Paul tells his story of coming to Jesus during InterVarsity New England's Spring Break trip to New Orleans.
In New Orleans, we partake in the loud culture, the warm relationships and the delicious food. They all seem to co-mingle here in the "Crescent City." This year, about 800 students are taking part in our spring break projects, and we are jumping into this place together.
Follow along with their Instagramming - #serveup15.
Many of these students are glad to be someplace warmer for a week (despite a 30 hour bus ride), but some are unexpectedly taking in what it means to face suffering. Lives were torn apart by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and, since then, InterVarsity New England has returned annually to be part of God's restoration process.
What students don't always expect when they arrive is for God to meet them in a profound way. I remember driving into the Lower 9th Ward and seeing one student gasp in horror of the sight of so many destroyed neighborhoods, then tears running compassionately down her cheeks.
During the evenings of content, we place before them the reality of our own broken souls, and that we need restoration by a merciful God in the redemptive plan of Jesus. There is always a call to take a step deeper into the Kingdom of Jesus.
We are seeing "church kids" awakened, cynics becoming curious, first time decisions being made and whole campus fellowships being transformed. In the face of suffering, we are faced with our own need for healing and forgiveness, in order to bring this Gospel to the world. Many students that come here are realizing that they need and want this new life.
Powdered sugar coated French donuts (beignets) are being consumed before we join the work projects here, and they remind me of the sweetness God brings to us in this place and our lives that have once known destruction.
OVER 850 New England Students and Staff have served in Tampa and New Orleans in past 5 weeks.
The impact is still being tallied but there are many stories of God's movement during ServeUP 2014.
In fact, there was a Greek student at UNH (who did not attend) who became a follower of Jesus just from hearing stories of her friends' lives being transformed on the trip. Report from Tampa week two director on 3/22: "Two more Tampa serve up week 2 conversions! Two more Greek women from University of Hartford entered the kingdom yesterday!!! So right now five first time decisions for Jesus and five committed to seek. Amazing."
With only 1/3 of the reports finalized over 20 students have made first time decisions or have recommitted their lives to Jesus!
By Tom Brink, Regional Coordinator for Missions