I taught Mark I (the first half of the gospel of Mark) and my former staff from IVSLO came and taught Mark II. It being my second time teaching Mark I, I was so impressed with this group of students for their deep desire to study the word. They engaged with some really difficult texts and sought to see more of who Jesus was during this week. It was an amazing and full week.
Now that we've been home a couple of weeks and have settled back into school and work routines, I asked my students to share with me (and you) there stories of how Spring Con 2015 impacted them. It was great to hear how many of them are still wrestling with what God challenged them in while they were studying the gospel of Mark.
Here are stories from our Mark I class. They began with Jesus' baptism and ended with Peter declaring Jesus is the Christ.
"Spring Con for me provided one of the most intimate experiences I ever had with Jesus. As we dug through the scriptures he revealed himself and his character to me constantly. One of the things that stuck with me is how much God cares for us to understand what he is about, in not just an intellectual way but in a way that screams intimacy and personal relationships. He just wants us to be able to recognize his goodness during the storms of our lives and when we miss things we are supposed to learn, he is not too busy to repeat the whole process again just like he did with the disciples until we can clearly see what is he is trying to teach us." - Umu (sophomore)
"Spring Con helped me see how Jesus moved and how he ministered to his disciples and people of all backgrounds. I feel so much closer to God now, and I am inspired to do more in His name." - David (senior)
"Growing up in the church, I was raised knowing who Jesus was, but it wasn't until Spring Con that I realized that I knew about Jesus, but I didn't know him. Mark I ignited a longing to seek Jesus that I didn't know I had. Therefore, I can honestly say that Mark I is a turning point in my life. My outlook on being a follower of Jesus has forever been changed." - Karla (freshman)
"I have begun my understanding and delve into the life of Jesus starting from the baptism of Jesus. I couldn't say that I understood Jesus yet since I only scratched the surface of his teachings but I gained insight into his method of teaching through not only his words, but also through his healing of people with all kinds of ailments." - Armand (Junior)
"God wants you to understand. When a prayer does not get answered soon, a reason could be that we have not understood what God's purpose is for our lives. Waiting and finding that purpose could be a frustration, but God is always by our side, opening new ways to find it. If we seek, we will find. god works at his time, and we just need to learn to be patient and have faith." - Miguel (sophomore)
"Like the bleeding woman, Jesus took me back to my childhood to heal me from my past." - Angel (junior)
"There is a difference between belief and faith. It is not enough to just believe. What will you do with your beliefs? You must walk in faith, even when you don't believe." - Corey (senior)
I also asked our Mark II students (since I had many of them in Mark I last year). They began with Jesus calling us to deny our selves, take up our cross, and follow up him and ended with Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.
"Spring Con was life changing. My relationship with God was powerfully challenged after witnessing his love and presence in my life through the manuscript study." - Jonathan (sophomore)
"It's never been any question about how much Jesus love us, but hearing in detail what he wen through on the cross really gave me a new perspective. That's what impacted me the most on the trip. God really opened my eyes to how much love and compassion and grace that He has for us." - Perri (sophomore)
"I definitely experience a realization that art can speak volumes and that God uses art to reach out to people in different was. I was so touched to hear from people that when I would draw images that came to mind about scripture and Jesus that it touched them on a deeper level. And hearing those affirmations from people I could see that artwork brings his people closer to him." - Joanna (senior)
"Mark II made me aware of how undeserving I am, and that everything I have is a gift. To reciprocate this gift, God showed me I need to begin giving more sacrificially to him. Jesus asks people multiple times to follow him in difficult capacities, which opened up my eyes to what he may ask me to do in the future. I felt holes in my knowledge of the context of Jesus' coming to Earth - why he came and at that time - be filled; I feel like I now I have a solid foundational knowledge God can now further build upon." - Sean (sophomore)
Here are some of the pictures from Spring Con. There were a lot from the week but I chose some that highlighted the craziness of that week.
Our Mark 1 room for the whole week. We loved being the boat house!
Going snorkeling was a highlight for many of our students who had never been.
After an intense basketball game
Students prepare to walk up the cross.
Abby, Perri, and Jessica are all a part of the Frosh/Soph small group.
Miguel and Raquel
22 students went through the first half of the gospel of Mark. They were all so engaged in the word and bonded as a community.
Students prepare to hike several miles around camp.
Luis, Kaylon, Abby, and Karla
The Mark 1 class frequently asked us questions during free time and break time.
Jessica, Angel, Jeremy, and Abby
The island is beautiful.
Kelcey, Angel, Umu, and Karla
This was my second time teaching Mark 1 and this year I co-taught with one of my graduating seniors, Jenel.
Our Mark group also enjoys joking around with each other.
We read the parable of the 4 Soils to them by the sea, as Jesus did.
Our Mark 1 class.
Our Mark 2 students.
All of CSUN! There were 32 students total this year!
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing on your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen."
"Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."