This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
Colossians 1:6 NLT
With the recent beginning of autumn comes not only a change in season, but a new opportunity to change lives! God can change our lives through spiritual friendships who help us understand him. As our lives are changed by God’s love, we can become the kind of friends who change other people’s lives.
We are so grateful to be part of a church that builds family, and we have seen great examples of this is in our San Francisco teen and campus ministries. Today, we want to build your faith with a few stories about how fun, friendships, and faith change lives.
A season of fun and friends
The San Francisco teen and campus ministries have had an exciting kick-off to the fall semester. Starting with a breakfast-style evening cookout at the San Francisco Beach Chalet, over 30 friends came together to share stories and laughs as they sent off recent graduates Nicole Fernandez and PJ Lopez on their new journeys in their careers.
The campus ministry also hosted a Labor Day barbeque in Golden Gate Park, inviting many friends from all over the Bay Area to enjoy burgers, sports, and good vibes.
These events, along with the weekly college Let’s Talk Nights (consisting of adventures to Coit Tower, Ocean Beach, and local boba shops), have led to dozens of new friends getting pulled in, most of whom are now studying the Bible to pursue a relationship with God!
A season of new purpose
In addition to building new relationships at school, our San Francisco campus students have continued to mentor many of our middle schoolers and teens. One of the teenagers some of our college students helped this summer was Marvel Silean. Marvel, a typical teenager getting ready for his first year of high school, decided to do something that most high school freshmen don’t think of doing: digging deep to understand who he really was.
Marvel started studying the Bible during our annual Teen Camp in June, and immediately began to see how much he needed God to help him overcome his pain and weaknesses. Without God’s help and healing, Marvel saw that his pain was manifesting itself in anger and selfishness, which were hurting his family and close friends.
Marvel’s biggest challenge while studying the Bible and learning to become a disciple was being willing to sacrifice to love the people closest to him. When he learned about Jesus’ sacrifice for his sins on the cross, his heart changed because he saw how much God was willing to love him. This compelled him to decide to get baptized and commit to living a life of loving others by sacrificing for them the same way God did for him.
Marvel is now in high school building new relationships and helping other teens study the Bible. Because of his newfound courage from building a relationship with God, he decided to try out for his football team. He not only made it on the team, but also began influencing other students with his faith and radical change!
A season of faith
Eric Lee was a quiet college student leading a simple life of school and work before his co-worker Rachel Manila befriended him and invited him out to an SF campus Let’s Talk Night. That night, Eric was struck by how honest and vulnerable everyone was with each other, and how much fun they had together. He decided he needed friendships like these.
Eric started studying the Bible and realized that God wanted to not only give him the deep friendships he had always desired, but also help him overcome hurts and weaknesses of his past that had led him to push away God, his family, and his friends for years.
Over the past three months, Eric wrestled to find purpose through painful experiences in his past that he had never talked about, such as growing up with ADHD and learning differences, along with the loneliness he experienced through the pandemic. In his pain, he had become self-protective, feeling like he had to look out for himself and his own interests.
However, once he saw the lengths God went to through Jesus’ sacrifice for him on the cross to love and forgive him, Eric found the courage to forgive others and decide to get baptized. Instead of living for himself, he began wanting to be there for other people in the same way God was there for him.
Eric is now continuing classes at City College of San Francisco, aspiring to become a dentist while also helping his peers learn what it means to be real and rely on God.
A season of compassion
Not only has God been moving on college campuses in the city, but he has also been continuing to move in the special needs community through E-Hoops at the University of San Francisco (USF). E-Hoops is a program of E-Life, an inclusive organization that we love to support as a church. The fall session of E-Hoops has been in full swing, powered by volunteer student coaches from campuses such as SF State, UCSF, City College of SF, University High School, and USF.
Together, these coaches have been inspired to volunteer to build an inclusive community for both special needs and typical kids from all over the City through these basketball clinics, alongside the USF Men and Women’s basketball players!
This autumn, God is building spiritual momentum, compelling us to change the City by changing each campus and community, one relationship at a time. We’re looking forward to God’s purpose and vision unfolding in many more lives in this “season of change”!
Until next time,
Ray and Amy Kim
San Francisco Lead Ministers