Okay, so I got hooked up with a group on campus called Intervarsity. They're definitely pretty much awesome.
The event they are hosting this week (Monday all the way through Friday) is called Impact 1, and it is about AIDS in Africa, specifically the children that are orphaned and/or infected by HIV. The basic gist is that we have a tent that you go through, following the life of one of three children. As you go through, you are guided by an MP3 player and really get an intense image of what life is like for them. I went through one of the tracks today... I'll hit the rest tomorrow.
To say the least, it was intense. It's definitely hard to express. If you're here at SLO, go check it out on Dexter Lawn.
I'm signed up to help out with it - specifically, the response team. Response team is invite-only (my small group leader invited me) and our job is to talk with people afterward about the experience.
Yesterday was our response team training (8 hours... by the halfway point it was starting to sound like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL_-1d9OSdk ) Basically, we're supposed to talk about the spiritual, emotional, and practical aspects of things. The general script is we start out talking about emotions, then talk about the spiritual side of things (what does God think about this?), try to share the gospel, and then talk about practical ways to try to help out.
Throughout the time, I kept thinking to myself, "Is this really what we want to do?" I spoke to other people there, and pretty much everyone agreed with me: the script is stupid. I kept having flashbacks to Blue Like Jazz, a book that definitely questions your thinking, and about what the author of that book said about this: people won't listen to you until they believe that you genuinely care (love) about them. And that is most definitely true.
So here's what I'm going to be there to do: talk about the AIDS crisis in Africa. Talk about what we could do to change it. If they're open, I'll talk about what God has to say about it - about how we, as God's people, are responsible for doing God's work in this world. We are his hands and feet, not a bullhorn. I'll suggest to people the few ways that we have set up for them to contribute to helping if they want. But first and foremost, I'm not going to be there with an agenda on my mind. The most important thing is showing them that I care about them, that they are real to me, and that I, as a Christian, am not there to condemn them.
And this is the thought that most of the people in Intervarsity had - no scripts. No agenda. Just be there to have a real, casual conversation with people. The only plan I really have is let the holy spirit do His thing. My job is to present the Gospel if people are open to it - saving them is God's.
So those are my thoughts for the night. Looks like Tuesday night I'll actually be spending the night with my small group on Dexter lawn. How cool is that?