A Year of Gratitude

As I’m sitting on my couch writing this newsletter and reflecting on the year, I’m struck by how grateful I am to have been welcomed into the lives of thoughtful, imaginative, creative students who seek to submit to God in all areas of their lives. I often leave Family Dinner on Wednesdays being struck by how sincerely these students take the call to follow Jesus with their whole lives. We walk this journey of faith together and help each other along the way. It’s a privilege to be a guide and a companion to these fellow pilgrims. We’ve been through a lot this year, my students and I. There have been times of sorrow, times of joy, times of stress, and times of rest. Though I could recount numerous events, conversations, and moments of gratitude, I asked students to share their reflections with you:

Family Dinner at Good Sam is a place where I can relax, rejoice and reflect. I’m blessed to have a space and community that allows me to come as my whole self: to question when I must question, to lament when I must lament, and to delight in the good that God has given me. Family Dinner has become my sanctuary, and for that I am grateful. – Marcy (senior)

I thank Good Sam for welcoming me into their home, and also their tradition. I thank the community for being so real, inviting, and allowing me to come as I am. I especially want to thank Kylie, Ben, and Geoff for creating a space where I can ask questions and continue to grow in my faith. You all have helped me through this crazy journey, thank you. – Jon (junior)

I am grateful for the sense of identity that going to Good Sam for the past three semesters have given me. I love being able to tell people that Good Sam is my church. I love being able to invite people to come with me and to show them "my church". Good Sam finds new ways to include and welcome college students on a consistent basis and I am very grateful for that. – Anna (sophomore)

I'm very thankful for Kylie's calming demeanor and joyful and adventurous spirit. Last spring, I went on a trip with a few other college students to the Appalachian Trail and Washington DC that she helped lead. The hikes on the trail took up most of the day and often necessitated heading out early and working hard in the evening to make sure we ate and cleaned up by sundown. Even when we got lost on the trail that one day or needed someone to do the dirty work of wrapping up for the day, Kylie was always willing to "go the extra mile" with grace and a servant's heart. She led well and inspired me to embrace the theme--pilgrimage--and apply what I learned those few days to my spiritual life. – Ian (senior)

This past year has been such a blessing. Kylie and Ben have provided me with areas in the church to step into leadership like leading our lunch team for our New Chapel service. I also had the chance to go to India, and experience the way in which God is working there. I am also very thankful for Family Dinner that has allowed deep reflection as we work through the spiritual disciplines. – Brandon (junior)

Thank you for taking part in this ministry with me as I serve college students!  I am blessed and humbled by your generosity, support, and prayers. I pray you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, an Advent filled with hopeful anticipation, a merry Christmas, and happy New Year!