Regional Retreat for Indiana Ohio
The September 17, one-day, Indiana Ohio Student Retreat wrapped up well this last weekend.
Students from Indiana and Ohio universities heard presentations on origins, tolerance, and what it means to be 'human' from three different Ratio Christi staff. There was time for respondents after each presentation in the morning, an introductory mixer for meeting new friends and discussion tables with topic 'tents' for the three sessions. And a table for Larry Baxter for students curious about utilizing their faculty advisers better and ministry to faculty more widely.
After lunch we were taken on a tour of the rough neighborhood called 'the Avenue' by Pastor Tom Camp (Jeremy Camp's father) who pastors there with Harvest Chapel. Tom shared about the racist history of the Ave, the topless bar, drugs, dropouts, and crime and how he himself was part of that scene before trusting Christ. Neighbors on the Avenue now have vedgetable gardens, sheds they've build for storage, a 'sharing shed' for sharing resources, bicycle repair for children, the topless bar is now a Christian coffeeshop called 'Sacred Grounds - ReClaimed', members of Harvest have moved into the Ave with a family mission house, the church that had KKK carved into the door is now a 'Crossing' alternative Christian high school, tutoring and a midweek meal takes place where our retreat took place, and Habitat for Humanity and several other evangelical church leaders have a multi ethnic prayer meeting first from the upper room of the coffeeshop where you can see answers to pray at specific transformed properties, and now at the Junction House where the Retreat was held.
Students, faculty, and staff took an afternoon break to visit some of the grassy fountain malls at Purdue's main campus and some ran through the fountains.
A highlight for many was seeing a video interview of Michael Back who was a student leader losing his faith in a theology class in a liberal arts college in Wisconsin in the early 1980s. The video interview tells how a staff worker apologist shared the 2nd volume of 'Evidence that Demands a Verdict' with him. The staff and student leader had not seen nor heard from each other in over 36 years. But that sharing of a stategic apologetics resource, Michael credits as saving his faith from shipwreck, leading to his marrying his Christian wife, raising Christian children most of whom are in full time ministry. And how he viewed it as critical in launching him into full time apologetics Christian ministry affecting the lives and living faith of thousands globally. At the end of the short video (viewable here) the Indiana Ohio shared how a Ratio Christi ministry partner had viewed the video and been inspired to take action. The partner sent the Regional Director a heavy box of ten hardcopy books with both volumes one and two of 'Evidence that Demands a Verdict' to share with Ratio Christi leaders who may become future 'Michael Backs'. Five of those leaders were presented with those books at the Retreat. See photo.
We also enjoyed a bit of an apologetics themed 'Talent Show' with some illusions that illustrate, a caricature artist, a monologue on reaching students who are LDS or Jehovah Witnesses, and some crazy stand-up jokes and a couple apologia themed songs to the tune of 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'. Reports back from students, faculty and staff have all been quite encouraging. And now it is full steam ahead recruitment for our International Ratio Christi Retreat in mid October in the beautiful State of North Carolina.
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