REVISED March 18, 2009.
SANTA FE, N.M. (BP)–As rain and hail poured from the skies over Glorieta, a LifeWay Conference Center, more than 70 college students boarded vans for a ride into Santa Fe and an afternoon of street ministry.
The college students were attending Collegiate Week at Glorieta and had an afternoon of free time. While many students took the opportunity for miniature golf, volleyball and other sports, these students opted to take water bottles and God’s Word to the people of Santa Fe.
“I thought it would be exciting to get the most of this experience,” said Judy Klinard*, a student at North Greenville College in Tigerville, S.C. Klinard served as a summer missionary in Pennsylvania this summer and left a week early to attend Collegiate Week.
The group shared about themselves, along with feelings of nervousness, on the van ride into town. Most of the students had not done street evangelism before this experience.
Once they arrived in Santa Fe, the college students, armed with a few tracts and as many bottles of water as they could carry, split into pairs to walk the streets of Santa Fe.
While some of the students stayed near a skateboarding park, Klinard and Katie Cotton, a student at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, walked to the town square. One of their first encounters was with Kelvin, who was waiting on his ride to pick him up.
Cotton went through a tract with him but his ride arrived just as she got to the prayer of salvation. He left without making a decision but with a tract and a bottle of water with information on a local Baptist church.
“I was so nervous,” Cotton said.
Klinard assured her she had done a great job. “I was standing there praying for you. I was cheering you on the inside.”
Their adventure was not over with this one encounter. As the pair stood at a street corner and debated which way to go next, Luna, Amber and Jessica crossed the street in their direction. Again they shared water and a tract with the group. Before the three decided to walk on, Cotton asked if they could pray together.
With tourists and town residents passing by on the street and the sidewalk, they stood holding hands and praying that these three young women would find what God had for them.
Excited about this encounter, Cotton and Klinard decided to head back to the van. Along the way, a woman stopped them for prayer for her husband who would have eye surgery the next day. They gladly gathered around the woman’s husband, Edward, and prayed for God’s care and wisdom during the next day’s surgery.
Cotton and Klinard also shared their last few bottles of water with the couple.
They returned to the skateboard park and the van in time to hear stories from the other students. Some had trouble giving out their water and others had been ridiculed by the young skateboarders.
“We had some brutal times,” said Lake Choe, a student at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. “There’s some success stories. It’s definitely harder than I thought it would be.
“You really don’t know until you try it. It was really hard figuring out what to say at first,” she added.
Having given away all their water and having witnessed past the set time to leave, the group headed back to Glorieta and discussed plans to return to the Santa Fe skateboarding park the next afternoon.
Collegiate Week was sponsored by the National Collegiate Ministries Department of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
*Name changed for security reasons.