For Mardi Gras break, we sent 80 students from our college ministry along with some of our church staff to Austin, Texas for their Awaken outreach trip. Our students had an incredible time and we are so thankful for all that God did in and through them! Each day there were sessions with passionate worship and time to seek God, as well as teachings on the Father Heart of God, the Holy Spirit, holiness, and making it for the long haul. The students encountered God powerfully as they responded to these teachings. They also had outreaches throughout Austin in various parks, low income neighborhoods, and on UT campus. On the outreaches, students had the opportunity to pray and share the Gospel with people and saw God do some amazing things! All in all, it was an incredible trip. The students are changed and excited to come back to Baton Rouge with fresh faith to see their own college campuses transformed by God. We hope you are encouraged by the photos and testimonies shared below.
"On the last day of the outreach at UT-Austin, I felt like God placed a word on my heart that I was going to meet a Muslim person that day and share the Gospel with him. I patiently waited throughout the day as we walked around campus and at one point God highlighted a guy sitting by himself. Upon introducing ourselves and beginning conversation, I found out that he was a Muslim man from Pakistan. During our conversation, when I asked if I could pray for him, he initially declined. I felt prompted to not give up on him, so I began to share my testimony and he in turn shared his story, opening up with me about his life. After talking for about an hour, I was getting ready to leave, when he said, 'Wait up, can you pray for me? You have made me feel so loved, and no one has done that for me before.' I was in awe of the faithfulness and love God displayed in me and in that guy's heart. God showed me that even when it doesn't seem like someone is open, He can soften hearts and open doors."
"One of the days, we did an outreach at a middle school. While there, we met a girl who was a refugee from another country, living in a nearby apartment complex. She shared with us that she had extreme leg and back pain, due to one of her legs being shorter than the other. She had been experiencing pain since the age of 10, so much so that she couldn't walk, run, or jump without pain. We prayed for her full healing and when we opened our eyes, her leg had grown to be the exact same size as the other! She jumped, ran around, and we praised Jesus!"
"One of our favorite outreaches was the carnival we did after attending Antioch Austin for church on Sunday. We had pizza, bounce houses, games, popcorn, and candy. A ton of people came out, had fun, and had the opportunity to hear the gospel. After sharing the gospel with everyone gathered, we asked if anyone wanted to give their life to Jesus and multiple kids and parents raised their hands to respond!"
"While we were doing an outreach at a park, I felt God leading me to talk to a young guy who was playing soccer with his brother. I introduced myself and we had some small talk, then I asked him if I could pray for him. He asked for prayer about school and his struggle with anxiety. After we prayed, I asked if he had a relationship with Jesus. He responded that he went to church, and from there I explained to him more about what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus beyond attending church. I shared my testimony and the gospel with him and asked if this was something he desired. He said that he felt overwhelmed by his own sin and didn't think he was strong enough to say no to sin and live a life for God. I explained to him that the love of God empowers us to live for Jesus and that the gospel is about how much Jesus has done for us and how much he loves us. When I asked again if he wanted to follow Jesus, he replied, 'Yes!' We prayed together and he gave his life to Jesus! We then talked more about spending time with God and listening to his voice. When I was leaving, he said "Thank you, I've never felt so happy."
We love that our college students chose to give up their break in order to bless and serve the city of Austin with the love of Jesus! It has been so powerful to hear and see the work God has and is doing in their hearts because of our time together. Thank you for praying for our trip! Please continue to believe with us that the work God began will continue as we get back to normal life in Baton Rouge. We are believing to see miracles and salvations in our city!
Images thanks to Courtney Tate