Tian (right) and Rick Mast, a Resonate campus minister at the University of Alberta. Rick discipled Tian this year and she's been an important leader for the campus ministry!

“I’ve learned a lot this year about being a Christian on a university campus where most of my friends don’t believe in God,” said Tian, a student at the University of Alberta. With your support, Tian stepped up as a strong Christian leader on her campus.

A Loss for Words

Tian grew up surrounded by a community of strong, supportive believers. For that, she is thankful—but when she got to university, her faith was challenged. Most of her classmates and friends weren’t religious.

“I suddenly became shy about expressing my faith or even talking about religion at all, even if people asked. I just didn’t know what to say and I didn’t want people to judge me for it,” said Tian.

But then Tian met Rick Mast, your partner campus minister at the University of Alberta.

A Divine Encounter

Twice a week, Rick set up a table in the residence hall where Tian lived and chatted with students who passed by. Sometimes, they’d talk for hours. Rick brought board games. He helped students assemble furniture. He invited students to chat over coffee.

“I just found [Rick] to be a really open-minded person who was both super knowledgeable with theology and the Bible and also cared deeply about everyone around him,” said Tian. “Conversations turned into coffee, which turned into meals and retreats and now mentorship.”

A Gift from God

Noticing Tian’s passion for faith and gift for connecting with people, Rick encouraged Tian to to step into campus ministry leadership. You helped make that possible through a Resonate Emerging Leader grant. Mentored by Rick throughout the year, the leadership experience empowered Tian to use her gifts to help shape the campus ministry and minister with students.

“Tian has been a gift from God,” said Rick. “She is devout [and] is continually interested in deepening her faith.”

A Passion for Sharing Faith

Tian said she learned a lot about living out her faith and sharing it with others.

“University was the first time I’ve ever been around people where it’s not ‘normal’ or accepted to believe in God—or any god, for that matter! Especially among people my age, religion or spirituality just isn’t something people want to talk about or discuss, to the point that it’s a little taboo,” said Tian. “But I really think that’s a sad thing, so it’s important for me to have the words and space to talk about faith for anyone who’ll listen, as well as hear what they have to say.”

Thank you for supporting campus ministry and raising up student leaders like Tian! Your support provides a space where students can ask tough questions, grow in faith, and step into leadership.

“As a Christian, God calls us to lead a life worthy of our calling, following the perfect example of Jesus,” said Tian. “That means showing God’s love and grace in every part of our lives, something I’ve really taken to heart this year.”

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Christian Reformed Chaplaincy - University of Alberta