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Day 1 of Urban Plunge! What we choose matters!

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Intervarsity SMCM students in Anacostia D.C. #smcmivcf #urbanplunge16 #choices

Eighteen InterVarsity Christian Fellowship students from St. Mary’s College of Maryland left their campus on March 12th to come to Southeast D.C. for their spring break to learn and to study about the injustices that are alive and prevalent in our cities and in our world! Like most of their peers, although these  18 students are in much need of sleep, vacation, time to catch up with school work, and senior projects , they have chosen to be here in Southeast D.C. By the end of the week, they will have spent their money, their time, and their energy to engage in theses difficult issues of poverty, racism, classism, and many more.  What would compel anyone to do such thing? Well, I guess you will have to ask them when they come back to campus!

In the next five days, these students will learn about the different ways the world has responded to issues of injustice, they will meet men and women from the Anacostia community who will challenge them how their realities of injustices demand from us beyond theoretical debates and discussions into a practical, individual, and communal responses that ought to cost us something and challenge our way of life. They will study the Bible, history of its misuses, and correct methods of its application.  Ultimately, our students will learn God’s hope  and inivitation to a transformed living  in the midst of much hopelessness and despair. The truth is, the more we learn about the infinit sins of this world, the quicker we are to realize how  finite we are as humans. The invitation will be to pledge and align our allegiance to an infinite God who has been pleading with all of humanity to be reconciled to God who is good and just.

This week, there will be many painful discussions, tears will overwhelm the faces of many of our students, dreams will be dreamt about a world that one day will be while trying wrap our minds with the realities of today, prayers will be uplifted to God for help and guidance, and many will leave physically and emotionally tired. But they will be spiritually renewed! There is something freeing and humbling about knowing the creator of this world has already began the work of justice and restoration way before we even cared to do so and God’s dreams surpass all of our passions and desires for a better world! Yes, they still will spend late nights trying to do school work and yes, they will be physically exhausted! But based on pervious experiences, they will find a more wholistic rest! They will have hope! And yes, they will go back to their school and they will interfere with the status quo of old ways, they will speak of a God who has more passion and zeal than any advocacy group or a student organization, and they will speak up for those oppressed on and off campus. Why? Because they serve a King who cares about all of His subjects equally. They serve a King who HATES any misuse or abuse of power! They serve a King who teaches us to make all of life not about us but about our neighbor!

I am appealing to all of you who follow Jesus to pray for these students. Pray for health, pray for willingness to take risks, pray for safety, and pray we all humble ourselves and learn new things from Jesus. We serve a God of peace and a God of justice!

Thank you Office of Student Affairs of St. Mary’s College of Maryland for supporting our students to attend this trip. Thank you to all who are praying for us throughout this week. Day one went well and we are eager to see what God will teach us on this day of March 13th.

 

#urbanplunge16 #smcmivcf #intervarsitycares

 

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Reconciliation Booth

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at St. Mary’s College of Maryland spent Thursday April 17th confessing the many ways they and other Christians have failed to truly follow Jesus and as a result caused much hurt and pain in this world. We were able to engage our wonderful campus on this area in hopes showing people the true Jesus and his ways. Our students faithfully and with courage shared the many ways they felt like they failed to love the campus and their community and sought a sincere apology from the campus! The campus community was very receptive and open to hear the many confessions. We also recieved many encouraging comments from professors and staff! We did this not because we wanted to please people but because we are called to invite people to reconcile with God and the first step is to show people that we follow Jesus because we as His followers are broken and why we need Jesus to begin with. Thank you to all who helped with building of the booth, who prayed for us, and who provided the resources we needed to make the event happen. A special thanks to all of our students who took the risk to be out there and openly share their sins. Thanks be to God for His faithfulness. CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES

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St. Mary’s Project addressing Christian Identity!

ImageWorld changers! Developing world changers is one of focuses of InterVarsity’s three-fold vision. We desire to see student lives transformed by Jesus, campuses renewed, and raise college graduates who will leave the campus equipped with the necessary tools to honor God for the rest of their lives.

We take confidence in God’s work through InterVarsity and faithfully care for college students knowing God will produces the necessary fruits. We (staff) dream and pray to see tangible and evident outcomes that reflect the fruition of our hard work.

