a profound spiritual curiosity. As our conversation unfolded, I explained how God created the world to be a place of beauty, peace, and connection with Him… When sin and self-centered choices entered the picture, however, we started to experience separation from God: conflict, corruption, disease, death… Morgan soaked it all up.
I went on to explain how God initiated a rescue plan, culminating in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection three days later. I could tell that Morgan was processing a lot of different thoughts and emotions in the moment. He asked a lot of insightful follow-up questions, but he didn’t feel ready to commit to following Jesus right there, on the spot. He wanted to take some time to think about things a bit more and read the Bible using a simple method that I demonstrated for him that afternoon.

God kept pursuing Morgan over the course of the next ten days. We kept in communication, mostly via text messaging, and I could tell he was getting closer to a decision for Christ. The following weekend at our Fall Retreat (the biggest and best one we’ve ever had, in all my years at Kent State), God revealed Himself to Morgan through teaching, worship, time in solitude, and conversations with others. On Saturday morning, he approached me, saying he wanted to talk, and (you guessed it!) after another 20 or 30 minutes of conversation, Morgan prayed to place his faith in Christ. That evening, Morgan was baptized — along with 11 other students at the Retreat — and together we celebrated God’s work in his life.

(The picture’s not great, but the moment of Morgan’s baptism definitely was!)

The best part of Morgan’s story is the way that it’s spilling out to others. We asked him to share a “Snapshot” of his spiritual journey (a regular thing we do at our worship gatherings) on the day after his baptism — and “it just so happened” that some of his co-workers were in the audience, sparking a conversation with them that continues even now. When Morgan shared the news with his fraternity brothers, it prompted more Gospel conversation. And, as you saw in the text message I quoted earlier, his spiritual development is now catalyzing the spiritual development of his housemates, as well. God is doing something extraordinary! Would you please pray with me for Morgan to keep riding this wave of God’s Spirit? I can’t wait to see what God will do next! We’ll be in touch…

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