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):
KP: Are you from Tulsa, OK perchance?
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.