A group of college students meet twice a month at the University of Maryland (UMD) to share the Adventist faith with those who are curious, connect with Adventist students who many not have a church to attend and to study the Bible together. Adventist Student Fellowship (ASF) is a university-recognized Bible study group that holds a steady membership of more than 20 students. By staying true to their beliefs and sharing their faith with friends and professors, members desire to be like Daniel and shine their lights on a secular campus. Every year, the members of ASF organize a church service on campus called Sabbath Fellowship.
Written by Leena Daniel, University of Maryland junior | Pictures by University of Maryland alum Kwame Abrah
Last semester’s Sabbath Fellowship, To Every Nation, took place on December 3 and was a compilation of what the students had been studying. Sabbath Fellowship is no ordinary church service. Held in a classroom with desks, chairs and a blackboard, the service is conducted by UMD students once a semester. From special music to teaching Sabbath School, the members of ASF are fully involved in this full-day event that includes a worship service, potluck and outreach project.
Pastor Josant Barrientos, director of the youth ministries department for the Potomac Conference Corporation, provided the message for this semester’s service. He shared the story of Nebuchadnezzar and how God had instrumentally used a heathen Babylonian king, as long as he remained humble and in the hand of God. Using a pen as an illustration, Barrientos described how God can use young people to write His message to the world. Just as we use many different types of pens, God can use everyone, with their different talents.
After the service, guests and members alike took part in a potluck provided by the ASF members. Members donated items that culminated in what is known as an ageless Adventist classic: haystacks. Potluck is the perfect opportunity for new ASF members to meet alumni and to fellowship with guests from neighboring churches and campuses like Johns Hopkins University.
With new friends and old faces, the group took time to practice what the students had learned all semester. Small groups set out to different parts of the campus with unique goals. One group sang songs and passed out tracts to people. Other groups passed out care packages and encouraged fellow students to do well on their final exams. Though some rejected the free gifts, the majority of students were happy to receive the small tokens that ASF members had packaged the night before.
The busy day ended with sundown worship and many shared their outreach experiences. The group wrote down prayer requests and shared testimonies about what God had done for them during the week. Everyone agreed that the day was a wonderful blessing from God! The 40 or so people in attendance were able to distribute 200 packages—a feat only accomplished through God’s power. The group is praying that the seeds they have sown will blossom into full-fledged members next semester and that God’s presence on campus will continue to grow.