Q&A about helping develop new campus ministry work in Africa

In 2014, Wisconsin Luther Chapel, the campus ministry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, started a new group called Cross Culture to “take Christ’s light to campuses around the world.” This group began working with the Lutheran Church of Central Africa–Zambia (LCCA) to help develop a campus ministry at the University of Zambia in Lusaka (UNZA). Over the past few years, different student groups from Cross Culture traveled to Lusaka to meet with and encourage UNZA students. UW–Madison seniors Phil Anderson, a member at Zion, South Milwaukee, Wis., and Maria Gruetzmacher, a member at Salem, Stillwater, Minn., went to Africa in January 2015. Here they share more about their experience:

Q: Why are you involved in Cross Culture?

Anderson: Since I have been able to enjoy a wonderful time at Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel, I want to help fellow college students around the world experience that same joy with their own respective campus ministries.

Q: Why did you decide to travel to Africa?

Gruetzmacher: Each correspondence we had with the Zambians made me more and more excited about traveling to their homeland to see the Holy Spirit’s work firsthand. Through these conversations, we could also see that encouragement from fellow believers would be extremely beneficial in the work of the Zambian campus ministry. I wanted to personally meet and encourage them to see that they have been given the gifts and opportunity to create something that will impact people eternally.

Anderson: I went to Zambia to help fellow sisters and brothers in Christ my age develop their faith and spiritual gifts.

Q: What was your favorite part of the trip?

Gruetzmacher: My favorite part of the trip was seeing the Holy Spirit work in everyone’s hearts. Throughout the three day leadership workshop we led, the students’ eyes were opened to their unique God-given abilities. They then realized all that they could do utilizing the unique talents of each group member. Listening to the group brainstorm ideas for the campus ministry and collaborating with their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ made my heart so happy.

The evening we arrived, Pastor Kangongo [LCCA pastor who helps with UNZA campus ministry] was so excited! He kept smiling the biggest grin I have ever seen while clasping his hands together and giggling. One of my favorite things he said was, “You are standing here before me all because of the amazing power of Jesus’ holy blood.” That moment made me realize that no matter one’s walk of life, we are all children of God and will be together for eternity, praising our Creator and Savior.

Anderson: My favorite part of the trip was the final day we got to spend with the students facilitating a Bible study. Though we were in a dark corner room on the campus while it was raining heavily outside, we were able to join in fellowship with these wonderful fellow students. We were able to laugh with them and find spiritual truths as we walked through the Bible with them. It was amazing to experience this kind of fellowship with people I would never have met without this opportunity through Cross Culture.

Q: What did you learn on the trip about yourself?

Gruetzmacher: I learned that I crave encouraging fellow believers in their walk with Christ. While I may not have a wealth of Bible knowledge, the Lord has blessed me with the ability to encourage and support others. As I pray with them and grow with them, my heart fills with joy and gratitude for all that God has done for me and them. It motivates me to continue letting my light shine!

Q: What does it mean to you to be involved in helping a world mission field?

Gruetzmacher: This has been an invaluable experience in which I have gained countless skills that I am excited to contribute to my future home congregation. Through working with Zambia, I have realized that the Lord truly will send me wherever he needs me to further his ministry most. I just need to trust him.

Anderson: Being involved in this mission field has opened my eyes to a large world filled with many souls, yearning for God’s forgiveness. I was able to experience firsthand what it is like to step outside of your country and experience other parts of the world and see God’s creation. I truly feel blessed that I could be a part of God’s plan for the spreading of his Word.

 

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Author:
Volume 103, Number 03
Issue: March 2016

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