ARThe Blessing of Having a Campus FellowshipEver wonder how you can pull yourself out of a slump? This brother shows you how as he describes his journey of faith in college.As Jackson entered college, he had no idea how his life was to be changed.
Without friends at the school, he and felt obliged to fit in and follow
the latest trends. At his most desperate moment, the love of God brought him a
church brother from Taiwan and others who formed a campus fellowship. Over the course of time, he continued to receive much help and love from the brothers and sisters.
He realized that he was not alone, but that the love of God had always been there for him,
and would prove to be there through many struggles and challenges.
When I entered the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as an undergraduate freshman in September 1990, I had no idea how my life was to be changed in the course of higher education at this institution. With no acquaintances or friends, I was placed in a new environment where I had to make a new beginning. I was alone, like a lost lamb in the midst of wolves. I felt that in order to survive, I had no choice but to also turn myself into a big bad wolf. I began to build a wall around myself,
wearing the latest fashions, growing a long tail on my hair, and speaking a language unknown to my parents, my church friends and all those who cared for me. I thought a wolf could find direction among wolves; instead I completely lost my identity. I did not know who I was, could not sense any pain, and did not feel any love.
At my most despairing moment, the love of God found me a brother from Taiwan who, being a new graduate student at UCLA, contacted me and asked if I would be interested in having a
Bible study with him. I suddenly realized I was not alone, that the love of God had always been by my
side—I had only been too blind to realize this. I soon learned that there was also a sister attending UCLA. Thanks to God's arrangement, our first Bible study at UCLA took place in the cool breeze under a big palm tree on the lawn. I began to experience the love of brothers and sisters in Christ again through our fellowship. As I merged
with the words of God, supported by the encouragement of the brothers and sisters, I was determined to change my life to one that was worthy of God's love.
In the course of time, as the size of this fellowship increased, I continued to receive much help and love from the brothers and sisters. God had arranged for us to be at UCLA for mutual support as we went through the manifold difficulties of academic life. For instance, in spring 1991, just before a
Bible study meeting, I misplaced my wallet, my student ID, some cash, credit cards and other important IDs. Seeing my distress, a brother at the meeting asked me what had happened. Upon hearing my story, he immediately handed me all the cash he had on him. He prayed with me about this matter and told me he would return the next day. Thank God for that brother's love and care in the
Lord. My wallet was found and was returned to me the next morning.
In the summer of 1993, two brothers and I decided to be roommates. This became yet another turning point of my life. While staying with these two brothers, we were able to pray without the interruption of any non-believing roommate, to sing hymns with joy and thanksgiving, and to study the Word together. During this period, I developed the habit of daily spiritual cultivation. I felt the abiding presence of God everyday at school and I enjoyed closeness with God.
But alas, living in the abundance of God's grace, my watchfulness later began to lax and my faith began to decline. I began to indulge in whatever pleased me; I strayed from God and followed my desires. One day, when my roommates asked me to pray with them, I discovered that the precious Holy Spirit of God had left me. I tried very hard to speak in tongues but my effort was futile—I had lost the Holy Spirit! I became very frightened in that prayer; I felt that God was no longer with me. I cried and pounded on the floor, hoping that the Holy Spirit would return. But the Holy Spirit did not return. After that prayer, one of my roommates asked me what was wrong. Trembling, I said I had lost the Holy Spirit. He told me that we should pray again. He also suggested that I should reflect on my actions and repent before God. We knelt down to pray together. Even though I felt spiritually weak and
my prayer was unfocused, this brother prayed for me earnestly. After the prayer, he told me that we should fast and pray over this matter, and that through our faith in God's love, he believed God would forgive me and grant me His Holy Spirit again. Thank God that with my roommate's constant words of comfort, encouragement, and his incessant intercession, by God's mercy, I was given the Holy Spirit again three days later.
"Love never fails" (1 Cor 13:8)—the love of my brothers and sisters at UCLA never failed me. In July 1994, I had a very bad flu. For about three hours, my body temperature increased to about 40°C. Although my head was burning with a high fever, my limbs were cold. My tonsils were so severely inflamed that even swallowing a small sip of water was very painful. Being away from home, I could only lay in bed helplessly. To my surprise, when they
learned of my illness, the brothers and sisters of the campus fellowship visited me, brought my favorite food, flowers and other things to cheer me. They prayed for my quick recovery. I was again showered with their love in the Lord.
During those few years, the brothers and sisters of the fellowship were always around to help me with my needs. Not only this, they also became my closest friends whom I have learned to love and trust. Indeed, the True Jesus Church Campus Fellowship (TJCCF) at UCLA has not only transformed my life, it has also touched the lives of many others. In TJCCF, I reestablished my personal relationship with God, and I experienced the love of the brothers and sisters in Christ. I realize now that as much as I have received through this campus fellowship, I must reciprocate the great love of God by loving and caring for all those who are in need. Because if God's love can be shown through Christian fellowship to one as unworthy as I, it can be gloriously magnified in the lives of all those who truly love Him.