In the midst of all the challenges created for the universities in South Africa, including the University of Pretoria, by the student protests, I want to report here about some blessings that we are still experiencing in the student ministry.
It’s often in the difficult times that God shows us His blessings, and that seems to be the case right now.
The return of a few students who seemed to have gone missing
It disappointed and sometimes also confused me as in the first half of 2016 I began to hear less and less from a number of faithful participants in our activities. Of course, I could explain in individual cases what had transpired, but I never had an explanation for the trend I was observing, and that admittedly left me a bit down. But now, with new schedules in the second semester and the various interruptions that have resulted from the protests, many of these students have reappeared. Others have made clear that they want to maintain the contact we have. Their presence is just as encouraging to me now as their absence was disappointing.
Weekly evening services
For some time now, we’ve held monthly evening services for students. These have been fairly well attended – usually by 15-20 people, in comparison to the 10-15 or, as the semester progressed, even 5-10 people in bible studies. But now, at the request of the students and with the encouragement of members of both Pretoria congregations, we began on October 23 with weekly services. The first one (I’m writing this in the week before the second one) was well received by the students and led immediately to conversations about whom they could still invite. Precisely this had been my hope. This could be exciting if it really does mean an easy additional entry point, through which new students come into contact with our proclamation of the Gospel.
New ALM plan
After a lot of time and discussion, Arcadia Lutheran Ministries (ALM) has officially adopted revisions to the original plan for the Student Ministry. This sounds a bit dry, but it is important because it means that the congregations, the Student Ministry pastor, and the students themselves have gathered enough experience to nail down some aspects of the original plan that had been left open. An important step in the focus of the revised plan is the
decision to search for ways to help students integrate better into the congregations.
Monthly e-mail newsletter
Finally, I want to inform you about a monthly newsletter that I have begun publishing. There are enough exciting and interesting things going on in the Student Ministry that I have to pick and choose what makes it into the FELSISA Witness. Since many people support this work directly, I want to offer the possibility to hear more of what is happening. Anyone can sign up to receive this e-mail newsletter, either by sending me an e-mail, or at the website listed below. As always, on behalf of ALM, the students, and myself, I thank you for your prayers and financial support.
Pastor Jacob Corzine, Pretoria