Right Time, Right Place
Loni Eledui | July 03, 2019
My name is Loni, and I’m interning at Florida Atlantic University. If you’ve never heard of it I won’t be offended since I had no idea where it was when I was told I had been placed here. RUF at FAU just started in the fall of 2016, so we only had one year under our belt before I got here. My expectations of going into an exciting campus ministry internship were shaken and rattled a bit when I showed up to a place that is far from “the Bible Belt” where few had ever even heard of RUF. When I started on move-in day, my campus minister told me that he didn’t know if we would even have an “official” Large Group that semester, unaware of how much the ministry would grow at the start of its second year.
In the first week of my first semester as an intern, we spent many hours (in the hot, humid South Florida climate, I might add) tabling around campus. One morning we decided to hit a hot spot on campus by setting up near the cafeteria. That same day there was a blood drive going on in the building adjacent to where we were set up. In the first few minutes of being there, we met a few students coming from the blood donation center or headed to breakfast. After about 10 minutes of being outside it dawned on me the “fresh” air smelled a little funky, as one girl walking by asked aloud, “Did someone throw up out here??” Needless to say, we didn’t hang out there all day. We picked up and moved to a different spot on campus. Admittedly I was a little disappointed since it’s such a busy hub, especially for freshmen to pass through. Even so, we were still able to meet plenty of students elsewhere and invite them to our welcome week events.
In the summer of my second year I grabbed lunch with a student who’s one of our regulars. We were talking about the exciting anticipation of the growth of our ministry for the upcoming fall when she recounted how she first came upon RUF. It was that very day—in just the short time we were out in that smelly area by the dining hall, she was walking to breakfast and signed up for our email list. As it turned out, she had just become a Christian the previous summer, the same summer that I was first preparing to go to FAU. She told me how she had been praying during the months leading up to the fall semester for God to bring her into a Christian community as she was starting her sophomore year of college with a new outlook on life. And here we were, almost a year later, sitting together as a testimony to how the Lord provided just that. “God works in mysterious ways,” she told me. Indeed He does. I can still vividly picture her name and her handwriting on the sign-up sheet from that morning that we had set up a table in her path. She was so quiet at small groups that I wasn’t sure if she liked it or if she was ever coming back. Still, she continued to come to our events and even started to bring other students with her. She now weekly attends Bible Study and helps greet students and tear down at Large Group. She once assisted at another tabling event where students, much like herself, were invited to hear the Gospel preached and experience the nourishing community at RUF.
This story is a prime example of how God took my hopes and expectations for ministry and made them look not only different, but also so much better than what I could have accomplished on my own. When I had hoped for a day of meeting students in a place I thought to be most advantageous for our quantitative growth, God allowed us to be in the right spot for just the right amount time for us to particularly meet that one student. When I expected certain students to come to various events, He graciously sent those whom He willed to be in attendance. When I hoped to be the intern that would impact so many lives, He reminded me that all the glory belongs to Him by this one student sharing her simple story of how the Lord brought her to grow in her faith through His working in RUF. Throughout my time on campus I’m consistently reminded of Ephesians 3:20-21, a verse that so accurately applies to followers of Christ in many aspects. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”