Trick or Treat With a Twist

West Virginia students surprise classmates by offering them candy and prayer.

  • by Nick DeCola
Photo courtesy Gerhard Esterhuizen

On a rainy October night, armed with bags of candy, 35 students from Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., took to the streets.

Turning tradition on its head, the students visited dozens of apartments near the campus, engaging in what they call "Reverse Trick or Treating." 

Spearheaded by Cru, they sought to surprise their classmates with the love and message of Christ.

"We catch people off guard in a really cool way," says Erin Lynd, a senior involved with Cru at Marshall.

"We give people candy and offer to pray for them," says Nate Stansberry, organizer of the event. 

Often such expressions led to spiritual conversations and friendships that reach far beyond West Virginia. Nate recalls one such story:

He and a friend silently prayed and knocked on an apartment door.  Hearing a voice, they slowly entered and peered across the darkened room.

A solitary figure sat working on his computer.  The graduate student from East Asia explained in halting English that he had recently arrived in the United States. 

He was greatly intrigued by what Nate and his friend were doing.

Nate responded to his questions about America and Christianity and patiently explained the gospel.  But their encounter was more than just a one-night event.

The next semester Nate and his graduate student friend had a class together.  Nate invited him to be a part of a study group and drove him home after class.

Mixing a few students, bags of candy and a willing faith helped reach the world that night.