Student Update: Hannah’s Prayers Through Quarantine
By Hannah Stoesz
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13
My name is Hannah, and I am a disciple of Jesus, I serve as a student leader with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and I study at McMaster University. I have become more grateful than ever for the many blessings of food, security, health, support and shelter that I have in this time. I believe God is using this time to shift hearts and open minds, and I pray he gives us eyes to see it.
As we all know very well, COVID-19 rushed in faster than most of us expected, causing great disruption and much uncertainty. In the first few days as things began to shut down, I volunteered with a local youth ministry. I was devastated by how the pandemic was negatively affecting the vulnerable as well as the shelters and food drives in my community.
I heard exclamations like “Where am I going to go for a shower or use the washroom now?” and “I don’t even have a fighting chance against this.” I was heartbroken by the suffering of people my age and younger who lived so close to home.
I poured my heart out with others in my InterVarsity community, and we discussed how we may be able to contribute. We began collecting and donating canned foods and money from other university students and friends who were returning home or had more than they needed. I was encouraged by our almighty and loving God who softened our hearts to the pain of others and provided a way to serve and love them.
As this lockdown has continued, I have been blessed with seeing God move through:
– Placing the importance of praying and studying the Psalms on the hearts of many students in our fellowship
– Non-Christian friends continuing to join our events, ask great questions and participate in Bible studies on the Psalms
– Students loving and caring for each other more than ever and praying together across campuses
– Interfaith dialogues on hope, happiness, purpose and more, which have resulted in new relationships and great opportunities to ask big questions in this time
As I finished my semester online, everything I was supposed to do this summer just wasn’t possible anymore. I had to rethink my priorities. I realized that it was a blessing to be released from many previous commitments; it gave me the chance to slow down and spend time with Jesus. And through more time in prayer, worship and Scripture, God has increased my desire for his presence.
As this time has proceeded, I have been blessed with the opportunity to join Bible studies and discussions around the world. My campus church has also been serving international students in unique ways: helping people move, driving them to the airport, offering financial support, making phone calls and more.
I’ll leave you with another exciting example of God’s goodness during this time. As I dropped off one of my atheist friends at the airport, he accepted a Bible from me. I placed sticky notes throughout it to mark great places to start. A week later he called me to discuss its meaning and has continued to engage our community and ask very insightful questions. This reminded me that God is moving in the hearts of those around us and he will make a way for us to join in with his mission.
Please continue praying for students to have:
– A passion for prayer and faith for God to move
– A wisdom for how to spend our time right now
– A radical sharing of the gospel amongst friends
– Open ears and soft hearts to receive the hope of Jesus
– Hearts broken with Gods and willing to serve in whatever way that is appropriate and helpful at this time
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14
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