UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI

 
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Michael & Taylor Elder

I grew up in the church but it wasn’t until college that I really began a relationship with the Lord. As a freshman, I pledged a fraternity and was very much living the worldly lifestyle. But during this time I met Casey, a man on staff with Campus Outreach, who offered me a free lunch. From that lunch, we developed a friendship that led to Casey sharing the gospel with me. That was when I repented and truly believed that Christ was my Lord & Savior for the first time. The next 3 years of college, I committed to being discipled by Casey so I could learn more about what it meant to follow Christ.

My wife, Taylor, was raised in a family of people who loved Christ and the Gospel. She came to faith at a young age but it was in college where she really developed and matured as a follower of Christ. She learned the importance of discipleship and sharing her faith with others.

Taylor & I met at the Summer Project in 2010. After a few years, our friendship developed into a relationship and we were married in May 2013. The good news of Christ has gripped our hearts and it is now our desire to take this news on the college campus to share with every student we encounter.

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Tekiuh Hutton

I grew up believing in God and going to church but there was no enforcement of the Gospel in my household for a good chunk of time. From the age of 9 to 18 I lived with my father and step family, none of whom were Christians. During this time I suffered the brokenness of several forms of abuse and a lack of provision and support from the family I lived with. On weekends and some times throughout the week, my mom was the one who took me to church and introduced me to what life in Christ looked like. However, because of these competing environments, I was not challenged to use the disciplines of the Christian life outside of church settings and contexts. I was mainly focused on moral goodness and being sure to pray over my food before I ate. What I did gain was a love for serving the church. My mom encouraged me to get involved in creative youth ministries that helped me experience freedom from my sufferings while expressing myself through song and dance. Approaching my early teens, I began to understand that my sin separated me from God. My desires shifted from being morally good in order to please other people, or separate my identity from that of my household, to fighting sin in order to please God. Around the age of 14 I made the decision to live my life for Christ.

Coming from the last few years of high school and going into college at Northern Kentucky University, I was used to serving God through Christian activities. I failed to see that since accepting Christ I had equated my love for God and validated my relationship with Him by the teams, organizations and leadership I was a part of. Toward the end of my sophomore year, after being challenged to trust God with some financial issues, I realized that I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior but did not openly and willing sacrifice control over many areas of my adult life. I knew I wanted to start trusting Him, but how? In the fall of my junior year Campus Outreach came to NKU and many of the staff began spending time with the Gospel Choir I was on executive board for. Through CO I was introduced to a group of believers who were willing to reach out, love on me, and nurture my spiritual growth. Having the blessing of being connected to Taylor Babbs, I was truly discipled for the first time. Never before had I felt the weight of my daily sin so heavily, yet had so much hope that my life was valued by the Creator and that He TRULY, TRULY loved me in spite of how undeserving I was of His grace and mercy. Taylor helped me start the healing process in many areas of brokenness in my life by challenging the root of my busy habits and pointing me to Jesus. Up to this point no one had, to this extent, invested in me as an individual. As I saw Taylor and other staff do the same with a lot of my friends, the Lord showed me His love and pursuit of me through how they pursued students. I pray that I can show that same pursuit as I work faithfully on the campus to impact the eternities of broken, lost college students.

 
 
 
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Annie Sostok

I became a Christian when I was 5 years old. I grew up in a Christian home, going to church every Sunday, being very involved in Sunday school classes, BSF Bible studies when I was a kid, and hanging out around the church people- so hearing about Jesus in everyday conversations and life was not surprising or unexpected in my family. I had just told my mom a lie that she caught me in and told me that she didn’t like it when I tried to lie to her, but more importantly, Jesus wanted to be my friend and he didn’t like it when I lied to my mom and to Him. I felt so bad about lying to Jesus and wanted his forgiveness and help to not keep being a sinner so we could be friends forever that I asked my mom to help me become a Christian.

Ever since I became a Christian I really tried to be a good Christian because of a deep desire to be one. I wanted to learn about God and Jesus and tell my friends about Him because I knew Jesus was my friend, God was my Heavenly Father who cared for me, and the Holy Spirit was the Helper that made His Presence very felt in my life and I wanted my friends to have them too. Looking back, I can really see how God has worked in my life to grow me into a more mature Christian and stretch me past my comfort zone to keep me growing and trusting in Him during my K-12 inner city, public school years. Attending a public school during my formative years really helped me see the real “struggle” to live out and talk about my faith in Christ in a setting where not every one agreed with me, others ignored me, and few really wanted to know what made me so different from everyone else. During those years He also showed me how vital the Church was to the growing, challenging, and comforting of Christians because I lived for Sunday morning church services and Wednesday night youth group meetings during high school because I felt so out-casted and alone due to my sincerity to follow Christ without compromise. I wanted to go to a Christian college because I wanted more understanding about why I believed what I believed and to be able to ask questions about God in a safe place where my faith would be challenged while being encouraged. Covenant College was a wonderful place that did just that and God used those years to bring people into my life that mentored me by asking challenging and uncomfortable questions and forced me to really confront myself, I met professors who encouraged me to wrestle well with God, and great friends who reminded me of the Gospel and Jesus’ love.

I know I still have a lot to learn and grow in my relationship with the Lord. I struggle to spend focused personal time with God and His Word, but I know that God is still refining me. I have had times where I have felt God close and other times when I’ve cried out asking if He was really ever there to begin with. I’ve had moments where I’ve seen God use me to be an encouragement and servant to others and other moments when I’ve sinned and thought that God could never use me- But the King of Grace still reigns and calls me Beloved. There have been many themes and seasons God has taken me throughout my life to teach me about who He is, how I should live. He has also taught me what it means to be a humble servant leader, and to really understand the depths of His redeeming grace and unconditional love. I know there will be more lessons God will teach me and stretch me as I walk with Him. To God be the honor and glory, forever and ever.

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Tony & Liz Wells

A Christian Music Artist once said that, "College does a good job of teaching you how to make a living, but does NOT do a good job of teaching you how to do a life." A verse that I continue to talk with college students is 2 Timothy 4:7-8 which says, " While physical training has some value... training in godliness has MORE value for this life and the life to come." Students come to colleges to train in all sorts of physical things: academics, social groups, sports/fitness, FOOD...etc. God's Word says that while that stuff is valuable to train in godliness has more value!

I went to EKU to train in physical things on a baseball scholarship in 2003. However the most valuable thing I did in college was train in godliness with Campus Outreach. I spent a lot of time on the field, at parties, and in the classroom. But it was my time training in godliness through discipleship, bible studies, church, retreats, etc that has been the most valuable thing in my life. I would not be near the child of God, husband, father, church member, worker, neighbor, etc... if it wasn't for my time training in godliness as a student involved with Campus Outreach when I was in college.

College ministry is fun! However the greatest thing about our job is to graduate godliness from the campus. Myself and many of my teammates, roommates, and friends from EKU put our faith in Christ for the 1st time in college and was discipled through the ministry of Campus Outreach. Many years after graduating we are still walking with the Lord, in godly marriages, raising our children, loving and serving our church, and using our resources for the Kingdom of God!

Thousands of students come to these cites to go to college and thousands end up staying in the city. To change the city I truly believe we need to reach and equip the next generation of college students.

Our family is committed to use our resources to share the gospel and to see the next generation of godliness graduate from the college campus.