Stories from Santa Monica

May 1, 2019 | Melanie Shepard, Our Missionaries

“We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father” – John 1:14b

Deep Questions Retreat

Investing in High School Students over Pancakes

Santa Monica Students

Dear Friend,

This past month God has been stirring in the hearts of students of all places of faith. Here are some of their stories!

The first time the possibility of a Divine Creator came into the discussion, Ted, a masters of engineering student at UCLA, laughed out loud. God was such a ludicrous idea to him that it was humorous. After several BBQs and discussions of deep questions about a reality beyond the material world, this was Ted’s response, “Okay, what if I concede there is a divine being? Do I have to concede that he directly created me?” The tension in this question shows so much of the struggle we all have. If God exists, what are the implications on me, and do I have to change the way I live? Ted is still considering those implications. Please pray for him.

Alberto is another student from the deep questions club. We had a conversation about Jesus. I asked him what he thought, and he said that Jesus did and said a lot of really good things that he admired. I then asked, “Did you know that Jesus claimed to be God? What are your thoughts about that?” He said he was not sure and was interested in investigating it more. Last week I gave him a New Testament with the book of John marked as a starting point. Alberto is an avid reader, so I am hopeful he will explore on his own.

The student leaders I turned the Bible Study over to have expanded our capacity on campus! They are growing in their relationship with God and each other. Plus, we are only half way into the semester, as it will continue through mid June. Two of these leaders have been accepted into UC Santa Barbara, and I know they will hit the ground running leading Bible studies together there.

Ariella was from the Jewish tradition, and it was her first time talking to a Christian about their beliefs. Then she said something that has stuck with me, “In my faith we can see that God does God things, and that is how we know who He is. Like when God parted the sea and the people walked across on dry ground, or when they were in the desert God provided food for them. Every morning there was manna. We can’t do those things so I know it was God. God does God things. You say that Jesus was God. Then what God things did he do?” I felt like I had the perfect set up. I shared how Jesus was sleeping in a boat with his closest followers when a storm came, and they woke him up in panic. Jesus simply said “Peace, be still”, and the storm completely dropped out. The people with him said, “Who is this man that even the wind and the waves obey Him?” Towards the end of our conversation she said she had never heard about these things before.

PRAYER POINTS

• Ted an Atheist considering God

• Alberto a Skeptic considering Jesus

• Ariella a Jewish student

 

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