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Welcoming the Nations. Exploring the Gospel. Equipping the Saints.

Hello Dear Friends,

I have much to share with you all!  I have included some stories below that are representative of the whole semester because I want you to see, in detail, some of the ways that the Lord has been at work this past semester at Texas A&M, through your giving. 

He is using your support to bring the message of Salvation to international students and I am immensely thankful for you.  Thank you for your partnership in ministry.  Thank you for the sacrifices that you make to support the Kingdom work that God is doing here at Texas A&M.  Jesus is calling students to Himself and He is using you!  

In response to the recent Christmas season I have been reflecting on the miracle of Christmas, the incarnation.  It is wonderful and amazing that God Himself stepped down and entered His own creation.  The Second Person of the Trinity, very God, the divine Word, and source of all goodness, descended and was born of a real living woman.  He came to ransom us.  Jesus, the Son of God, became man in order to make men into sons of God.  

Additionally, Jesus has also given us His Spirit to dwell in our hearts.  We, the church, are the body of Christ.  Our ministry must therefore be incarnational.  We are sent as heralds of the King. We are His hands and feet.  In RUFI we tell people from all over the world the good news. This is our message, that through Jesus’s incarnation, death, and resurrection, our sins have been forgiven and we are thereby invited into renewed relationship with God Himself.  In everything that we do, RUFI seeks to participate in Christ’s work, as His body, through the power of His Spirit.  It is as Christ’s body that we proclaim the gospel message.  

Alongside our proclamation of the gospel we also invite international students to come and belong in the community of God.  Our goal is to help them see how their story is a part of this bigger story.  Our gospel invitation is an invitation to know Christ and to become a participant in His community. Our welcome becomes the platform for our exploration of the gospel.  Ultimately, RUFI exists to welcome students from all over the world with the love of Christ and to invite them into a relationship with the one true King, Jesus Himself. 

It was fun to see what our international students said they were thankful for at our thanksgiving party.

Participation in Community 

Since my last update, RUFI has seen a core group of new students coalesce.  Our weekly Table Talk, Bible discussions, fellowship events, and one on one ministry throughout the semester has borne fruit.  I have had the privilege of watching international students find a place to belong in RUFI.  As the semester has progressed, my own relationships with these students have deepened, and I have also had the joy of watching their relationships with one another grow as well.  Simultaneously, our weekly Bible discussions in Table Talk have gained depth.  

Our students, many of whom are atheists, Hindu, or Muslim, have come to understand Jesus better and better as they read and discuss scripture with us week by week.  Encountering Jesus more and more over time, they are gaining a clearer picture of Jesus’s love for them.  I have seen them moved by His mercy and power.  I believe Jesus is drawing these students to Himself through our weekly Table Talk discussions and through their participation in Christian community.  

One moment that greatly encouraged me occurred during a car ride after one of RUFI’s fellowship events.  In preparation for this event, I had borrowed a large van from one of the families in our church. Before the event, I drove from place to place and picked up seven students from their respective residences to provide them with a ride to and from the event.  One of the students that I picked up had never come to an RUFI event before.  She was an Indian girl and seemed somewhat shy during the ride to the event.  I did not get to talk with her much during the event because there were many students present.  

After the event, as we began to walk back to the van I was worried that she may have felt left out since she did not know many people when we arrived and was clearly introverted.  I was mentally kicking myself for not doing a better job of introducing her to people at the event but then, even as I was thinking these things, I saw her walk out of the house towards the car engaged in an animated conversation with two other Indian students.  As all seven students piled back into the van, I overheard the conversation between these three.  The two others were also Indian students, but unlike this new student, they had already been coming to RUFI consistently for half a semester.  

The newer student expressed enthusiastically that she had really enjoyed the event.  She said that she could not believe that she had only just now found this community and wished that she had done so sooner.  The other two girls agreed strongly and then began to eagerly invite her to start coming to our weekly Table Talk meetings on Tuesdays.  Both told her that the community and friendships that they had made in RUFI had really sustained them throughout the semester.  They even went so far as to say that our weekly Table Talk meetings are the high point of their week.  

