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Summer 2008 Rapport: Building relationships, reaching students

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In 2006 Michael (M.Div. 2001) and Pamela Berkowitz (M.A. 2001) pioneered a Chi Alpha campus ministry among the 42,000 students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison) carries an international reputation of academic excellence stirred into liberal mayhem. It is one of the worst binge-drinking schools in America.

Fondly known as the Berkeley of the Midwest, Madison is home to the Freedom from Religion Foundation and is remembered for notorious riots in the sixties, its annual Halloween party and many failed ministries.

All of this sets the stage for an incredible opportunity to see students reconciled to Christ and to transform our world.

UW–Madison calls itself home to more than 4000 international students from 200 countries. The world is literally at our fingertips. The academic reputation of UW–Madison beckons students to come believing they will change the world. We know we can change the world through them by loving them, walking through life with them, giving them a place to belong and revealing the person and power of Jesus Christ.

Sida, a Chinese Buddhist, came to UW–Madison last fall. He had heard of Jesus but was still searching for inner peace and hope. We made ourselves available to answer his questions and tried to sincerely love him throughout the semester. Finally the moment came. He approached us one night after our weekly Chi Alpha service and said, “I know Buddhism is not the answer. Jesus is the answer.” His personal journey with God has just begun. This international business major from Beijing, China, now knows the loving God who has a plan for his life.

Sida is just one of many who have encountered the living God in a land of spiritual decay over these last two years. Sida will return to China not as a traditional Buddhist but as a transformed man and follower of Jesus Christ. God has placed us here to transform the world through his power, one student at a time.

Chi Alpha is transforming the world!

Updated: Friday, August 8, 2008 1:16 PM

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