Powerful Impact: CIU Focuses on the Gospel through Suffering during World Christian Week
By Joseph Knight
CIU Student Writer
The 2018 World Christian Week challenged CIU students to reflect on the power of Christ through suffering with the theme: “The Gospel through Suffering.” World Christian Week celebrates CIU’s core value of World Evangelization.
Activities for students, faculty, and visiting missionaries included daily chapels, evening events, a mission organization fair in the Rossi Student Center, and a Prayer Day. Henri Aoun, keynote speaker for the week, delivered messages on “The Suffering Self,” “Ministering to the Suffering,” and “Walking with the Suffering Church.” Aoun leads the ministry LifeAgape (Cru) for North Africa and the Middle East. He challenged listeners that “everyone who desires to walk with Jesus will be persecuted” and that “the world’s calamities are God’s opportunities.”
Students across campus were moved by the theme of the week and took advantage of interacting with representatives at the organization fair. Senior Mark Gossage, a Business & Organizational Leadership major from Concord, North Carolina, benefitted from speaking with Christar ambassadors Andy and Quinn Webb. They inspired Gossage on a personal level to live a missional life, even if God’s plan for him does not include moving overseas. Sam Norris, an Intercultural Studies major graduating in April, said the focus on the suffering of believers worldwide brought him back to the beauty of the incarnation and suffering of Christ.
Thursday’s Prayer Day concluded the week with times of worship, reflection, and Scripture reading. Testimonies throughout the day connected suffering to the CIU community on a personal level. During the morning session, Senior Hannah Carol narrated her moving story about her battle with ulcerative colitis and how the Lord healed her through an intervening surgery to remove her colon. CIU professor of Intercultural Studies Dr. David Cashin spoke about his riveting experiences as a missionary in Southeast Asia when he was personally persecuted for his faith. Assistant Professor of Ministry Care Dr. Steven Johnson gave his testimony of how he was lovingly brought to Christ through academic colleagues.
World Christian Week is organized by a council of students called “HUB,” led by Dr. Ed Smither, dean of the College of Intercultural Studies. Vitoria Costa, a key student organizer on this year’s HUB, said hours of thought and prayer go into organizing World Christian Week every year.
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