"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

-Matthew 7:11 (NIV)

God gives good gifts to His children. And when I first moved to college, I had no idea what was in store for me. I had prayed over finding community and creating good friendships but God delivered way more than I could have hoped for, as He often does.

The Lord not only gave me an amazing community but a lifelong family of Christians that have shown me an abundance of love and encouragement. From the moment I walked into a Chi Alpha large group gathering here at Missouri State, I knew it was where I belonged.

My plan was to visit all of the campus ministries and then decide on one, but I couldn't help myself. I decided on the spot that Chi Alpha was where I was meant to be and that that's where I was going to find the community and leadership I was looking for. Never have I ever felt more welcomed in such a huge group of people who were largely unknown to me.

I met so many loving people that first week of college, and it definitely set the tone for the rest of the weeks to come.

Before long, I felt like a seed that was finally sprouting. A seed can wait years to sprout and will wait in dormancy until the timing is just right and the odds are best for successful germination.

And like a seed who had been waiting years for the right time to sprout, I grew tremendously in my faith and began to bloom like never before. I am now in the second semester of my freshman year, and the community I have found through my campus ministry has helped me grow in crazy ways.

God placed me on the soil of this campus and showered me with the community I had been searching for since I became a Christian. I felt the warmth and sunlight of His grace and love, growing up and away from my small-town roots and reaching for His light. Through Chi Alpha, I have overcome many spiritual challenges and experienced the healing I needed after a rough time of spiritual depression.

I dove head-first into this ministry and gave it all I had. In return, God used it to transform me and totally restart my faith. The reward of completely immersing myself in Jesus and my campus ministry has been so indescribably beneficial to my life and spirituality. I try my best to make it to every event I possibly can and to invite as many people as I can as well so that I can share my passion for Chi Alpha with them.

I joined the Live Production team, where I get to help set up for service and run the projector slides, which helped me connect with even more people. I also joined a Community group and found a best friend in my group leader and am going on two mission trips this year.

I am leaving for Atlanta this March and going to the Dominican Republic in June. I am beyond excited for these trips and to see God continue to work in my life and in the lives of those around me.

Before Chi Alpha, I didn't have a great experience with large groups of girls and often avoided them because of past negative experiences. Joining Chi Alpha, I found a love for my fellow women that I never knew was there.

With every Chi Alpha woman I met, I felt more and more appreciation for the strength that could be found in girl groups. I didn't have lots of experience with Godly women and was not quite as accustomed to the love, grace, and kindness that was so freely given to me.

But I have now embraced these amazing women of strength, and have learned so much from them. I have found true friendship and discipleship, and I thank God every chance I get for the fact that He blessed me with such an outstanding ministry. I highly recommend joining a campus ministry to anyone who is about to start college or is already in school and is just seeking that sense of community.

Chi Alpha helped me to renew my faith and I can't imagine spending my years at college any other way.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you". -Matthew 7:7 (NIV)

The Lord is a good father, and he knows how to give us good gifts. The Lord has blessed me beyond what words can describe, and my campus ministry is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.