Thanksgiving and Praise from ServeUP!

29 Smithies, together with 40 other students from Mount Holyoke, Amherst and UMass, went down to New Orleans for ServeUP, our annual alternative spring break trip back in March. The week was packed with long, full days on work sites as well as evenings of community reflection time where we delved into Scripture and created space for small-group spiritual discussion to help students respond to and engage personally to the issues of systemic injustice and brokenness they witnessed in New Orleans.

We saw God move powerfully through prayer while on ServeUP. By the end of the week, we saw students sharing vulnerably in small groups and that trust had built so much that many longed to continue having these same deep conversations back on campus. One Smith small group was moved to tears one night as they processed their powerful experiences of encountering God in big and small ways. The small group leader led one of her members in prayer to ask God to be revealed to her. The small group member hadn't previously experienced God in a personal way. By the end of the week, she reported encountering God in a myriad of ways and after having heard the gospel one night. That night, she responded by deciding to follow Jesus for the first time!

For some, the curious, hard questions raised by non-Christians during evening discussion times challenged them to think deeply about their own faith and learn to discern how best to respond to their friends in gracious and loving ways that pointed them further to Jesus. I saw two students grow in their desire to know the Word more, deepen in conviction for what they believe, as well as grow in hunger to see others know Jesus!

Written by Wai Leng Leong, InterVarsity campus staff at Smith College.