God did incredible things in the lives of the freshmen that came to InterVarsity at the University of Tampa this semester. It has been a gift for us to walk alongside them as Jesus has called them into deeper relationships with Him, leading them to surrender their plans and expectations to His loving will. We wanted you to be able to share in that experience by hearing some of their stories in their own words.
I didn't know what to expect when I came down to Tampa for college. But within the first few days I met two of my best friends. One of them brought us to the Meet InterVarsity event and from then on I thought the community was awesome. When Sonburst came around I was not sure that I really wanted to go or what was it going to do for me, but it was the best decision I've made because I met Jesus there, and I gave my life to him. After that day I realized that the friends I had made so far this semester belong in my life and God put them there. This semester God has showed me what it is like to be accepted and welcomed into a community where everybody is loving and helpful. He has let me feel not so alone in this world, and when I think nobody is there, He is. So overall this semester was better than I expected and I have seen that I do belong here. I’ve also realized that God has a plan for me and I have to follow the path He has laid out. -Julianne Johnson
This semester God taught me a number of things. For one I learned that I should never be relaxed in my relationship with him. I should always be trying to learn more about him and striving to be more like his son, Jesus Christ. He also taught me how to be a part of a Christian community of believers that are not generations older than me. I learned how to open up to the people in this community for the first time and how to truly love someone in a friendship. Most importantly God taught me that I shouldn't beat myself up about things that I have done in the past and to actually believe that he does love me and always has. -Essence Hepburn
Coming to university, I didn't know what to expect. I had grown up in a church but fallen away and just recently came back. After signing up with IV, I was welcomed by an awesome community of people who love Jesus. It was in IV that I was really able to learn and develop my spiritual gifts. Eventually, God instilled a desire to lead in my heart, and when I let the leaders know they were super enthusiastic in helping me develop. I've seen Jesus work in awesome and amazing ways in the hearts of college students. I've also gotten to see a whole other side of him. Joining IV was the best decision I could've made. -Lawton Ho
Part of InterVarsity’s vision is to develop world changers. Our students are going to college to earn degrees in science and business, but they are also learning how to use these skills to serve others for the sake of the kingdom of God. We hosted two events this semester to help them make those connections, and we wanted to share those events with you from the perspective of the students they impacted.
“‘Faith and Business’ was an event InterVarsity at the University of Tampa put on this fall semester. It consisted of a panel of local businessmen and some networking opportunities before and after the panel. Being a senior myself, graduating in May with an International Business and Management degree, naturally I was excited and intrigued by this event. When I was given the opportunity to help plan and market ‘Faith and Business,’ I was eager to finally have a Christian event to invite my many business major friends to. Since I became a leader in Intervarsity my sophomore year, I have always been thinking about my fellow business students and what it would look like to share Jesus with them. Though I have had some conversations about my beliefs and faith with my classmates, it seemed like the business world and Christianity were in constant opposition and experienced much conflict. Though my friends respected my views, I always felt like their response was, ‘That’s just not the reality in the business world.’ This ‘Faith and Business’ event was a real opportunity to invite my friends and to discover with them what it means to combine religion and business, faith and money, ethical responsibility and profit. My eyes were opened to the possibility of for-profit businesses that can operate to serve God and not idolize money. I learned from the businessmen on the panel about how important it is to share their faith courageously with their partners, employees and customers without fear of condemnation or pressure. However, the most exciting and joyful part of the event was the fact that the door for conversation about Jesus with my fellow business classmates was now opened and the space to talk about the role of religion in business was finally made.” –Violetta Remeslova
“I am currently a senior at The University of Tampa studying Marine Biology, and I have been involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IV) since the beginning of my freshman year. Recently, one of my IV staff workers organized a small luncheon for Christian science students and a few Christian science professors from the Biology department. It was an encouraging time to share stories and ask/answer questions. The professors wanted to know what it was like to do ministry on campus as students, while students wanted to know what it was like to be a Christian professor at a secular university. I learned about the difficulties they had integrating their job and faith. One professor talked about how following God as a scientist involves asking God for discernment in conversations. He said, ‘Most of the time the arguments just need to be dropped and you just need to love the person.’ As scientists, it is easy to spend our efforts arguing apologetics, and miss the heart of the matter. At the end of the day, people want to live how they want to live; sometimes it has nothing to do with evolution or science, but with obedience, rebellion, and the idea of faith and trusting a God we cannot see.
I know I am called to live in the in between as both a Christian and a science major, because God has given the ministry of reconciliation to his people (1 Corinthians 5:17-21). The gifts God has given me in the science world have enabled me to speak into the lives of countless people I would never have had access to otherwise. God is a good God who loves the science community enough to send me into it; on this journey of studying his creation, I have been blessed to see both, His creation ‘behind the scenes’, as well as share what Jesus has done in my life with amazing people who have never truly heard of the God who loves them.” –Bethany Loya
We could be anybody.