XY is a rising junior at American University. He serves on the worship team for Chi Alpha at Thursday Night Worship services. When he's not cooking awesome meals for his small group or dorm hall, he's likely serenading someone with his ukulele.
As a thoroughbred international student who was constantly warned not to waste my opportunities and experiences that the rest of my family never had, I arrived at American University to get into the business of changing the world.
When I became a Chi Alphan, I joined the movement to save it.
Arriving at my first Chi Alpha event with my usual lines of self-promotion tucked under my belt, I was swiftly shown through the most authentic of ways that they did not play that game.
While I initially viewed this community as a ladder of respect that I needed to climb, the Chi Alphans reached down to pick me up and put me on the top rung.
Contrary to the usual crowds of conceited individuals who made it a point to be heard by everybody, this group of strangers just wanted to listen to me, to genuinely care for me. Before I felt I earned their love, they had already given it to me for free.
I was invited to all of their events, and my small group leader constantly pushed me to attend every small group gathering. Within a year, this same community would gather around the pool to cheer me on in my baptism.
What Chi Alpha showed me was that I was not defined by the good deeds that I performed, or by what I was still expected to do, but that I had already been defined by Jesus.
My brothers and sisters in Christ did not love me for the things I had yet to do because of my previous successes; they loved me because of what God had already done in me, in spite of my failures.
Having come from a past where the fears of failure and irrelevance were constantly biting at my heels, keeping me frantically running after the thousands of standards for success and reverence thrown at me from all sides, I felt the most calming, emancipating peace when I discovered that God already saw the perfection of His Son in me whenever He gazed my way.
In other words, I found Chi Alpha near the breaking point of my exhaustion, and here I realized I didn’t have to run for my life anymore.
In my first couple of months leading a small group, I found myself in a whole new stage of culture shock: I was a relatively new Christian tasked with holding together a group of stronger believers, most of whom having known Jesus their whole lives. Yet as God steadily worked on my soul, He showed me that the true exemplification of Love did not come from a trumping of knowledge, or from thinking higher or lower of myself, but rather from thinking of myself less. I was to become less, and let Him become more.
So I stopped comparing myself to my members, and started to live my life with them. In time, I grew more as a soldier of Christ from my members than they did from their leader, and my faith grew exponentially through the Bible studies and the empowering brotherhood.
As an international student, I had travelled to every corner of the world, meeting every kind of person and experiencing every kind of culture that the continents had to offer before ever setting foot on American University; yet I learned so much more about life from meeting with my twelve guys every Tuesday night in my considerably smaller college dorm. I came to the revelation that Love was more about how well I was able to listen than about how much of it I had to share.
As our Chi Alpha continues to grow, I am convinced that this selfless, revolutionary Love is going to change and save the world one day.