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Author info:  Zach is a senior at American University and enrolled in the PPL Program. He’s from New York (not NYC, mind you!), enjoys playing Unstable Unicorns and works part time at the Kay Spiritual Life Center on campus. Connect with him on Twitter or IG.

For many recent high school graduates, the month of August is filled with big transitions and conflicting emotions. It marks the final countdown to the much-anticipated college “move-in day.” The coming weeks are a whirlwind of final goodbyes with lifelong friends and last-minute trips to Target. In a short amount of time life seems to turn on its head. 

For many soon to be freshman, this experience can grow a pit of uncertainty in their stomachs. At night, as they contemplate their new beginnings, students are bombarded with internal questions such as “Will I make any friends,” “Am I going to fit in,” and “Are my classes going to be difficult?” 

I know these same questions plagued my mind the in weeks before I came to American University. Transitioning from rural Upstate New York, I was terrified that I wouldn’t fit in or find community here in the “big city.” The only place I knew to look was in a campus ministry. 

After a quick Google search, I found an event and decided to step outside of my comfort zone. Going to ‘Cones and Chi Alpha’ during my first week of college was the best decision I’ve ever made! My very first conversation was with a guy whom I now consider one of my closest friends and could not imagine life without. 

Not only did Chi Alpha give me a community where I could fit in, I had found my home away from home! 

What does Chi Alpha mean to me? Well, it means everything! This community has encouraged me in seasons of joy, comforted me in sorrow, and stood by me in trial. The Lord has used each and every person involved to radically change the trajectory of my life. I went from a guy on the edges of my walk with Jesus, desperately clinging to whatever faith I had remaining from my parents, to a man who craves a deep and personal connection with my Lord and Savior. 

I now serve on the XA leadership team as one of the guys' life group leaders. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It has allowed me to put my faith into practice and to develop relationships with people that I know will last a lifetime. If I have learned anything from leading it’s that God is ALWAYS in control, and that is a GOOD thing! It was only through His love, patience, and guidance that I am where I am today. It is by his hand that I found my family here in Washington D.C. 

If you are a student at American University, new or old, and are searching for meaning, purpose, and community, Chi Alpha is standing here waiting to welcome you home!


Published on August 14, 2019 || Shareable Link: http://bit.ly/2N1K1la


It’s still shocking to me that it’s December, classes are done, finals are underway, and some of our students are already on their way back home for the winter break.  It feels like it was just Welcome Week, we blinked, and the semester was over. I’m still getting used to wearing gloves every day, let alone gearing up for the new year!  But that seems to be the story of every fall, doesn’t it?

When I look back at the semester that’s flown by, I’m reminded of how much God has done.  As is our tradition in Chi Alpha at American University, we held our Celebration Thursday service last week.

It’s important to us that we don’t let these months pass without taking moments to recognize where God has moved and what He’s doing in our community.  

Written by Rev. Natalie Hill ( Facebook )

Written by Rev. Natalie Hill (Facebook)

Turns out when I take time to notice what He’s done, I realize that even though the semester moved so quickly, God’s packed it full with amazing moments on campus. Celebration Thursday is our way of carving out time to remember that.

One of our graduating seniors, Maura, gave our student message, sharing about what she’s learned and how she’s grown in these years as a student.  As she prepares for what’s next (grad school in St. Louis), she stressed the importance of being present and noticing what God is doing here and now, not just what He wants to do in the future.  

It was a timely, relevant word for our DC students, who are often caught planning the next things instead of living presently.  It was amazing to see how much Maura has grown in her years here, coming to AU as a baby Christian and leaving it after preaching a sermon and sharing her heart with her Chi Alpha community and field hockey team, all of whom came to hear her speak!  And to top off the night, we got to baptize two students in the university pool (while the lifeguard and late-night swimmers watched and cheered with us)!

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It’s so easy to let time fly by and forget to notice what God is doing in the here and now.  He is a personal and present Savior who is involved in every moment; let us never lose sight of that.

