On February 28 I (Ryan) was able to return to Colombia for a quick two weeks to meet with leaders of the university ministry in the cities of Bogotá, Armenia, and Manizales. It is incredible to see how Red Universitaria continues to move forward.
Why? This is the question Caitlyn and I ask ourselves frequently. Every time we walk on campus and speak to students the answer becomes clear. They believe there is a God but they have rejected the church (catholic and christian) because of religion. They desire to know God.
A common statement that we hear on campus is, “I believe there is a god/supreme being, but I do not believe he could be the god of the church.” The factors that lead to this position are varied, but in general fall into three categories: 1. All churches want is money 2. Christians/Catholics act one way in church and different every other day 3. It’s just a bunch of tradition and there is no connection to God.
Our task then is to show students on campus that to follow Christ is not to practice religion, live driven by fear, follow blindly the man with the microphone, help the rich get richer, or submit to cultural tradition, but rather to have a personal relationship with Jesus that is lived through prayer, understanding the Bible, and being in community (church) with like-minded followers of Jesus.
On campus we strive to redeem the image of Christ to students who have rejected Him and become jaded by a culture driven by religion rather than relationship.
Over the last week, with Virginia Tech Chi Alpha, many students received Christ as their savior. Many more asked to join small groups on campus where they can learn about the Bible and God before making a decision. We held our first gathering (service) on campus in a newly constructed amphitheater and were surprised to see so many students willing to take a Friday night to learn more about Jesus.