InterVarsity at St. Mary’s this year graduated 15 seniors equipped and ready to take the Gospel into their next lives. Thanks to God’s generous grace, I want to share with you the transformation and the impact of a student, Amanda Schmeltz on our campus community.  Amanda Schmeltz who graduated with an Art degree in May spent most of her last year working on her St. Mary’s Project (SMP). Her SMP stands out because it was based on her faith, her understanding of God, and the role God plays molding her identity and worth. At the end of the year Amanda, full of boldness, faith, and confidence presented her project to faculty, students, and several member of campus administration including the president himself.

Amanda in her prImageesentation says

“The stories in the Bible depict a different picture. Jesus opposed the proud and rich, instead, defending the weak and helpless. My identity is so fully and completely wrapped in the label of Christian that when I approach my SMP (St. Mary’s Project) I could not fathom making artwork without some remnant of its association or influence, even if the association remains invisible to the viewer.”

Amanda’s presentation was God’s answer to prayer. On a campus like St. Mary’s, where faith and belief in God are not the focus, and a campus where students feel nervous sharing their faith with others because of subtle ridicule or isolation, it was  amazing to witness Amanda boldly share the Gospel and do it with such conviction and eagerness. Her project was a testimony and a challenge to all our students to take pride in their identity as followers of Christ.  We have been very touched and blessed by Amanda’s faithfulness. Amanda will continue to take God and her trust in Him into world and will touch many people. She has demonstrated to us what it means to rely on the greatest professor and teacher of all time in the midst of the many campus educators.

 Amanda finished her presentation saying

“Although viewers cannot readily see the influence behind my work, my intention is that they will feel comfort, relief, and awe. The forms I produce for my wall installations are not bound finitely to a two-dimensional surface but also merge into a three dimensional structure. I hope my work beckons viewers into a contemplation state so that they are able to reflect upon their own sense of self in relation to their surrounding world just as Christianity beckons me into a reflection about my environment. “

Our amazing partners thank you for all your prayers and your generous gifts. We thank God for faithful students like Amanda and the many new students that have joined InterVarsity this year and the many more that will come this fall. We are in a business of changing this world through Jesus Christ, the enabler and the King! You are partners of God’s love, justice, and hope! Amanda is just one story of the many students that are being impacted by the Gospel here at St. Mary’s College. I pray your generosity and prayers will be pleasing sacrifice to God and God would count it to your credit!

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In God We Trust

Equipping  future leaders of this world! 

It had been 48 hours since my last shower. I have been out in the streets since 8 am with no money, no extra clothes, and an empty stomach. I was standing in the middle of 18th and H Street in North West D.C. right in front of the World Bank. From what I had seen roaming the streets of D.C. in the past, my instincts told me to make a sign that tells people about my situation, find a coffee cup from the trash bin nearby to use it as a container for the much anticipated financial assistance and beg for help.  Surely, someone will notice and at least a few will ask about my situation. As the traffic of D.C. started to get busy and the work hour was approaching, people of diverse backgrounds started to pass by me like marching ants to their ground holes. I, sitting with my legs folded under me as a cushion, holding my misspelled “HOME LESS NEED FOOD” sign, tried to make eye contact and let words of “good morning” escape my mouth in hopes of one or two of these pedestrians to acknowledge my presence. With every minute that went by, the number of people that passed me increased, yet my cup was still empty, my self-worth slowly disappearing, and my faith in humanity sinking. In the next hour and half, one lady came, took a few coins out of her pocket, dropped them in my cup and walked away. She was done with me before I could even exhale any words of gratitude. I was sitting in front of the World Bank, around some of the most powerful decision makers in the world, yet for those few hours, it felt like I was all alone.

This was my experience and the experience of other students from St. Mary’s College of Maryland as well as other campuses as we are spending our spring break learning about the world of poverty in the District of Columbia and the overwhelming systemic injustices that keeps the South East community in Anacostia within the bondage of poverty and brokenness. We have been learning from the people in the community feelings of abandonment, neglect, and suffering. Our students are exploring scripture and God’s word on these topics and learning about how the Gospel is the only hope and the only good news to our friends in this community. We are quickly learning to start trusting God and how through Him, we can be agents of His love, hope, and justice to stand up to the broken structures of this world.

