Weilin's journey to faith and matching grant opportunity for expanding ministry in Upstate, NY. 
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“We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
(John 4:42)

From Curiosity to New Life

When we met Wielin (name changed for privacy) during new student outreach, she was not Christian. She appreciated how InterVarsity’s Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF) gave generously of their limited time to get to know her and care for her wellbeing. Knowing that Wielin did not have a car when the pandemic shut things down, GCF brought her groceries and gave her a mask. 
Wielin heard a lot about Jesus at GCF, but didn’t know much about him. I’d love to learn more about Jesus,” Wielin said. So, she and I started meeting regularly to study the Gospel of John.
At the start of our first study, she told me that she was not interested in believing in Jesus. "I want to learn about Jesus as more of an academic exercise," she told me. I could sense her guardedness. She was curious, but was not open to change. "That's great!" I told her, "I also want to use my academic background to study the life of Jesus as a way of learning more about him."

Fast forward almost a year and I notice that Wielin's language about our study starts to change. Instead of referring to it as a time to learn about Jesus, she started to refer to a time to learn from Jesus. She also talked about GCF as the place where we work with Jesus. "Wielin," I said, "I notice that your language about our study and GCF has changed. Does that reflect a change in how you're thinking about Jesus?"

"I've become a Christian," she shared. 

Wielin went on to tell me how she started to believe during our study of Jesus' conversation with Samaritan woman in John 4. She found herself identifying with the Samaritan woman. Like the Samaritan woman, she had more questions than answers. She was curious, but uncertain. She was asking the same question the Samaritan woman was, “could this be the Messiah?”

"Now I know," Wielin shared, "just like the Samaritan woman that he really is the Savior of the world."

Wielin and I are now talking about what following Jesus looks like and she is continuing to see how knowing Jesus reframes the way she understands the world and her place in it. She is wrestling with important discipleship questions, such as how Jesus is calling her not to see her education as a passport to privilege, but as equipment for service and how her field of study in Data Science can be part of Jesus’ ongoing work to transform the world.
Wielin is not alone. There are over 50,000 graduate students in Upstate NY who are like Wielin. Some are curious about Jesus, some are guarded, and some are trying to figure out what it means to follow him in their unique vocational context.

Image if each one of these gifted graduate students had the opportunities that Wielin had to be part of a witnessing community on campus, to meet the Jesus, and to discover what how Jesus is calling them to give their lives to the resolution of the crises of our time, out of love for God and for their global neighbor. 
To reach these students, we will need to plant new witnessing communities—a lot of them! We will also need to gather vibrant a team of staff and volunteers who can give focused attention to each campus. 
To do all this, we will need to raise an extra $50,000. To help with this need, a group of partners have generously agreed to match every single dollar – up to $10,000 by June 15 and another $10,000 by August 31.
Will you prayerfully consider taking advantage of this opportunity and help us reach $20,000 by August 31? 
Specifically, will you prayerfully consider:
  • A one-time gift of $600 or $1,200, or 
  • A recurring partnership of $50/month or $100/month?
To meet the full $20,000 matching grant opportunity, I am looking for 22 partners to commit a gift at one of the levels below
  • 12 partners giving $100/month (or a one-time gift $1,200)
  • 10 partners giving $50/month (or a one-time gift of $600)
I am looking forward to connecting with you in the coming days and sharing more about this opportunity to bring the gospel to students like Wielin on every campus in Upstate NY.

Thank you for your partnership in planting and growing witnessing communities of graduate students and faculty who are following Jesus as whole life, whole world disciples.  
Match Your Gift Today!

Family Update

The Sullivans are slowly emerging from our pandemic cave, some of us a little taller and all of us a lot hairier. We welcomed a furry friend in March who appeared shivering at our dryer vent and has made himself quite at home. He is affectionately known as "Hamilton," "Cat" or in Maia's case, "Meow-Meow."

We are in full-time potty-training mode with Maia. As we get closer to transitioning her our of diapers, we are near the end of the valley of diapers that has been the last 8 years of our lives. 

Overall, we are immensely blessed. We thank God for good health, the joy of our home and the gift of you, our friends and partners in ministry. 

Hoping for many opportunities to see you in person soon! 
Thank you for your partnership in this mission to plant and grow witnessing communities of graduate students and faculty who are calling every corner of every campus in WNY to follow Jesus as whole life, whole world disciples.

Your prayerful and financial partnership is pivotal for moving this mission forward. 

Thank you so much! 
Grace and Peace, 

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