This post is the first half of our September 2012 Gospel Tales prayer letter.
Passionate about seeing God’s mission fulfilled at his school, Gerald (right) has taken on the student president role at NJCU. Although now he shows great conviction for the lost and deep love for Jesus, his story does not begin there.
“As a preacher’s kid,” Gerald explained, “I was dragged against my will every Sunday morning for both Sunday school and the weekly service. As I got older, this became a routine for me and a practice just to satisfy my parents and my obligation.”
In high school, Gerald strayed further from his family’s faith because of the hypocrisy he witnessed in his church.
“At the end of my senior year in high school my faith took a deeper turn for the worst as I continued to wrestle with believing that Christ was for me or that I needed him in my life. That summer, before entering [college] I was on Facebook trying to get connected with clubs on campus.
“Somehow, I ended up on the Cru page. Still struggling, something in my heart told me to contact the person in charge. At the time Joey Sforza opened his arms to me and welcomed me in as if I had known him for years. He invited me to his first meeting, which allowed me to experience warm and embracing believers who cared about my lack of faith and wanted to invest time into me.”
Gerald continued to join our studies and activities but as a self-classified agnostic. He enjoyed our friendship but certain classes, like philosophy, caused doubt in his heart. The Holy Spirit was not done lovingly pursuing Gerald and at Jersey Cru (our monthly gathering for students from across the state) Gerald finally surrendered.
“I didn’t know what to expect, and was nervous but I went,” Gerald said, adding, “There I was: exposed to a foreign worship style. I had never seen anyone praise God in such an expressive and sincere way. As the meeting closed, the praise team sung a truly convicting song called, “How HE Loves Us.” A couple minutes into the song I felt a presence inside of me that was never there before. I started to pray for the first time in a while and asked God to follow him. After that prayer a weight lifted off my heart and I began to worship him in song for the first time.”
Jesus both saves unbelievers and transforms believers. His gospel is not just the doorway to salvation but the pathway to sanctification and relationship. We don’t simply start with grace and continue with works. We (Joey and Jenn!) are so thrilled that Gerald is one solid disciple of Christ! He is madly in love with his Savior and we got to (and get to!) be a part of his story.