For years, what is now called our "GO Trips" was an event called SEMP (Students Equipped to Minister to Peers). The event was an evangelism training experience that would prepare and enable students to better share their relationship with Christ to their friends and families back home.
A significant "take home" moment from SEMP (and one we still do with our GO trips) is when we have students write a letter to 2-4 of their spiritually lost or struggling friends back home. Students are coached not to make this a "repent or burn in hell" letter, but instead one where they seek to open up a window to return home and continue a conversation. Students are encouraged to be very honest in their intent if they feel their friend or family member is ready to hear from them.So, all that explanation to share this message I received from a student who went to SEMP in 2004. I have changed the names...
...I wrote my letter to two of my friends, Jessie and Erin. When I came home after sending the letters I kept in touch with Jessie but didn't hear much from her about the letter, at least not productive things and Erin and I kinda drifted. We stayed friendly and nothing was really ever said about the letter I sent her. After freshmen year we all groew and choose different ways to spend our time and who we choose to hang out with. Jessie was wrapped up in a boyfriend and Erin went down the path of partying, drugs, sex, etc. I still hung out with them very randomly if we happened to get closer or see more of each if we were in the same class together for a semester or two, but then it quickly faded because it was more of a surface relationship. ANYWAYS- haven't really talked to Erin since I've graduated, but stayed connected with Jessie. Yesterday I got this message from Erin (the reason for this whole message) here it is:Anne,There it is :) I smiled when I read the part about wanting to throw the letter away, but keeping it by her bed. How awesome is God to keep that letter she thought she hated, so close to her while she slept at night after all these year. Praise God! Thanks for listening to this and letting me share some of the joy in my heart :)
How are you love? I was thinking of you the other day and thinkin of the letter you wrote me years ago about how you want me to be closer to God and how you would always be there for me. I remember wanting to throw the letter away and forget it, but i kept it by my bed. you'll never know how much that impacted me, and how much you've impacted me! I love you so much you have always been there for me. I don't know where you are right now but I would love it if you and I could get together and just catch up. I would love to tell you about the awesome thigs God's done for me and I would love to hear what you've been up to and how he's been blessing your life! I love you so much dear! You're so gorgeous inside and out....Erin