Senior Dinner. We do it every year. We have gifts, we eat, we pray, we mark time with those that we have seen grow over the semesters and years. Besides being a part of introducing a student to Christ, it is one of the most indelible markers of what we do. We’ve shared stories of some of them throughout this year and there are too many memories to count.
Kiki (far left), UA tennis player who is just as passionate and competitive about her faith in Christ as she is on the court (if not more!). I remember praying with her in her car outside of her apartment. She was doing an extended fast to get freedom and purity. But she was being tempted at every turn and wanted someone to battle alongside her. I remember long texts that she would send the staff, encouraging us to keep the faith and telling us how much XA had kept her going in hers.
Camila (third from left) could not even sit through a XA meeting her first year without running out of the room crying hysterically. A broken engagement and some deep emotional issues made her almost unfunctional both socially and spiritually. She has come an incredibly long way. Through hours of talking, counseling, praying, compassion, and the truth in love, the XA women have walked her to a place where she has begun working through her pain in a positive, albeit still difficult, way.
At our last meeting of the semester, Josias shared how he came from Brazil knowing no one. His roommate invited him to XA and here he found a group of people who loved people unconditionally and who loved God. He found a family. As he was speaking, he suddenly stopped, overcome with emotion. He could not contain his tears and could barely continue. “Thank you,” he finally said, “I return to Brazil, but you will always be my brothers and sisters.” Josias has brought countless Brazilians to our XA group who have been touched by God. Now he is returning to Brazil and he is so ready for what God has for him there.
I remember Ben (tallest, in the back) nervously leading his first worship set all alone, just him and his guitar. I remember praying for him as a sobbed after hearing God speak about how God loves being with us more than what we can do for him.
I remember flying to Japan with Kim (on my right) and watching her open up about her life, pray for people she didn’t know for the first time, and put her trust in God for what she had no control over. We’ve spent late nights of laughter and serious times of prayer as she has gone through life’s challenges. She now has her nursing degree and is going to use it to bless patients who need God’s kindness and care.
Tatum (center, holding Jovie) is coming on staff as an intern. Caleb and I have watched her grow so much! We would pick her up from campus when she was a freshman in the first few weeks of school and bring her to church. We barely knew her. She didn’t come very often until she decided to come to an all night prayer meeting. As soon as I heard her pray, I knew she would be a part of us. Her incredible zeal to see lives transformed has not changed in her years here. But she has changed into a mature young woman of God and we can’t wait to see all God does in and through her. Even the small graduation groups are filled with world changers!