New England RUF Winter Conference in Newport, RI

On the last weekend in February, about a hundred students from RUF ministries in the Northeast descended on the charming town of Newport, RI for our annual winter conference. The benefits of conferences like these are many. Students are exposed to great Biblical teaching. Our speaker, Rev. Charlie Drew, taught us about God’s purpose for our lives and discerning His calling. Students participate in campus seminars and discussion groups. We also get the chance to worship together. For my group of UConn students, it was great to worship with a group of 100 instead of our usual 20-25. What a great way to spend a weekend!

What I am learning about these conferences, however, is that the best part is the fellowship and group building that occur as a result of a weekend away together centered on the Word. As I have debriefed with students about the conference over the last several weeks, I have been continually encouraged to hear about the new friendships that formed and conversations that arose. Students that don’t normally spend time together on campus end up sharing meals together. Students that are new to the group and exploring Christianity end up out on a dock at night talking with older, more mature Christians about their struggles. They share their stories in a way that doesn’t happen as naturally during the grind of a normal week at school. The students come back to campus not only nourished by the Word, but more committed to each other. This is the beauty of conferences. This is the beauty of the way God’s Spirit works through His Word.

As I pray for my ministry at UConn, I have found myself praying more and more not just for all the individual students and their unique situations, but for the group as a whole. My prayer is that God would work to create lasting friendships based on the common bond of Christ. My prayer is that God would create a community where students can be transparent, work through conflict in healthy ways, and become involved in the details of each others lives and struggles. My prayer is that God would use such a group to draw in new students that might say, “where else have I ever been loved like this before?” “Where else have I been pursued and cared for like this?” While my prayers continue daily, it was encouraging to see God working in this way during our weekend in Newport.

Lucas Dourado, Campus Minister at Connecticut
March 5, 2013 • 610-691-0988 • 631 Fourth Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18018