now I believe that I have become a blessing to the church. I am free from being a burden to my nation; instead I have become a useful person. Praise God!
EvaSUE Ethiopia is an IFES movement that has experienced dramatic growth over the years. In the last decade, they have mobilized more than 8,000 students for holistic mission both within their nation and in neighbouring countries. Since 2002, almost 280,000 people have heard the gospel through them and over 23,000 people have come to Christ.
In addition, more than a thousand student leaders are trained by the movement every year. A study conducted by a group of evangelical churches in Ethiopia reports that more than 60% of current church leaders were part of EvaSUE while they were at university.
In the midst of such overwhelming statistics, it is easy to forget that these are real individuals, with unique stories to tell. But when two students shared their testimonies it became obvious that these numbers tell a story of lives transformed for a purpose – to be used in the kingdom of God.
Henock became a Christian when he was in his first year at university. He writes: ‘I was addicted to different drugs, I smoked, I got drunk, I chewed 'qat' [a euphoria-inducing leaf], I used marijuana. I was careless. I was confused about my future. I was also in great despair. But my family didn't know what I was like because I was practicing these things in secret.
‘One day I was discussing life with a Christian friend. That student told me how man can’t live without God. That surprised me and from then on my life changed. I joined an EvaSUE group and met regularly with a follow-up team.
‘Now I believe that I have become a blessing to the church. I am free from being a burden to my nation; instead I have become a useful person. Praise God!’
Samaria is a law student who was never particularly concerned about spiritual matters. That all changed when she came to university and was assigned to live with a group of Christians. At first she just tolerated them, but was determined not to get involved in any spiritual discussions. However when, just for fun, she attended EvaSUE’s special Agape Night, she suddenly found herself crying.
‘When the facilitator made an invitation to newcomers, I stood up and went forward with no fear and accepted Jesus as my personal saviour. Now I am leading a meaningful life. May God bless this ministry!’
These testimonies contain echoes of Paul’s letter to Philemon about the slave Onesimus, whose name means ‘useful’. He writes ‘Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful to you and to me’ (Philemon 1:11). Coming to Christ is not the end of the story, it’s the beginning. Let’s pray for university students all over the world, that they would not only come to acknowledge their lord and saviour Jesus, but then go on to be useful in the kingdom.