From the Vice President of Student Life
A GREATER PURPOSE
In her book, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Ruth Haley Barton writes, “Spiritual transformation is the process by which Christ is formed in us for the glory of God, for the abundance of our own lives and for the sake of others” (p. 16). At George Fox, it is a great joy for me to observe this process happening regularly in the lives of our students as they grow in their knowledge of God, understanding of themselves, and service to others. There are so many opportunities that can help facilitate this process. Whether students are being mentored and/or influenced by faculty members, staff members, or fellow students, the rich tapestry of college life allows genuine questions and exploration to lead to deep and transformative places within a supportive environment.
I know we talk a lot about Serve Day and other service-related opportunities, but this year we had our 12th annual Serve Day on Wednesday, Sept. 8. A record 1,800 students, faculty, and staff members participated in this special day. We served 76 different sites and 30 individual homes, and the feedback that has come back from students, sites and employees has once again been very gratifying.
There were eight new sites this year, including Inner City Sports, Janus House, the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, the Beaverton School District clothes closet, Le Arche Nehalem, the Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children, and Women of Purpose. In Serve Day’s 12 years, it is estimated that more than 13,000 students and employees have volunteered about 130,000 hours for Serve Day projects and more than 200 organizations or churches have been assisted. I thought I’d share just one student’s comments about the impact this year’s Serve Day had on them:
“I just lost my youth pastor in a car accident the day before Serve Day, and so I was just really upset and I not sure if I was going to be able to serve. As Serve Day approached, I just prayed to God and asked him to keep me focused and open my heart to service despite the situation I was in. God just really took away my pain for the day, allowed me to have a servant’s heart and realize what I am alive for, and helped me to focus on others and not myself. He allowed me to realize that it is not all about me and the situations that I am in, but that there are people who need my help. I need to forget myself for the moment and focus on those around me. Jesus just helped me through the day, and I just felt his love and spirit filling the places that we served. The little kids at the elementary school where we served were so excited to have us and just really looked up to us. God just opened my heart and made clear to me that he still has a purpose for me and that I need to put my life in his hands and let him take control, so that I can carry out his will for my life.”
Thanks for your partnership with us in challenging and supporting students to a greater purpose as they grow spiritually, intellectually, socially and emotionally to be the persons they were created to be . . . individuals with unique gifts, abilities, and talents who can be used to make a difference in a hurting and needy world!