If I could give any piece of advice to an incoming college student, it would be to become rooted in what makes you flourish. College is a particularly scary time where you make your own choices and take the paths you wish to pursue. It is so important to find a community of people that will uplift you and encourage you to become a better person, and to walk closer with Jesus (*cough* FUSE *cough*).
For me, college was about getting an education, finding who I was truly supposed to become, and deciding who I was going to be surrounded by. Church was something I grew up in, but I’d given up on it in high school and wasn’t planning on adding it back to my life in college. Getting to ECU, I got rooted into a lot of worldly things that pleased and fulfilled me in the moment, but always left me running dry and empty the next day.
I started regularly going to FUSE the spring semester of my freshman year and I absolutely loved it! I had never worshiped Jesus like I began to in college. In FUSE you are surrounded by people your age, who are on fire for Jesus. Not only in Mendenhall on a Tuesday night, but also during all throughout the week in the form of small groups. After a couple weeks of attending FUSE I signed up for a small group and that’s where the change in my heart began. I was given a Bible and began studying it with around ten girls each week. It sparked a flame in my faith and I wanted to know more.
As a month or so passed, my small group leader encouraged all of us to go on Spring Retreat. This turned out to be one of the best weekends of my life. I only knew four people that first Friday afternoon of the retreat, but by the end of the weekend I had made tons of new friends! I can remember how welcoming everyone was, seeing God’s love radiating at every encounter.
During the last night of retreat, a sermon/testimony was given that matched up with parts of my own life, talking about how we try to fit worldly things (pride, partying, fill in the blank ___) in the God-shaped holes in our hearts, but they never truly fit. The speaker also mentioned that even when we run away from God, He nevertheless has His arms wide open, ready for us to run back home to Him. After getting teary-eyed, a girl sitting a row in front of me noticed me and squatted next to my seat, hugging and holding onto me for the rest of the sermon (I have to admit that this is where the teary-eyes turned into sobs). Eventually, people from all sides of me began to pray with me. I had never quite received that kind of Godly love before, and I realized that was exactly what I wanted and wanted to share with others as well. I didn’t want to be just a good person anymore; I wanted to be a Godly person. I was finally willing to give up what was holding me back from fully digging into God.
I rededicated my life to Christ that night. I willingly gave a short testimony and told my decision at my small group that week, and my small group leader helped and encouraged me to publicly declare my recommitment by getting re-baptized, at Ignite Church a few weeks later.
That following summer and sophomore year was a constant battle of Jesus vs. the world. For everyone including myself, that battle will always be there. However, don’t become rooted in a world that can’t fully deliver on its promises. Jesus won’t ever let you run dry as you root into Him and FUSE is an amazing place to find and get to know Jesus more. Jesus is ready for you today so don’t think you are ever too far off or too late to get to know Him more!
FUSE has always been so welcoming to everyone that walks through their doors. From the energetic greeting team, to the moving worship and relatable sermons, it is something my friends and I look forward to each and every week. Also on every other night during the week, FUSE has many small groups that help make the big college ministry feel more small and intimate. Small groups are where you meet each week with other guys and girls and learn more about Jesus, the Bible, and each other. They are an amazing community of people that pray for you and want to walk with you in your life and faith. I 10/10 recommend and maybe you’ll even find your future roommates and/or best friends like I did! Root into Christ, join FUSE, and watch your heart, life, and walk with Jesus flourish.
– Ashley Walters
“Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:17-20