"Who Me?" God Uses Victoria Popa on Campus
Victoria is a 3rd year Human Services (majoring in Child and Family and Child Protection) student at the Logan campus of Griffith University in Australia.
When Victoria walked onto her campus in her first year, her first priority was finding other Christians. Her church had loved and nurtured her and she had revelled in God's presence as she experienced it among God's people. When she started her degree, it was with a sense that she could continue this with others on campus. There was just one problem: there was no Christian group on her campus. Victoria spent her first year yearning for Christian campus support.
Then at the beginning of her second year, she spotted two Student Life workers, Andrew and Scott, discussing spiritual issues with students, gauging their interest. Victoria rushed up to meet them, and was thrilled to discover that they were trying to start a Student Life group on her campus.
"Hey wow!" Victoria said to herself, "there are actually Christians on campus! It feels like God is here on campus, because God's people are getting together. I loved it!"
Scott explained to Victoria that he was looking for a key student to get a group going. At first, Victoria thought, "Me? A leader? Never!" But she could see the pressing need, so she summoned her internal resources and took on the challenge. "Even if I meet with a couple of people a week and pray with them, that's huge," she said to herself.
Perhaps Victoria underrated how God might use her, as her ministry has developed far beyond her expectations. While she has had some disappointments running meetings to which no one shows up, right now, she has a core group of about 13 students active in leading other students to Christ and learning to disciple others. A keen evangelist herself, Victoria often has spiritual conversations, even when she isn't looking for them.
"I sit in the café having a coffee," she says, "Then I meet someone who sees me and starts talking to me, when I'm not even wearing my Student Life t-shirt, and they want to get involved! I can see that it's God doing that."
This semester, Victoria has taken 3 students through Christianity Explained (CE) courses, and reports that she has the exciting problem of having more people wanting to learn about Christianity than Christians able to teach CE.
Being active in campus ministry has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on Victoria herself. "I learn more through Student Life than I do in my degree," she says. "I will take these skills to my future career and church home group. It's like going to ministry college without having to do all the theory. Spiritually, I have grown so much in God through this ministry. It's strengthened me as a person, and I now have the tools to speak to others about my faith."
Victoria reports that her time management and even her grades have improved since her involvement with Student Life.
Even after she graduates, Victoria plans to keep her hand in ministry. "When I come back to the city, if I get a day off work, I'll go and visit a university and do something," she grins. But best of all, her 3 years on campus have prepared her for a lifetime of service to God. Victoria plans to use her campus ministry skills to share the love of God with rural women she'll be working among. And Victoria can graduate happy in the knowledge that her ministry will continue beyond her.
"It is looking like we will have at least 4 committed leaders next year," she thrills, "compared to the none 3 years ago." Victoria's legacy is that when new first years now arrive at Griffith Logan, they'll have a thriving little Christian campus community in which to grow.