Ever wonder what the Navigators are up to in your community? One of the many ways we are involved is through discipling the students at Universities and Colleges in 13 cities across Canada. As the school year comes to a close for students, we wanted to look back and celebrate what God has been doing on campus with our students, interns and leaders. Here’s a look-back at some of the highlights from this past year:
Queen’s University, with Dan McIver
Throughout the year we have seen many encouraging signs of transformation. One pleasant surprise this term was the opportunity to do chapel services with the Queen’s hockey team. Five or six guys, including the captain and star goalie, came out regularly to engage with the Gospel. Another was the success of the Running and Read (a program of Start to Finish where mentors meet with elementary school children to develop their reading competencies and health) at Frontenac Public School. One of the goals of the Kingston Navigators is to be involved with underprivileged people and kids and helping where we can. One of the initiatives we are involved with is the Run and read program to help reach this broader goal. It has been a joy to see our Navigator intern Peter Sheahan take on the tough task of volunteering to direct the program in Kingston and it’s volunteers. It has been a great year with record-breaking numbers of volunteers and kids.
The Queen’s athletic and student life centres are ground zero for my presence on campus. Pete, Curtis and I gather weekly to plan and pray for the students we are involved with. Curtis is a leader of the football team and Pete is well-respected by his peers and the undergrads he works with through our Mission Immersion project. Partnering with these two guys has been my highlight of the term. In all of these places and spaces we need God and people to show up. We can’t do transformational work in the lives of people, only God can.
The Hamilton Navigators, with Don Corry
Jeff came to campus as a first year student and varsity volleyball player from B.C. Within the first week he had met up with me and we continued to meet throughout the year. He was one of several first year students who found their way into our community.
We have had a number of events this year, and seen significant growth. In October we had an excellent one-day conference in London on Embracing Anxiety and Fear with Ron Pagé. The winter term began with a focus on our Veritas Forum outreach. We invited Shelley Lubben, a former porn star, to give insights on the damage porn does to the actors as well as our society. Our weekly student Compass meetings have been focused around the Sermon on the Mount. We are seeing healthy growth as students relate to one another and as they meet individually with mature mentors.
Calgary Navigators, with Rick McCallum
Last April, five young people were tragically murdered in the community of Brentwood across the street from the U of C. In September, a 23-year-old Southern Alberta Institute of Technology student named Kadin bought the house where the murders happened. Recently Kadin spoke to our Navigator group telling us of his strong faith in the power of redemption, and how the Lord led him to buy that house. Kadin felt he was a very unlikely candidate to be asked by the Lord to step out and purchase the murder house, so he told us all that God must have some special plans for the house and must have a special interest and concern for the people of this city to ask him to buy it. Kadin felt strongly the Lord led him to do that.
On Wednesday mornings Hudson, a masters of education student whom I help disciple, and I grab a coffee in MacHall and share what we’re learning in our Bible study and devotional times. Helping students establish the conviction for a daily time in the Scriptures is an important part of our discipleship strategy.
Ottawa Navigators, with Brenda Wang
In Ottawa, the Running and Reading program has been largely led by Navigator students and staff. We are intentional about inviting our neighbours and friends to volunteer, regardless of where they are in their faith. Real and genuine conversations occur on the car rides to and from the school. Some want to know, “What are the Navigators?” which allows Navigator students the opportunity to invite them to large group meetings to hear and discuss the Bible. At these large group meetings, which can look like a Dinner and Discussion (students meet for a meal and to discuss a topic surrounding Christianity) or a multi-faith CRAE event (an open and respectful event where all are welcome to discuss real-world topics), friendships are formed and people are welcomed. We hear comments about the warm and inviting nature of the community. Local Christian leaders speak on various topics, using Scripture to help shape the lives of young leaders. Staff, interns, volunteers and senior students come alongside individuals who are younger in their faith and help them to experience Jesus in deeper and more real ways.
Vancouver Navigators, with Richie Speidel
This year we are celebrating and honouring the 15 Navigators students who are graduating. At a graduation party Veteran Navigator Bill Lee challenged them to pursue their dreams but always under the umbrella of making disciples. He assured them God would provide as they kept this an important priority.
Last summer I was contacted by Michael and Amy Weidman who expressed interest in coming to work among the Navigator international students. This is good timing as our current intern Andreas, who has made a valuable leadership contribution these past years, is moving on to begin a graduate management program. We welcome the Weidmans to the team in Vancouver.
Our new student president Julia will be involved for 2 months in our Global Student Program and will benefit greatly from exposure to believers from around the world. An encouraging number of first and second year students have joined our new executive team for the fall, and two of our international students have expressed interest in helping the Weidmans get off to a good start at UBC. We are already looking forward to next year.