By Andrew and Haley Lewis - CRU (Santa Barbara)
A story that comes to mind when I think about the power of prayer is the story of a girl named Paris. In September 2020, fall quarter had commenced and our staff team and students leaders had been trying a number of different tactics to reach incoming students to UCSB. Our days have been filled with various social media, zoom, and email steps of faith hoping to see some fruits from our labor, but also not sure what to expect. We had no idea how, but we were praying that God would lead us to the right students who would be interested in a Christian community. One week I (Haley) tried a new tactic. (Now stay with me because this sounds a bit stalker-ish, but I promise it worked! Haha!) I found the UCSB class of 2024 page on Instagram and went to the list of students following that page. From there I went down the line and would briefly look at each student’s profile to see if they said anything about God or had any sort of verse in their bio. This profile/bio section on Instagram is commonly used by young people right now to give a few brief identifiers about themselves. A lot can be said about a person on how they see themselves based on a few words at the top of their page.
During this process, I came across an incoming freshman named Paris who had an angel emoji in her profile. I also had noticed that she liked some other Christian organizations so I sent her a message explaining what Cru was and asking if she would be interested. To which she immediately replied “I’m never interested!”
I thought to myself “maybe this wasn’t a good idea, this girl is clearly upset and never is a very strong word.” I then quickly apologized and moved along. Shortly after I received another few messages from Paris “I meant I’m VERY interested, so sorry. That was my autocorrect.”
I laughed to myself and thought, “Wow that is so different than never” Haha! After an extended conversation over the chat Paris shared with me that she was a water polo player and would be living in Isla Vista very soon. I asked if she would be interested in having socially-distanced coffee with me and she immediately replied “YES! Please! I’ve been praying for this!” I began to tear up a bit, knowing that Paris too was the answer to many of our prayers about reaching new students! “YOU ARE THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS AS WELL!” I happily responded.
By Wednesday I was having coffee and getting to know Paris and her two roommates, who were also water polo players interested in Christian community. I’m so glad God answered the prayers of the staff team and leaders for wisdom on how to reach students virtually and I’m also glad God answered Paris’ prayers to get involved in a Christian community.