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Ministry at Auraria
By Ron Gustman
BSU Christian Challenge Director, Denver University and Auraria Campus
Denver-- Auraria is a commuter campus of more than 35,000 students comprised of three institutions of higher learning: Metro State College, University of Colorado at Denver and Community College of Denver.
Four volunteers assist me as we "hang out" with students on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at a lunch table in the campus Student Activities building. We hang up two small signs near our table with the words "Christian Challenge," and "Let's Talk!" Every week since the beginning of the school year we have had students stop by to ask questions about who we are, and we have had other students who come to spend time with our group on a weekly basis.
The Lord has been using the context of our gathering in the food court to serve as a place where ministry happens in the lives of students. Maria has been hanging out with us the last two years. When we first met her, she was in the process of going through a court-ordered separation and later a divorce from and abusive husband who was living in another state. She has become active in a vibrant church and is beginning to witness and minister to fellow students and co-workers at her job.
A few weeks ago Maria told us, "I suddenly realized that I am not lonely anymore and and now I am willing for God to move me (after graduation) wherever He wants me to go!" Of course God used many people, circumstances and events to bring about a change in her life, but He allowed us to be a part of that change as we encouraged her, shared the Word with her and prayed for her on a weekly basis.
Christopher is another student with whom the Lord has allowed us to minister. Toward the end of October, Christopher pulled me aside to say he needed to talk with me. He explained that his roommate had skipped out on him, leaving him with no way to pay the rent on his limited income. He needed help storing his things and a place to park his car until he could find some other living arrangements.
He had a difficult time trusting people, and this last episode of betrayed trust didn't help matters. After spending time with us on a weekly basis, Christopher had learned to trust the members of Christian Challenge. We stored his belongings in our garage and parked his car in front of our house for a week. After this, he was able to find an inexpensive apartment downtown. Two Christian Challenge volunteers gave him money to help with basic expenses, and one of them brought food and gifts to him. He is beginning to trust people again.
Christopher has been an inspiration to all of us in the Christian Challenge group. He is going to school on the GI bill. He suffers from debilitating pain on a daily basis, yet he is determined to complete a degree in Environmental Engineering after no longer being able to continue his career as an operating room technician because of crippling pain.
Our goal in ministering to students like Maria and Christopher is to clearly present Christ and to see Christians become complete in Him (Colossians 1:28, 29). It is a joy and privilege to minister in the name of Christ at this downtown commuter campus in Denver.