“I have NEVER seen God work so much in such a short amount of time.” Crying and feeling all alone, her dorm floor virtually empty, Haley, a Westfield State freshman, Facebook messaged her youth pastor back home in Hopkinton, MA:
“I’m having a pretty rough time. I’m meeting new people but so far everyone drinks and swears and I just feel completely out of my element. Tonight especially, everybody’s going off campus to party. I want to be social but it’s hard when I don’t participate in a lot of activities that people seem to bond over. I know God has a plan for me but it’s hard to see it when I feel so alone. I need prayer that I can meet a group of friends I can be myself around.”
Haley was likely not alone in her struggle. Barna statistics indicate that 70% of students nurtured in a Christian environment fall away from their faith sometime during their college years. Listening to Haley’s heart cries reminds us of the intense battle being waged for the hearts and souls of these kids on today’s campuses.
Disturbed by this trend, Cru Northeast launched its first Transition Track four years ago. Transition Track is an event for college-bound High School seniors, giving them a heads-up about the campus scene they’ll be stepping into as they step away from the security and boundaries of their home and youth group environment. Haley was among 50 others who attended a Transition Track this past March. During the event, students texted into a data base, providing Cru with their phone number and college choice. Cru staff member Brad Wagner called each student just as Fall semester was about to begin.
Thanks to this strategy, Haley’s FB message the following morning had quite a different tone!
“ . . . then almost immediately I got a call from the guy who runs Cru in Amherst. He got my number from Transition Track. We talked for like half an hour about all of the options and ways to stay connected at Westfield! He gave me the number of a few students who are actively involved in Cru in Westfield and I just emailed one of them asking If I can go to church with her. Cru starts up this week, so I’m going to the meeting. “
“I have NEVER seen God work so much in such a short amount of time. In less than an hour I went from feeling almost hopeless to being so excited about all the opportunities there are for me to strengthen my faith. It’s definitely still hard standing up for what I believe while everybody else is out, but I feel so much better than I did last night. Thank you so much for your prayers!”
Cru salutes youth pastors like Haley’s and we thank YOU for investing in the lives of students on campuses and all over the Northeast and New England. It’s because of folks like you that we can offer events like Transition Track and place Cru staff throughout the Northeast so that Haley and other freshmen can find a community of faith during their college years.
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