Thank you for your constant prayer and support of this ministry and college students in Washington, DC!  We’re praying for a wonderful end of the year for all of you and a Christmas season full of joy!

If you're interested in making a year-end gift towards DC Chi Alpha (a registered 501c3) — we recommend doing so online via our page on MightyCause (formerly Razoo Foundation).


My mom, dad, and myself pull up outside of Letts Hall of American University with the back of our rented car filled with suitcases, Ikea bedding, and Rubbermaid tubs. We park. We get out. Then, out of nowhere, strangers with matching T-shirts suddenly start asking us if we wanted help moving in. Seeing as my dad was the only source of muscle, we all quickly agreed. Anyways, I run inside, find my room, and show these random people who said they were with Chi Alpha (a fraternity maybe?) where to take my stuff. As I was helping my helpers, a volunteer started asking me really specific questions, starting with the ones below (paraphrased since my memory isn’t great):

Written by Haley Holtzscher  (Facebook )

Written by Haley Holtzscher (Facebook)

KP: Are you from Tulsa, OK perchance?
Me:…Yes. Why?
KP: I don’t suppose you know of a church called Believer’s Church, do ya?
Me:…Yes. I’ve gone there since I was 2. *laughter*
KP: Do you know someone named Anna Saah?
Me: Whoa, yeah! How do you know her? She was one of my youth leaders!
KP: So your name’s Haley, right? Anna mentioned you while we were in Ibiza.
Me: It is indeed. How did you know? This is so weird! So about this Chi Alpha thing…

I had been on campus for less than 15 minutes and already someone knew me. Kera Package (KP in the conversation above) had no way of knowing where I was from since we had taken off all identifying tags from my luggage and tubs and I hadn’t actually introduced myself since I’d been caught up in trying to get into my first dorm room. To this day I have no idea how Kera knew, out of hundreds of students she must have helped, that I was the girl Anna had talked about. After helping me move in, Kera invited me to some AU Chi Alpha (also known as AUXA) events later that week. I said yes immediately. If my youth leader from back home was friends with this random person, then I knew I could trust her suggestions. 

So that was my entry into the AUXA world. Yeah, I flaked out on going to a few of the events I had committed to but I also knew that I had an accountability buddy who wouldn’t let me continue to make excuses. 

I showed up at AU with finding a church/faith community as one of the last things on my mind so imagine my surprise when I had joined Chi Alpha by the end of my first day on campus. Sometimes all it takes is helping a stranger move some boxes into their new home to create a solid foundation for their college experience. This foundation wasn’t what I wanted, but it must have been something that I needed or else Kera wouldn’t have found me so quickly. 

So, yeah, I believe in this whole reach the city campaign. I know that those who need to be reached will be since efforts like it reached me when I was super far from home.

Note: Today is the second-to-last day for our Indiegogo campaign called Reach the City. 

AuthorBlane Young

Author Info: A Buffalo native, Natalie Hill is best known for her unique vocals and indie style. Yet it's her heart for seeing students lives transformed by the power and love of Jesus that makes her a quality leader. She serves on the staff team at American University Chi Alpha. 

I remember sitting in American University’s Bender Arena on graduation day, listening to my favorite anthropologist and activist speaking to a room full of graduates on the very thing I spent my whole college career studying.  I remember wondering how many students were lucky enough to get to hear directly from the people they learned about, studied, and emulated so much throughout college.  I remember seeing pictures of friends during their graduation from Georgetown University with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger photobombing in the crowd.  I remember reading books in class written by distinguished AU grads or watching them on major news networks or reading their articles in the newspaper and thinking, this city has a lot of influence.  And I got to be there.

This phrase “City Heart” has been bouncing around our Chi Alpha offices a lot this year.  Honestly it’s a term we’ve been describing for a while, but until this year hasn’t really had a name (and we all know everything sounds better when it has a name).  It’s our way of simply saying that we have a heart for this city.

