Members of the Rolla Church erupted in celebration during a recent worship service as they learned the church’s request for a $10,000 North American Division Compassion Ministry Grant was approved.
The grant, which will allow the church to officially launch an Adventist Christian Fellowship (ACF) chapter on the campus of Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), is just the next step in the church’s long history of ministry to college students. For many years, Missouri S&T students have been invited to church services and events, and members have welcomed them into their homes for Sabbath meals and other gatherings. In 2015, John Rodhouse, then a Missouri S&T Aerospace Engineering student, approached the church board with a desire to host regular Friday and Saturday evening gatherings. He just needed a meeting space, so church members Ray and Sandy Diaz graciously offered up their home.
As the students gathered together, it became apparent they held similar interests, desires and values. Friendships developed through a diversity of activities such as Bible studies, game nights, canoeing, bowling, hiking, and caving. Since its fledgling start four years ago, the group has grown to include not only students from all over the U.S. but Botswana, Iran, Ecuador and China, as well.
“Getting together during weekends has changed my routine,” said one International doctoral student. “They provided me not only food, but also companionship.” He shared how lonely he had felt being away from home before joining the group and encourages incoming students is to get involved as soon as they arrive.
The objectives of ACF at Missouri S&T will be to 1) bring together people from all walks of life who are interested in better understanding Adventist core beliefs as taught from Scripture, and 2) to facilitate outreach and service events to minister to other students on campus and the wider Rolla community.
More than 75 percent of Adventist young adults in the NAD complete their tertiary education outside of the Adventist school system. Because Missouri S&T has an excellent reputation in engineering, many Adventist students enroll there each year. The Rolla Church’s desire is to provide an outlet for healthy social interaction, spiritual support, and a sense of community among these students. The NAD Compassion Grant is provided to transform communities with acts of service and outreach. The Rolla Church believes that this student community will impact the larger Rolla community by being “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth” that Jesus calls us to be.