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:

Bonnie Duncan is the pastor for Georgetown Chi Alpha. Proudly raised in Texas, Bonnie graduated from Georgetown University in 2013 and never left. She loves iced tea with a ton of lemons (some would say she has a problem), adventures involving potentially dangerous amounts of cliffs and ice (or both) and is an avid fan of weenie dogs, giraffes and women's gymnastics. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter (@Bonnie_Duncan), and Instagram (bonnie.duncan).

In my high school economics class, my future life was determined by a draw from a hat and a roll of the dice. 

I drew a career from a hat: professional surfer (naturally)
Rolled two dice to determine my salary: $70,000 per year (so I was a really great professional surfer). 
Rolled one dice for amount of kids: 3 of them—all under 5.  
Rolled one for marital status: single mom. Well then. 

Online fundraising for Reach the City - 2016

That would be my life for the semester. I had to learn to balance a checkbook. Plan meals. Scout out daycares I could afford for my imaginary 3 children. All determined by the role of the dice. All seemingly random. 

In some ways, it would seem real life isn’t much different. In college, our paths—in some ways—seem random and left to chance. What college will accept me? (was the admissions officer tired when they read my application?) Who will my friends be? Who will my roommate be? What opportunities will I stumble upon? 

We can all think back on those important moments in our lives that seemed like a coincidence. For me, I’ll always think back to my first day of college, when I walked by a table of friendly people passing out snow cones in front of my freshman dorm. I picked the cherry flavor, and took the gamble to attend Chi Alpha’s first service of the school year—12 people crammed in an 85 degree basement in a sophomore dorm (still better conditions than the early Church I’d imagine). 

7 years later, I’m the pastor for that group. And in a couple of weeks (8 first day of schools later), I’ll pass out some snow cones to wide-eyed freshman wondering what their years at Georgetown will hold. 

If I could tell them one thing, I’d tell them nothing is ever random. 

I’d tell them they may feel overwhelmed and under-qualified here, they may feel like Georgetown made a mistake in admitting them, but God has a purpose for their lives. 

I would tell them their identity is not in things left to the luck of the draw (where they will work, who they will marry, how many kids they have), but rather their lives are hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3) and no thing can have access to their identity. 

If I could tell them one thing, I’d tell them nothing is ever random.

I would tell them they could choose to live a life that feels random and left to chance or they could have a live orchestrated by the author of life lived in community. 

This would all be fairly awkward to tell someone I just met over snow cones. But significantly less awkward to live these things in friendship and community over 4 years and a lifetime after that. 

Every snow cone a divine appointment. Because nothing is ever random. 

Published on July 24, 2016  • Short Link:

The following is a post written by Bonnie Duncan. She is currently finishing up her Campus-Missionary-in-Training Program and will be serving on staff next year with Chi Alpha at Georgetown University.

So I have this friend. His name is Geoffrey. Geoffrey the Giraffe to be more specific. You can follow him on Twitter here. He would never tell you this (partially because he’s humble, but mainly because he’s a giraffe and can't talk), but he is kind of a big deal.

He officially belongs to my friend Haydee, but we have a shared custody agreement. Now I could give you my 5 biggest tips for college freshman, but I’ve sort of developed a reputation for being that girl who never did the reading in class. But Geoffrey always did his reading, and is kind of just an all-around perfect giraffe so I’ll just let you in on a few of his secrets.

Create great memories, not just a great resume.  

To everything there is a season. A time to do homework. And a time to create memories. Finding that balance is important. Be intentional about spending time with the people you care about. Even if that means making sacrifices in other places. Like good old Mark Twain says, 20 years from now you will regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you did.

Don’t be that person. Carpe Diem.

Find opportunities to serve others and love well

I know what you’re thinking. Geoffrey never said that. That I put him up to it because I’m an intern and it’s my job to tell people that. But you would be wrong.

Everybody comes to college searching for something. And so do you. Maybe you are looking for that one person who would drop everything to help you. Or that person you could call at all hours and they would be there for you. Or that person that simply encourages you with a note or remembers your favorite snack on exam day.

Don’t just search for that person. Be that person for others. Reflect the love of Jesus on campus in practical, but unexpected ways.

That’s Geoffrey. He showed up early to help us set up for our Alpha Course. Cause he wants to be more like Jesus.

Embrace whimsy

Some of you make be thinking. Geoffrey’s not real. Why is he giving us advice? To which I respond you need to back off (in Christian love).  

But really, college and this time of transition creates enough serious moments for all of us. Learn to master the art of embracing whimsy. Sometimes it’s exactly what people need.

Live. Laugh. Smile.

All the time. Or at least most of the time.

Figure out who Jesus is to you

There’s a part in the New Testament where Jesus asks his friend Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” To which Peter responded…

Yeah, I’m not gonna tell you what Peter said. Because it’s easy to base our opinion of Jesus on what other people say (even with our best intentions). We build our faith around great things like joining small groups and going to Church and Chi Alpha, but what would you say if Jesus asked you that question?

It’s okay if you don’t know the answer yet. But chew on it a lot these next four years when you have a spiritual family who can help you figure that out.

Your time in college is limited

Yes, that’s not exactly a tip and more a depressing statement. And yup. That’s a minute glass Geoffrey is holding. He really knows how to go for the jugular (in the most friendly way because giraffes would never hurt anybody).

It’s sad, but true. In 4 years you will be gone. And 4 years after that, all the students who knew you here will be gone as well. Which has the potential to be an extremely depressing thought. But you are given a great opportunity. And it starts with this question: are you here to make a difference or are you here to make a name?

The latter ends when you leave. But the former lives on in the lives that you touch. When I was a freshman, I had two small group leaders: Anna and Rob. If you’re a Georgetown student reading this, then you’ve probably never heard of them. But they inspired me to be a small group leader for others. And the cycle continues. And through Jesus, the outward reflection of what God has done in you creates a legacy that is bigger than yourself.

Be someone’s Rob and Anna.

AuthorBlane Young