After a long day of being in the streets, cold, hungry, and most of the students frustrated and angry—as I was myself— our students came back expecting dinner and debrief discussions as usually done. But, to everyone’s surprise, of the 27 students, 3 were placed at a table where there was an excess amount of food. Another 5 were served enough food to fill their stomach but not necessarily satisfy, and the remaining 19 were fed all you can eat unhealthy foods like chips, soda, and fried food. The first group who had too much to eat, after filling up, had their platters full of good food thrown into the trash in front of the 19 students. It did not take long before some of the 19 students who only had starchy and fried food to eat start digging through some of the trash in hopes of getting some decent protein.  This truly frustrated and angered most of the students. For most of them they were still cooperative because they knew this was a staged experience and it will end sometime that night and they can snack. But once they were told they could not eat for the rest of the night, their level of anger and frustration only increased, and they started to understand the point of the experience.

Soon, the students realized all they had left was each other just as the people we met in the streets. Just like the hungry people we met at the soup kitchens. Just like the courageous fighters who we came to admire as they shared their struggles with drugs and alcohol at their anonymous meetings. Just like the blind man who told us to open our eyes and see God’s calling in our lives at church the previous day, just like the loving mothers who stood hours in line to fill out food stamp forms in hopes of feeding their children. And just like the fathers who take long bus rides into the city or suburbs to buy affordable food because not even one grocery store exists on the east side of the river and because the convenience stores that do exist charge double for a gallon of milk.

At this point, the most powerful moment of the night took place. All the students gathered themselves in a circle (all on their own without any staff present) and started praying for these people we met earlier that day and started giving thanks for the little they had to eat.   For the rest of the night we debriefed, prayed, talked about how we can care for the marginalized and neglected in our campus community, and went to sleep without any food as a symbolic act of solidarity on behalf of all the homeless and hungry people in the city and in the world.

Friends, I am so thankful and proud of our students, who are willing to take these huge risks in hopes of learning God’s hope, love, and justice for this world and how they as the future leaders of this country and this world can be active agents of God’s movement. I am also very thankful for all your prayers and your support to God’s ministry at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Please continue to pray for all of our students from the different campuses including our own from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. We are very thankful for all your prayers and partnerships. Thank you for joining us in molding the minds of the future to think in Godly and justice way, where they are willing to learn to love God and to love their neighbor. God’s kingdom is on the move.  Thanks be to God!

Esrael Seyum
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Staff
St. Mary’s College of Maryland
egseyum@gmail.com

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SMCM AT URBANA12

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Urbana12 was beyond amazing! God showed up in mighty ways and students were invited to a great feast of God’s word and worship. Different speakers presented the Gospel and God’s mission. Through morning bible studies, over 16000 students studied different passages from the book Luke. Speakers like David Platt reminded students of their calling.

“You have been entrusted with the command to go and make disciples of all nations for the glory of God in Jesus Christ.” 

As a result, over 2000 committed their lives to Jesus, about 4000 students agreed to long term missions overseas, and above all God was worshiped and gloried in many languages and different cultures. 

God also invites you to this great banquet! Come and join this movement at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. We are on campus to see students lives transformed, to renew the campus, and develop world changers. 

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As we come back to campus, we are called to bring Urbana and God’s word to campus. We want to set God’s banquet on our campus and invite everyone to God’s table. Especially those that are neglected, those that are oppressed, and those who are eager to learn from our Lord Jesus Christ. 

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Pray for us as we start prepping the banquet  table for the semester on January 4th and 5th, when we meet and start praying and vision casting. Pray for clarity and guidance! We are excited to invite our campus community to this amazing banquet Jesus is setting at SMCM!

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Amen!

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Chapter Camp 2012

Chapter Camp 2012

15 SMCM students came to camp.

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Urban program, Concerned black men tutoring program

Urban program, Concerned black men tutoring program

IV students from St. Mary’s and other campuses helped in tutoring at the Concerned Black Men tutoring program over the week of spring break while other students help in elementary schools and immigration center in Alexandria VA.