Campus Ministry attends 11th annual Epiphany

Let us not be weary in doing good; for the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good…" Galatians 6:9-10 For Christians, the Epiphany represents the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. The wise men following the bright star in the sky symbolizes the guidance that God provides for us to lead us in the right direction. It is on this premise that the Louisiana Epiphany was established. The Swanson Center for Youth in Monroe caters for criminal juvenile males aged 18-21. The Louisiana Epiphany has organized weekend visits to this institution twice a year for the past five years. Seven members of Campus Community Ministry recently joined the 11th Epiphany. These members decided to join the team in making a difference in the lives of these young boys of the Swanson Center. The principal goal of the weekend is to help the boys (who are called Stars) to understand that Jesus loves them. This goal is accomplished through prayer, unconditional love, example and encouraging the Stars with words and actions. For those of us who attended for the first time, the first obstacle was deciding to leave our schoolwork and obligations to go to Monroe for an entire weekend. For most of us, the week leading up to that weekend seemed to mount endlessly with reasons not to attend, we were not perturbed. The devil would not keep us back. Nagging at the back of our minds was also the security risk. "We wondered about how dangerous these boys were and whether they would accept us. We wondered if our presence for only three days would make any difference. However, knowing that we were going in faith and with God, we were sure that all would be well. Each day before going to the center, members of the team would meet at the church grounds and prayed to God to use us to do his will. The first day seemed challenging. But soon, both the boys and the team moved from apprehension to familiarity within a few hours. Food is the ultimate icebreaker.;) Many of the Stars had not enjoyed luxuries like candy, pizzas, home cooked meals and cake in a long while. We soon learned that even just being there was important to these boys as many had been seemingly long forgotten or simply neglected by their families. Progressively, the second and third days got even better. As the Stars grew closer to us, they better received our teachings of God’s love. They began to see us as brothers in Christ. They were not the only ones learning. Many of us learned how easily, bad friends, simple mistakes or being in the wrong place at the wrong time could get you locked up for a long time. They reminded us of our younger brothers, little cousins, and neighborhood friends. We saw them as simply individuals, God’s children, and loved them as such, and they returned the favor. Beneath some of the rough exteriors, they were jovial and friendly, and many were blessed with great skills and talent. Some liked rapping, singing, poetry, movies, sports, music, and singing, just as we all do. Their life stories touched our hearts and we asked them to allow God to come in to touch theirs. As a multi denominational team, we spoke of God and not religion. We beseeched them to seek God’s forgiveness and forgive all who have done them wrong. Even we as team members joined in this difficult but very necessary exercise. Then, as the team gave the Stars bibles we asked that they use their time at Swanson to pray and grow closer to God. This place could simply be the stepping-stone to greater and better things for their life. "…with Christ in the vessel, we can smile at the storms." At the end of the third day, we did not need to ask if we had made a difference, as not only did the Stars glow but our hearts were warmed. They had ministered to us as well. We should all strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others. When someone is positively changed, that life can be looked at from a distance guiding others on the straight and narrow path to perpetual light; lighthouse guiding the lost at sea back to safety. When a child’s life is positively changed, all whom he comes into contact with along life’s road shares that blessing. creating better citizens, hence a better society. We are not only judged by words but more so by deeds. In all we do, we should strive to do good. The GSU Campus Community office is located in the lobby of the Robinson dorm and is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturday the office is open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the office is open on Sunday upon request. Come pray and share with us! We accept all denominations. Recently the Christ Temple Baptist Church celebrated a pre-homecoming musical featuring the Voices of Christ Temple. Also participating in the evening of ole’ hand clapping, foot stomping praise and worship were the Christ Temple Young Ambassadors and Young Men Dancing for Christ from Shreveport. The theme of the musical was The Dawn of a New Era, I am Healed.Christ Temple services are held at Millers Chapel located at 998 Woodward Ave. (I-20 Frontage Rd.) Ruston. Dwayne Thompson is pastor.