College can be that time, as one student says, to begin the process of “adulting.” For years, Lutheran campus ministries (LCM) have helped young adults with this process, ready to support them as they raise questions about faith, life and the future.
Below are excerpts from blogs written by two students who interned with the Lutheran Campus Ministry (LuMin) Network last summer. Here they share their thoughts about LCM, the pandemic and their hopes for the future.
Graduate of the University of North Texas, Denton.
Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a minor in Spanish
High school English teacher
LCM at Denton
I have been through so many changes during my undergraduate education. I began the exciting (and sometimes annoying) process of adulting, and the biggest lesson I’ve learned from adulting is that I am responsible for taking care of myself and other people.
During my time with LCM, I learned new perspectives on Christianity and the Bible. I fellowshiped with amazing individuals who taught me how to accept and love myself. I want to cherish and hold on to what I learned as I transition to my teaching career. I wrote some of my thoughts I would like my future self to remember.
It is OK to make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. I know that sounds very cliché, but if we were all perfect, there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to redeem humanity. There are some lessons and skills I have already learned, and some concepts I still need to learn. I must be resilient to be a happy and productive young woman. As I learn new things, I must teach them to both students and adults alike.
Along with learning something new each day, I must keep my faith in God. God is love, and he is always ready to love and help me get back on track when I am lost. God can turn mistakes into miracles!
Nobody is perfect. I know that sounds very cliché, but if we were all perfect, there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to redeem humanity.
Stand up for what’s right. The Bible says, “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed” (Isaiah 1:17, King James Version). This means that I must speak out against injustice whenever I see it. As a teacher, I will stand up for students who are bullied and help students recognize bullying. Also, I will encourage and teach my students how to advocate for themselves and other people.
LCM taught me so much about social justice, and it is time for me to not only talk the talk but walk the walk.
Enjoy life. We all know that life is not perfect. That doesn’t mean that troubled times last forever. During trials, I will look for the silver lining in all things. [That doesn’t] mean ignoring the present trouble I may experience. It means that I will look for the good things to uplift my spirit during bad times. I will always pray to God and read the Bible to remind myself of God’s promises for my life. Sometimes I may hear a great song on the radio and turn it up when I am going through a storm. By looking for the good in terrible situations, I am reminded that good days will come again.
I know these thoughts sound so simple but are so hard to do. However, I am reminded that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13; KJV).
Junior at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Pursuing a dual degree in environmental engineering and performance oboe
Lord of Light Lutheran Church-LCM, Ann Arbor
Uncertainty has been one of the defining facts of 2020, though as I write this, the year is hardly more than half over. Plans and livelihoods have been upended, and any sense of normalcy seems to have crumbled. The unknowns of the future seem to loom mockingly, always just out of reach.
Despite this uncertain reality, 2020 has managed to show me that God is most certainly still here with us. Though church sanctuaries may be empty, God still can be found in phone calls, in Zoom calls, in nature and in relationships. The slow creep of time during the pandemic has made each sunrise and each sunset seem more momentous, and each day, though perhaps more difficult, also more special.
For me, the opportunity to work as an intern for the LuMin Network has especially shown me God’s continuing presence. It has given me the chance to meet and engage in conversation (over Zoom) with a group of awesome college students and recent graduates, and in doing so has challenged the boundaries of my perspectives on faith and the church. These conversations are something that I will take with me far beyond this summer.
The slow creep of time during the pandemic has made each sunrise and each sunset seem more momentous, and each day, though perhaps more difficult, also more special.
In part because of the LuMin internship opportunity, 2020 has also given me hope. It has shown me that things do not always go according to plan, and that this does not always have to be a bad thing.
The events of this year have given me hope that the church, as well as the wider world, can begin doing the work necessary for a more just and equitable future. We all have a role to play in this, and positive change can happen even by doing what we can where we are. It’s my goal to take more responsibility for this moving forward.
I do not know exactly where I will end up, but I do know that I hope to use my skills in a way that advocates for environmental justice and constructive human connection.
Though, as 2020 has illustrated, God’s plans are not always the same as mine, so I am learning, slowly, to be flexible. I do know, however, that God will be with me every step of the way, in 2020 and beyond.
To learn more
Campus ministry provides an ELCA presence at more than 180 state and private colleges and universities with cooperating congregations in campus ministry at an additional 400 campuses nationwide. To learn more or find a ministry, visit elca.org/campusministry.
The Lutheran Campus Ministry Network is an association to strengthen and sustain ELCA campus ministry by forming collegial relationships, training professional leaders, and advocating for ministry on college and university campuses. For more information, visit luminelca.org.