It’s a blessing to hear directly from the students who are involved with Adventist Christian Fellowship (ACF). Here are five reflections from student leaders.
The first is from Gabrielle Clifford, at Tennessee Tech University.
“This past April, the TTU ACF group along with local church members and friends were privileged to take Michael Boyd on an excursion to Virgin Falls State Natural Area in Sparta, TN. Mike is a local church member who has attended every ACF meeting and is always there to support, pray, and inspire us to help others. He never thinks of himself. Taking Mike back to Virgin Falls was such a blessing to me. To see the look of curiosity, adventure, and happiness on his face that day is a feeling I cannot describe. Now getting to the falls is not an easy task, definitely not wheelchair accessible, or so it seems. Through a series of ATV's, a zipline, a custom-built carry system, and a wheelchair, Mike was able to roll up to Virgin Falls for the first time in twenty years. Being able to give back to someone who has been an inspiration to you, and the people around him, is a priceless feeling. I along with everyone involved in this event was truly blessed. This was just a small token of our gratitude for him and his friendship. Our group has grown spiritually from his involvement. His life radiates with Christ-like love and you can't help but smile when around him.”
Speaking of growth, Georgia State graduate Janice Clarke writes, “This year, we were able to connect college students who do not attend GSU to the ACF network and also new members joined our GSU chapter.”
Growth is an experience we treasure. Derek Bowe Jr. wrote about what it was like for his group at University of West Georgia.
“The year for UWG’s ACF chapter started off strong. We advertised the group to other students on campus and experienced a strong number of attendees. We had weekly Bible studies on campus, many of which were attended by the pastor of the Carrollton Church, Nate Elias. The UWG chapter helped the Carrollton Church with its annual “Church in the Park” as well. In addition, we went on several trips as a group. We traveled to the University of Georgia to visit their ACF chapter on one Sabbath. We visited Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park on one Sabbath with our advisor. Our group also went on trips to other churches in Atlanta, including Berean and West End churches. Our advisor, Dr. Tom Peterson, presented a workshop on being loving individuals to one another and we went to his house multiple time for socials, which included eating with church members and enjoying boat rides. Our leaders attended an ACF leadership retreat at Cohutta Springs where we returned the following semester for the annual CONNECT Conference. Although the spring semester did not fare as well for our chapter regarding our group membership, we still enjoyed each other’s company during Bible studies and church services at the Carrollton Church. As we look toward the 2014-2015 academic year, it is our hope that God continues to bless our group while revitalizing us.”
Another student who’s been willing to serve his ACF chapter and experience the blessings of community is Soohan Chung from Georgia Tech. Here are his top two highlights.
“It has been a blessing having fellow student such as Erica Shin and Chris Pubillones step up and lead. They have been very pivotal in planning things out and keeping the flow of our campus group fluid, despite their busy schedules. It has been a huge, huge blessing to just be a part of ACF and the Georgia Tech chapter. I enjoy the different backgrounds of others and their life stories as well as their testimonies. It's just reassuring that I am not alone especially in my daily struggles and temptations. We are all in this together.”
Jason Jeong, like several other leaders, is entering his third year as a student leader. He attends Emory University and here’s what he had to say about the year.
“We conclude yet another exhilarating year at this chapter of ACF! We learned a lot such as the value of leadership, virtue of unity, and importance of disappointment. Last year was a period of growth. This year, however, I felt as though God was teaching us perseverance and true servant-leadership. Every day I empathize with Paul when he remarked, ‘Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints.’ (Ephesians 3:8) This year I truly learned what I lacked and how much I need Christ to lead me through.”
Leading your peers is never easy so it’s refreshing to hear how these students have seen God at work in their lives. Much of this work is directly related to their peers along with the presence of local pastors, faculty advisors and other church members. Krista Williams speaks a bit more about this as she looks back on her time with ACF. She graduated from University of Georgia this spring and shared the following shortly before the semester ended:
“Now that I am graduating and have had a chance to reflect, my four years here at UGA would not have been the same without ACF. The people that I have met in this group have become my family and I am so glad to have built lifelong relationships with them as well as with Pastor José Nieves (Athens church pastor) and Will Smith (UGA faculty advisor). Thank you for your work to help these groups exist on our campuses, because even if the numbers are small, they make a huge impact and difference in people's lives. I will be eternally grateful, and I know God brought this group into my life to make me a better person.”
A special thank you to everyone who makes up the ACF family in this conference. The community you’ve fostered has made a huge and positive difference in hundreds of lives and thousands more to come.
by Michaela Lawrence Jeffery, Chaplain Advent House, Adventist Christian Fellowship Director