Yes, I work for American University and we have staff at Georgetown and there are Chi Alphas on many different campuses all over the country, but sometimes that makes us forget why we came here in the first place.  It was to reach this city.  I remember sitting in my commencement ceremony, watching student after student cross the stage, get their diploma, and enter a world where they’d have a lasting impact, one that could affect this nation and even the whole world.  They came to Washington, DC because they knew it was a city that produces difference-makers.  It’s a city that creates people who will impact the world.  I couldn’t help but think I was looking at future CEOs, ambassadors, inventors and innovators, creators of charities that would provide resources for the underprivileged, and the next generation of leaders.

It’s easy to get caught up in the ins and outs of my campus and forget the big picture, which is to reach some of the smartest, driven students in the world and have an impact on the nations.  

It’s to create an urban hub where we can train leaders and send people out to affect their families, workplaces, governments, cities, and countries.  Our dream is that DC could be a place where US missionaries come to train and are sent into other urban places that have yet to be reached.  And maybe it can be a place where we can show others that there is a need for ministries in hard places because it can have a deep impact.

I think the city, DC and others, scares people.  It’s expensive; it’s harsh; it’s exhausting.  The people are hard to reach.  They’re smart and often don’t believe in ultimate truth, especially if it’s coming from Christians.  It’s a difficult place to raise a family, and it’s a transient place, making it hard to establish community. I struggle with all this at times.

“City Heart” is our way of reminding ourselves that it’s worth it.  It’s our way of reminding ourselves why we’re here - why we’ve chosen to support raise for a living, why we live in studio apartments or with multiple roommates, why we live in community with other Chi Alpha staff and college students, why we spend some evenings going to Georgetown and praying for other campuses, why our lives are 24/7 surrounded by others, and why we’ve devoted our lives to colleges in Washington, DC.  It’s our reminder of why God called us here, no matter the cost, because we know the impact we can have is beyond worth it.

Reach this city.  Reach the world.  City Heart.

And as you consider serving with us, or as you pray and give towards this, you are developing a city heart that is truly making a difference. 

Syndicated & Updated on July 21, 2017 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/2twIdIu

CategoriesStaff Posts

Author info: Michelle Luberto is a junior at Georgetown University. Her talents include all things media and design, photography, and consuming large amounts of lemons at the Tombs with Bonnie. When she's not studying abroad in France, she leads a women's Lifegroup and sings on the worship team. You can follow her on Instagram

Before I arrived at Georgetown, I was skeptical as to what my place on campus would be. Nearly every freshman feels that paralyzing fear at some point. The place that I now call home was big and scary and overwhelming - all I could do was hold God’s hand. 

Chi Alpha became a part of my story within days of my arrival on campus. Bubble tea and kind words (what I know now to be a staple in this community) were the vehicles that it used to work itself into my life.

I somehow found myself attending their first service of the year (dragging my roommate along too, of course). I was excited but nervous, hoping I had found my place. Jon Rice, our former director, gave a sermon on how messy this community was… an interesting way to welcome us new freshmen in. Looking back, those words were carefully chosen, transformative, divine, even. I learned from the very start that my involvement here would not be easy, but would certainly be rewarding. I remember leaving that night and thinking I had liked it there. I liked the way they served chips and salsa and lemonade. I liked the way the leaders had red name tags and were always there, spread out, ready to meet us where we were at. I liked the way the worship band was student-led and the prayers were authentic and Jesus was present. I decided to keep coming.

...my involvement here would not be easy, but would certainly be rewarding.

Chi Alpha was the first organization to let me in without an agenda. The first group of people to disregard the Georgetown culture of busyness and resume-building and look at me as the daughter of God that I am. Chi Alpha is a ministry who genuinely chases after God’s heart while seeking to protect each others’ - although we often fall short.

After two years of being on campus, I now know exactly why the Lord called me to Georgetown. I am nothing without Him and these people, this community that has built me up in ways unfathomable. I am at Georgetown to set up the chips and salsa and lemonade, to wear my red name tag, to lead the worship team and to pray bold prayers with the people I love. I thank God each and every day for this ministry and His faithfulness through it and have forever been changed since that first bubble tea.

Syndicated on July 6, 2017