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Kertson May Newsletter

Chi Alpha Leadership Retreat

Over Memorial Day weekend, eight student leaders, five staff  leaders along with Glen’s family (the Chi Alpha leader at Stanford) and the Kertson family headed to the mountains for Chi Alpha’s first ever leadership retreat. We had two houses that were donated to us in Twain Harte located in the Western Sierras. The two families slept in one cabin and the college kids slept in the other, which was a wise decision since college kids stay up all night and sleep all morning.
Because of the retreat’s great success I believe this will be an annual event from now on. We had a good mix of worship and prayer, teachings on leadership, brainstorming for the next year of ministry and having fun together over hikes, swimming, games and food.
Kendra and the girls had tons of fun hanging out with Glen’s wife and their two children, helping prepare meals for everyone, and joining us during our fun times. I had the opportunity to lead two different teachings on leadership including “The Courage to Persevere in Leadership” and “Serving International Students.” I also had the privilege of leading worship each day and I loved spending time getting to know each of our student leaders a little bit better.
There were two things that I was most impressed with reflecting on the weekend. The first was simply how truly brilliant and talented the student leaders are. They had great insights into how Chi Alpha could be reaching their campus better for Christ. Best of all, they had these insights out of a deep passion for Christ and a desire to see other people come to know his saving power. It was exciting to worship with them, hear their hearts for the campus and witness their love for one another during a special affirmation time at the end of the weekend. This time ended up lasting over 3 hours, which just confirmed to me the great character of each student.
The second thing that impressed me was simply a renewed sense that God has us exactly where he wants us. I love ministering to the next generation and feel so privileged to be working with such a strategic and gifted group of students at such a time as this. It helped me to gain an even greater passion for reaching the university for Christ and excitement for whichever university God calls us to long term. Thank you so much for partnering with us in this strategic and effective ministry of reaching and equipping the next generation of leaders.

Serving International Students

One of the things I have been working on this last month is better equipping myself as a minister, as well as our ministry at Stanford, to reach out to international students. Stanford’s student body contains 20% international students (approx. 3000 students). These students are the cream of the crop in their countries coming to study at one of the premier universities in the world. The Bible talks a lot about taking care of the stranger and the foreigner as well as reaching nations for Christ. At Stanford, the nations come to you!
I have slowly but surely been meeting each of the international students in our ministry, getting to know their stories and finding out how I can better serve and pray for them. I have also started meeting with one international student weekly that is not a part of our ministry. I met him through Stanford’s English-in-Action program so we meet for an hour to just talk about life, sports, and as he opens up more I am sure we’ll have opportunity to talk about Jesus, all while practicing English. Finally, I’ve simply been trying to make some appearances at various events for international students on campus including having taken some homemade cookies the girls and I made to the International Student Office to thank them for their hard work.
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Student Profile – Frank

Frank is one of the international students that I’ve had the opportunity to meet through Chi Alpha. He is from China and is doing his PhD at Stanford in civil engineering. When I met with him, he was eager to tell me his story. He grew up as an only child because of the one child only laws in China. His parents were atheist, so he never had much to do with Christianity. When he was in college, however, a friend invited him to a house church, which he attended twice. He said that he felt good going, but decided it wasn’t for him. During the next three years, however, he became more and more interested in spiritual things. Then, during his first year at Stanford, he asked if he could sit in an empty seat next to two guys in a dining hall. These two guys ended up being Chi Alpha students and throughout the course of dinner they shared Jesus and the gospel with him. Frank then went to the next two Chi Alpha meetings, like he had gone to two church meetings as an undergraduate back in China, but this time he didn’t leave the second meeting without giving his life to Christ. Frank has been involved in a Chinese church in Oakland for the last two years and told me that he has it on his heart to be a pastor when he returns to China after finishing his PhD. Just one of the amazing testimonies that comes out of Chi Alpha Campus Ministry.             
Copyright © 2013 Brandon and Kendra Kertson, All rights reserved.
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