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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

AuthorBlane Young

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

Author's info: Sam Murphy is a recent alum of Chi Alpha at American University. You can connect with him on Facebook.

So I'm at work and my boss is coming down hard. Nothing is good enough, nothing is sufficient, everything must be better. I watch day in and day out as my work is pulled apart and burned like a moth in flame. I'm frustrated and I'm starting to panic every time I hear my name. That's when I remember Blane Young saying, “Make sure you aren't complaining about your miracle.”

You see I'd been praying that God would make me a better worker for several weeks by that point. I'd been struck by how inefficient I was and wanted to work in a way that uplifts Jesus. I wanted to work in a way that made me a good witness that reveals the glory of God.

So as I sat there at my desk and recalled Blane's words, it dawned on me that my prayer had been answered. Yes my boss was riding me like a small horse, but my work quality was steadily improving, my apathy rapidly dropping. So my grimace was quickly overtaken by a grin and I got back to work.

Prayer is such a profound gift that the only fitting adjective is magical.

In Chi Alpha I have learned an incredible amount about prayer. I used to pray before the occasional meal, when I was broken hearted, when I was confused,  but I never really "got it." Prayer is such a profound gift that the only fitting adjective is magical

Through prayer we are able to seek God and to see his profound grace in our lives. We are strongest when we draw near to Jesus, alone or together, standing or reverently bowed, laughing or weeping, we are strongest when we pray.

Syndicated on July 3, 2017

AuthorBlane Young

Author info: XY Lau was born in Malaysia, raised in China, and is about to start his fourth year studying Public Relations and Strategic Communication at American University in Washington, D.C. Having attended multiple international schools in his lifetime, he has gained a fluency not only in a multitude of languages, but also in a multitude of English accents. The conglomeration of cultures through which he had lived would confuse his senses of ethics and personality, but he finally came to peace with who he was when he found his identity in Christ. He will resume his role as a Chi Alpha small group leader and homeless ministry leader once the Fall semester starts. Oh, and he loves puns and music. You can connect with him on the web and Facebook. 

Showing Up for the Showdowns

As this summer enters into its final phase, I eagerly await my final year of Chi Alpha. My daydreams fill with hope, and my plans are tinged with anticipation. Mulling through all the faces that I miss so dearly, I pray over all the new ones coming in. I am excited, once again, to show up for the showdowns.
Throughout my time here, I am becoming ever more aware of where I end and where God begins. I have seen Him soften the hearts of those I couldn’t approach, breaking down longstanding, robust barriers of hurt I couldn’t scratch and instilling a healing, lasting peace for so many longing students who let Him in. His presence has become that firm and steadfast anchor for our souls, His promises interwoven into the very fabric of our community. And with time, His Spirit has continued to mold us, growing us in holy wisdom along the way.

I am becoming ever more aware of where I end and where God begins.

As a Chi Alphan, I now understand that my commission as a Christian does not require me to go on a mission trip every year, but to constantly be on mission every day. The campus has become my mission field, teeming with precious images of God to be won for His Glory. It is in these instances when I see my cause as individual showdowns, each person I meet a new battle to guide them out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Seizing upon the urgency of the times, I ask God to use me in powerful and remarkable ways for His victory. And boy, does He deliver.

As a Christos apostolos, I now understand that I can’t win a showdown with a single act of greatness, but rather with a devotional, often monotonous rhythm of consistency. Sowing seeds within college students could often be frustrating, but at the sight of that timid, quiet freshman raising his hand in worship for the first time, I am willing to do it all again. For that sophomore who left his life of sin to devote it to ministry, I would do it all again. For that junior who became Chi Alpha President despite having almost died less than two years ago, I definitely would do it all again. From this steady rhythm came an outpouring of God’s transforming love, and I just had to be there to witness it all.

The significance of this ministry speaks for itself whenever one of my guys states that he would not know where he would be today had Chi Alpha not been there for him. It speaks for itself in the multitude of Godly relationships that have sprouted from the cracks of this university, from the deepest of brotherhoods and sisterhoods to the most committed of marriages. This is an impenetrable community, built on the rock to be the salt and light to the world. God has made a body of Christ out of our student body, and it continues to grow through the grueling showdowns of our mission.

As an Ambassador of Christ, I now know that God will make the best out of all we give Him— so isn’t it grand that we are called to give Him our all?

Posted on August 7, 2016 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/2aenb7m