Where have you been all my life?

A global pandemic has a way of putting things into perspective. In student ministry, the lockdowns and restrictions of 2020 highlighted the importance of developing deep roots of faith through healthy spiritual rhythms and building strong connections with others in a Christian community.

Power to Change – Students (P2C-S) is committed to helping young adults take their next steps toward Jesus by providing environments where they can be open and honest with their struggles and find gospel-centred answers. While new connections were difficult to make in 2020, P2C-S continued to journey alongside students in innovative ways, hosting online conferences and Alpha courses, and creating digital content.

After four years of lectures, papers, and exams, post-secondary students leave university with more than a degree. During this formative season of life, friendships are forged, worldviews are shaped, and decisions are made that have a life-long impact. For Isabelle and Su, 4th-year students at Carleton University, their friendship was the spark that ignited Su’s search for God.

SU: I was born and raised in Ecuador in a Chinese Buddhist family. The first time I encountered God was in Catholic school, but it didn’t leave a strong impression on me. After moving to Canada in 2014, I forgot about Him until I met Isabelle at university.

ISABELLE: Su and I met in the residence cafeteria during our first year on campus. Within the first few minutes of our conversation, we were both asking, ‘Where have you been all my life?’! We clicked and the topic of God came up very naturally. I invited Su to join me for the Alpha course and other P2C-S events, which eventually sparked more spiritual conversations between us.

SU: In our second year of university, I was struggling with relationship and family issues. I was depressed and anxious all of the time. When Isabelle invited me to Summit, P2C-S’s annual fall retreat, I was at rock bottom, so I thought, why not?

The P2C-S community was so eager to welcome and love me. I couldn’t understand it. I wanted to believe in God and receive even some of His love, but I didn’t feel worthy. So I prayed that He would work in my life and direct my path. I wanted to have faith that He had a plan for me and I would make it out of this low point in my life.

Jesus was a light for me in this season. Knowing that I wasn’t alone gave me strength and courage to continue. I had to take one day at a time. Isabelle also gave me a shoulder to lean on when I was feeling tired of fighting. She is one of the most loving people I know.

ISABELLE: In our third year of university, Su and I became roommates. While waiting for the train one day, I asked her if she wanted to come to a Discipleship Group with me. It didn’t work with her schedule, so instead, Su suggested we meet one-on-one for discipleship. I was so excited that she initiated this!

Together, we studied the Gospel of Mark, and it was extremely encouraging to see Su’s hunger for the Word. It blew my mind how God was working in her heart and increasing her desire to learn more about Him. I was shocked by how quickly she picked up concepts from the Bible. It was clear that God was giving her wisdom to understand His word and character.

SU: When the pandemic began, I had to move back in with my family. But I continued to study the Bible online with Isabelle and another friend. Jesus was making a strong impression on me. I finally grasped that He went to the cross to bring me back to Himself because He loved me.

ISABELLE: Su was steadily building her relationship with God and I knew that He was a very important part of her life. But she was still on the fence about fully committing her life to Jesus. One of the main reasons was the tension around different religions in her family.

SU: Most of my family members are Buddhist, and they believe our ancestors are looking out for us. I wanted to tell my family that I was learning about Jesus, but was afraid I’d disappoint them. One day, my sister asked me where I stood in my faith. I told her that I believed in God, but I wouldn’t force anything on her. From that day on, my family became more understanding about my beliefs.

ISABELLE: When Su opened up to her family about God, I asked her if she was ready to accept Jesus into her life. She said yes and I was over the moon. She prayed and asked Jesus to be her saviour that very day. I was ecstatic!

SU: I have learned that God’s love cannot be earned. He gives it to us freely and unconditionally. Accepting God into my life has changed my perspective and I look to Jesus to help me become a more forgiving and loving person.

I am extremely grateful for Isabelle who pointed me to Jesus. It is clear that God was working through her to draw me closer to Him.

ISABELLE: Seeing Su accept Christ has definitely been one of the biggest highlights of not just the pandemic season, but my entire life!

Students Being Discipled 2,800+
Students Journeying Towards Jesus 1,600+
Ministry Programs Across Canada 78
Monthly Average Influenced By Online Content 108,000