My journey with Campus Ministry at GVSU Downtown (CM) begins well before I even discovered its existence, but to keep things short I grew up with a faith, but it had withered long before I arrived at college. When I transferred to Grand Valley in my junior year, I didn’t know anyone on the campus. Nor was I overly familiar with the area in general, so when I saw I had a class in Allendale, and I was living on the downtown campus, I decided to make a day of it and explore that campus.
I found myself wandering near the blue transitional gateway where I saw two girls drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. I laughed to myself and thought “well it is college–do what makes you happy.” Then one of them started to talk to me. I was informed of The Well, CMs main gathering on Sunday nights, and I remember repeating “no” in my head, over, and over again.
In the end I took one of the fliers they had and nearly sprinted away, but day after day I saw that flyer on my desk and eventually made a bet with myself and said, “if I see someone at the campus life night from CM, I will talk to them.” At campus life night I ended up running into a girl from CM, and after a short conversation she told me about The Well downtown.
It still makes me laugh that this journey I have gone on was all from a simple conversation, but it was the catalyst for where I am today.
That following Sunday, I found myself bored out of my mind sitting in my dorm room, so I decided to go for a walk. Well Jodi, one of the staff at the time, had other plans for me. After an extensive conversation she decided to introduce me to another student, and intern, Dawson Rubin. He invited me to sit with him at The Well so I wouldn’t be sitting alone.
Although after the service I still wasn’t fully convinced, Dawson invited me to get tacos. When I met with him, I told him my entire story, and when I finished, he didn’t look at me differently. Furthermore, he accepted me with open arms. It was then I decided “something is different here; I want to figure out what.” From this point I decided to seriously get plugged into CM. This led to me becoming active in a Life Group, later that year going on a spring break mission trip. I then became a CM leader during the covid year.
At this point after being involved with CM for two years, I still would have only called myself a surface Christian, but Cody, a mentor, friend, and staff member saw something in me I didn’t. So, for that reason, he asked me to be an intern under him.
I still remember seriously questioning if both him asking me to be an intern and me accepting were good ideas, although I did not hesitate in the slightest to say yes. I knew this was the best way to bring people to God, and I knew it was my chance to give back all that I had been given by this community.
As an intern I’ve been able to organize CM to assist in community projects such as the west side cleanup. I didn’t know the extent of all that I was carrying until it was lifted from my shoulders through my experiences with CM, through the community, and through the love and peace of God.
Since then, I continue to be an intern here at CM, and recently was able to travel to Israel with CM. This trip has set me on the path of a future where I can meet those who are just as broken as I was before I met God for the second time.
Submitted by Cody Zuiderveen of Campus Ministry at GVSU Downtown
New Church Development Ministry
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