This is a guest post by Brittany Zielske, a former Chi Alpha student. She loves to cook, pray, and host amazing themed parties for her friends (not necessarily in that order). You can connect with her via Twitter!
I showed up as as freshman at American University convinced that Jesus was nothing but a distant, angry deity who was out to punish me. I felt lonely and unlovable, and it seemed like a given that, eventually, my life would end at my own hands. I had simply given up hope.
Then Chi Alpha found me. My second day on campus, a flyer for a Chi Alpha ice cream social showed up on my door. I like ice cream, so I went. I met a group of people who kept inviting me back - to other Fall Kickoff events, to mid-week services, and to small group- and for a reason I still cannot explain, I kept going.
I quickly figured out that these people weren’t like the Christians I was used to. They didn’t use faith as an excuse to judge each other or condemn me, but instead they truly loved each other and cared for me. It was clear that they really, truly knew Jesus, and that knowing Him somehow gave them abundant hope and peace.
They taught me what Jesus’ voice sounded like and how to listen for it. They taught me so well that when six months later, after a rough night, I decided it was time to start planning my own death, I could hear the voice of Jesus shouting through all the chaos in my heart. I could hear Him telling me to walk away from the hopelessness and the lies because He had a purpose for me. I could hear Him telling me that the joy and hope I so desperately envied in these Chi Alpha students could be mine as well.
So I walked away from the easy out and into the arms of a Savior who promised to hold me and love me through anything. And He has. Through the encouragement of Chi Alpha leaders and staff, He raised me up into a leader and radically changed my life. Now, over a year after graduating, I am mentoring and pouring into college students in my local church because I remain convinced that college is the best time to interrupt the course of someone’s life and set them on a new one.
This is why I am supporting Chi Alpha’s Welcome Week efforts. Five years ago, an ice cream social ended up saving my life. Who knows what else Jesus can use a Fall Kickoff event can do?
You can join me in giving to our 100 for $100 Project here!