For context, neither of the two students doing the inviting are Christians yet, (although I am praying for that to change), and yet they were excitedly inviting a third non Christian student to come to a weekly Bible discussion! The gospel is shared in every Table Talk, sometimes multiple times.  I was amazed and very encouraged to hear these two students who I have gotten to know well over the course of the semester ardently tell another student that she needs to be a part of this community and come to our Bible discussions.  This was such a great reminder to me that the way we welcome and care for these students is the main thing that lends credibility to our evangelism.  Love is our strongest apologetic for the gospel.  As Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  The apostle Paul reiterated this same emphasis when he said that without love we are only “a clanging cymbal” and “gain nothing”. (1 Cor 13:1,3) 

Jesus is drawing these students to Himself through their engagement in Christ centered community.  Our goal is to love these students so well that they are amazed and cannot find any other explanation than that Jesus’s people are imitators of Him.  “We love because He first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19).  Please pray that these students would continue coming to Table Talk and that they would continue to grow in knowing our King Jesus more and more deeply through their interaction with His word and His people.  I desire with all my heart to see these students saved from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of our Savior, God’s beloved Son, Jesus the King. (Col 1:13). 

Colossians 1:13 ~ He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.

One of our volunteers shares the true meaning of Christmas with our students at the Christmas party.
A triumphant picture from our white elephant gift exchange!

Final Table Talk

I am particularly excited to tell you about the final Table Talk of the semester.  This was in the midst of finals and we did not know if any students would even come at all.  However, we unexpectedly did have five or six students come.  All were non-Christians, but providentially the smaller group size helped the conversation flow more easily.  On top of this, all our time spent with these students week after week, talking with them and getting to know their stories, certainly also contributed to what happened next.  

After sharing a meal and a great time of fellowship we transitioned to reading and discussing a passage of scripture together.  The previous week we had read one of the gospel accounts of Jesus’s crucifixion, and this final week we looked at John 20:24-28 where the resurrected Jesus appears to doubting Thomas.  

The Holy Spirit was very clearly present in the conversation prompting questions and softening hearts because as we began to ask questions of our students about what they had read, it was clear that they were moved.  Our discussion ranged widely and we talked about the eyewitness testimony of the apostles, the Trinity, and the importance of faith, among other things.  One of the students, a young man who is by nature analytical and skeptical, said that he identified strongly with Thomas.  He asked more questions than he normally does and his demeanor was noticeably more receptive. 

One really beautiful moment occurred as we discussed belief in resurrection.  In response to this, one young woman asked with genuine longing in her voice, “Do you really believe that?”  She continued in a tone of wistfulness, “That is really hard for me to believe.  Do you really believe in resurrection?”  In response we got to share our confident belief that, “Yes we do believe that.”  We shared our confidence that Jesus is our champion and that He has really defeated death on our behalf.  

Through His atoning death and His powerful resurrection, Jesus has overwhelmed death with life.  Those who place their trust in Him will certainly be forgiven of their sins and they will be resurrected by Him, to live with Him, eternally in Heaven.  

From my recollection, the gospel was shared explicitly at least five times in answer to students’ questions throughout the course of the night.  The students in attendance were very attentive and asked very genuine questions sharing about their own doubts and struggles.  What stood out to me most was the universal tone of receptiveness and even in individual cases, “longing” for the gospel message.  I really believe that Jesus is drawing these students towards Himself.  This final Table Talk was definitely the best one of the entire semester.

Thank You

You are an invaluable part of facilitating these gospel conversations and relationships.   God is honored by your generous support and He is using it.  Jesus is using us to draw students from all over the world to Himself that their souls might be saved and that their joy might be complete.  Jesus is working through us, His body, to save the nations from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of light.  He is saving the nations. 

Come Lord Jesus!  Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

For the King,

Joshua Coleman

Give
Your gifts play a vital role in helping us to share the good news of Jesus Christ with students coming from all over the world through gospel deeds and gospel words. Please help us to continue welcoming the nations at Texas A&M through our 21/22 school year.

If you would like to partner with me financially, please click the GIVE button below to make a contribution to "Joshua Coleman" on the RUF-I donation page. If you would like to give by check, please write "RUF-I Joshua Coleman" or "account #1872" in the memo line and send checks to:

Reformed University Fellowship

P.O. Box 890004

Charlotte, NC 28289-0004

RUF is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.


May the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all,
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