Reflections on volunteering
As most Hoosiers were preparing for the famed Indy 500 Race this past May, I was cleaning and packing my van to spend 10 hours in route to Virginia with four Purdue College students.
Unexpectedly, they needed someone to drive them to the annual United Methodist Student Movement (UMSM) Forum. This is a leadership training event, where college and university students come together from across the country. Since I was still nursing my 10-month-old daughter, Evangeline, she came along too.
My husband and I met at the first UMSM Forum in Winterpark, Colo., when I was active in campus ministry ten years ago as a student at the University of Indianapolis.
Much has changed in my life since then. In addition, these Purdue students were strangers to me and Evangeline had never traveled that long. I was told by many people that I was out of my mind, but the time I spent with the students reminded me why campus ministries are so important.
These student leaders were amazing! Not only did they love my baby, patiently waiting as I pulled over to feed or change her, they also played with her hour-after-hour in the van. I also got to know their deep faith and their willingness to follow God fearlessly. I’m sure it was just as scary for them to load up into the van with a woman they had never met and to go to an event they had never attended before. These students however, made a commitment to go wherever God may call them.
The United Methodist Student Movement is nothing compared to their other involvement. For some of them, this means getting a series of vaccinations, learning a strange new language and going with the Wesley Foundation group to Africa. For many others it meant joining the “Bikers for Jesus” Wesley Foundation group that peddled the entire length of Indiana on bicycles.
I used to be fearless like that, when I was in college. I flew to Bosnia with my campus ministry. I didn’t give the dangers of that trip a second thought. Yet this year I went to Haiti and I found myself riddled with fear and doubt. Something happens to each of us the more comfortable we get in our lives. We seem to become afraid to follow God. I was blessed to have four days with college students to remind me what it means to truly follow wherever God leads.
The campus ministries need us to continue. They need the support of each congregation in this conference. Purdue tuition, including room-and-board is $18,000 a year. This is comparable at all of the universities in Indiana. No college student can afford to support his or her own campus ministry. The students at Indiana Purdue at Fort Wayne, Purdue, Indiana State, University of Evansville, DePauw, and the University of Indianapolis are all depending on United Methodists from across the state for their continued support.
I have learned we need the students of the campus ministries much more than they need us. Our souls depend on learning from the example of our fearless students, who are following God into service throughout the world.
If your congregation or ministry cluster would like someone to speak about Campus Ministries, contact me, Adriane Curtis, at 765-465-5588, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To visit one of the Indiana campus ministries yourself, or obtain information on receiving an offering for campus ministries, visit the Indiana Conference website at www.inumc.org/campusministry.
Adriane Curtis is pastor of Trinity and Salem United Methodist churches and co-chair of the Indiana Conference Campus Ministry Affinity Group.
Photo courtesy of Indiana Campus Ministries
The Campus Forum participants of Indiana include (left to right): Alicia Robertson, Shilpa Dulipsingh, Alex Rouse and Ben Hallett.