I was riding the bus on Saturday, listening to a Circuit Riders podcast, and thinking about my impact in the world. [That sounds snobby and prideful… I don’t mean it that way. We all impact. Anyways. Read on, reader.]
I began to think about the fact I’m here in Edinburgh doing ministry to university students. I thought, “I wonder if it would be more effective to be here longterm and doing this or to be in Nashville longterm doing this.”
And then, before I could even stop my brain, I thought, “Eh, Nash is in the Bible Belt. I should be here.”
I almost laughed as I reminded myself, “uh, Annie, YOU are a product of a college ministry in the Bible Belt.”
I can promise you that the ONLY reason I am even here is because of what God did in me while I was involved with the Wesley Foundation at the University of Georgia [smack in the Bible Belt].
For starters, the first opportunity I was given to come to Edinburgh was in May of 2000 on a mission trip with Wesley. So in it’s purest form, it is thanks to Wesley that my heart beats to a Scottish rhythm.
But I mean it deeper than that.
In my five years at Wesley [four years as a student, one year as an intern], I grew spiritually in ways that words can’t express… but let me try. My love for Christ has deeper roots and greater branches because of the investment made in me there. I learned to pray. I learned to fast. I learned to sacrifice. I learned to worship. I learned to endure. I learned to lead, in the easy days and in the hard. I learned to press into God for all He has for me. I learned so many things.
And for years and years before I even got to UGA, there were students and leaders who prayed for me. No, not by name, but they prayed for the students coming to that campus. They prayed that God would pour out His Spirit. They prayed that God would change the world through those who pass through Wesley.
So I just need to say thanks to them. To the ones who fasted for days on end. To the ones who discipled me and led me and taught me. To the ones who never knew me but prayed wholeheartedly for UGA students. To the ones who went faithfully to Wesley when it had 10 students and prayed for more. Then there were 100 and they prayed for more. Then hundreds came, and now over a thousand students are involved in some capacity EVERY WEEK.
As for me, I’m not at Wesley anymore [obvi… I’m 31 🙂] but I am living to show Jesus to the world. Maybe that means just my little sphere of influence or maybe God will make a way for me to show the great big world what Jesus has done for me.
And I know A LOT of people who have passed through Wesley that would say the exact same thing.
It is all thanks to those who went before us. And I can’t thank them enough.
To think that students in the Bible Belt don’t need to be ministered to is ludacrous. I was a student in the Bible Belt and I needed some major work on my heart, y’all. I was ministered to by people who understood that EVERY university student has the potential to make a lasting mark on this planet.
I had a picture in my head in 2002 that I’ve never been able to shake. I saw a river rushing down the UGA campus and spilling with force into the stadium and through the Tate Student Center. So I still pray that for the campus and the need for Christ there still brings tears to my eyes. No, I don’t know many students there anymore and I’m not ministering daily at the Wesley Foundation. But there are students, waiting to be washed clean by the blood of Christ, ready to swim in that river, and they are going to change the world. And I’m going to pray for them.
Because I know what God does when people pray for the students who pass through the Wesley Foundation.
I know, because I am one.
. . . . .
Who do you need to thank for their investment in your life?