Oct. 30, 2014 Update

 

Dear Friends,

Since we left Carleton University 10 years ago, Loni and I really haven’t had the chance to go back and minister on that campus.  But last week, our National Leadership Team met together in Ottawa to visit the Ottawa campuses to encourage them and gain some perspective on the challenges that our teams are facing in Ottawa.

This was such a great experience for me, as I had forgotten what a transformative time Carleton was in my life! Wandering around a place where God really got a hold of my heart and challenged me to take steps of faith in following Him was just what I needed this fall.

Here are a couple significant moments for me:

  • I had the opportunity to take a few first year students out to talk with their peers about Jesus for the first time.  Taking these guys out to talk with students in the cafeteria and the atrium of the student centre was a great reminder to me of when I first learned to share my faith as a students at Carleton in those very same places!
  • One student had booked an appointment with her French prof to talk about her faith with him.  As the director of our ministry in Quebec, she thought that I might be able to help, so we sat down with her prof and another prof and had a great spiritual conversation with them in French in the Starbucks at the Carleton Library.  One fun moment in that conversation was when her prof asked her if she thought there were still people in Canada that were genuinely trying to follow the life and teachings of Jesus, and we could affirm together that yes, we are part of just such a group of students!
  • The leadership team at Carleton invited me to share with their team about my experience as a student at Carleton.  I loved being able to walk them through a tour of significant places on campus where God met me as a student and challenged me to follow Him.  One of the stories I shared with them was about the first large event that I was part of organizing at Carleton, a debate on the existence of God that 500 students attended.  I remember so vividly realizing through that experience that God could use me to have an impact on my peers!

Overall, the experience of being back at Carleton was really refreshing for me. It was a reminder of where God has taken my life over the last 10-12 years, and the ways that He has continued to transform me into the image of His Son.

Thanks for praying along with us that God would continue to call generations of university students to make significant commitments to Him during their time on campus!

Oct. 6, 2014 Update

 

Dear Friends,

Just a quick note to say thank you for praying for our Convergence & Summit retreats last weekend.  We had an excellent weekend — the weather was outstanding, the surroundings were stunning, and God was at work in the hearts of all the students who attended.

A couple highlights from my vantage point:

  • This is perhaps small, but personally I had an excellent “language” weekend.  Throughout both of my talks, I found words quickly and easily, and was able to communicate with clarity and humour.  As anyone who works in a second language will tell you, there are somedays where language comes easily, and others where you struggle. I’m thankful for great “french” days with the students!
  • On Friday night, before I spoke, we invited a student named Suzie to share her story. You may remember Suzie from last year… her life was changed when she gave her life to Christ at Convergence in 2013. Suzie explained to the other students that last year, she had prayed on the Friday night that God would somehow reveal Himself to her over the weekend.  She committed to giving the weekend to Him, if He would just reveal Himself.  And He did!  It was inspiring to have Suzie challenging students to give their weekend to the Lord, believing that He would meet them this year too.
  • There were some non-Christian students who attended the retreat again this year who were challenged throughout the weekend to investigate Jesus.  Some of these students are taking next steps with God.
  • Matt & Dahlia came along with me for the weekend, a mini-tradition born out of Loni being sick last year when I was leaving for Convergence.  The highlight of the weekend for me was actually the conversations that I had with M&D and the way that they were excited to serve the students alongside me all weekend.  We took time together to pray for the students, to pray for missions, and to talk about what “Daddy’s job” is – helping students to discover Jesus.
Thanks for the vital role that you played in praying for this special time of ministry! I’m so thankful for the important part that you have in this ministry.

Teaching students at Convergence

Aug. 16, 2013 Update letter

 


Are Québecois students open to the gospel?

We sat down recently with an old friend of ours who came to Christ during our years at Carleton, and she asked us an excellent question. “Are there still people, like me, who are deciding to follow Jesus on campus? Are students in Québec open to the message of Jesus?”

We’ve recently put together a video that tries to answer that question!  Are Québecois students open to the gospel? The answer that we’ve found is that while they may be far from the gospel in their understanding and experience, they are indeed open to Jesus.  It just takes a longer time for them to understand and experience who Jesus is, because of the cultural baggage that they carry with them.

The video is done in documentary style, with the host interviewing a series of non-Christian students on campus.  The questions start fairly broadly, establishing some common ground, and focus in on the person of Jesus  towards the end.  What strikes you about the way that these students communicate their interest in the message of Jesus?

(Click the picture to open an external page with the video)

 

A few prayer requests :

– Our campuses in Quebec are getting ready to start up again, with students starting in classes as early as August 26!  Pray for us as we work with our various teams of staff and students to kick off another year of ministry on campuses across the province.

– Praise God for some new staff that have joined our team this fall!  We have 4 Québecois interns that are joining our team for this next year, along with another 2 new staff from outside of Quebec.

– Pray for a couple people in our life that are we are hoping to see come to Christ: for Mandy, Max, and Karl.  Pray that we would take initiative to share about Christ with them, and that they would connect with Jesus.

Thank you again for the vital role that you play in our ministry towards students in Québec!  Your prayers, support, and encouragement are of great value to us.

With hope for the student world,

Andy & Loni Smits

serving with Power to Change (Pouvoir de Changer) in Québec