I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is a massive, liberal school that I loved. While attending the university, I was very active in a variety of organizations including Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru). I also joined and hosted Bible studies and really actively pursued Christ during that season. During my junior and senior years, I was also an RA for University Housing.
During that time, I was very open about my faith and my residents on the dorm floor I managed knew I was a Christian. I wasn’t one to distribute tracks or anything like that, but I was happy to share my beliefs when my residents would ask. I prayed for my residents often, that the Lord would keep them safe and that if they didn’t know Him, that someday they would.
College was an incredibly happy time in my life and I loved being an RA. While I didn’t see any radical changes in my residents during our time together, I believed that they would look back on their time on my floor as one that was fun and memorable. It was a beautiful gift serving in that capacity.
It has been 10 years since I was an RA. I live in another state and am married with two children. I don’t often think about my days serving in my dorm. So you can imagine my surprise when I received this email (shared with permission):
My name is Mandy and I went to UW-Madison and lived in Slichter way back in 2003-2004. You were my RA. Not sure if you remember me or not – no worries, if you don’t.
I’m currently a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in the Kingdom of Tonga (a little island nation in the South Pacific) where I’m working with primary-aged students teaching them English. It’s both rewarding and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I love it. I’ve been living here for 17 months (I’m finished in October). I’ve just recently recommitted my life to Christ. It’s been an amazing couple months since that happened. I wanted to thank you for always being such a beautiful, Godly and amazing role model. You are truly an inspiration. You have such a big heart for Jesus and I’m really grateful that we crossed paths over 10 years ago. I love keeping up with your blog and your work with (in)courage.
Right now I’m taking part in a weekly Bible study, going to church, and I read the Word every day, but was wondering if you had any other suggestions for me (books to read, blogs to follow, etc.) as I begin my walk with Jesus.
Hope you are well.
Mandy’s email left me in tears. Ten years had passed since we had lived in the same dorm. I remember her and her bright smile well. I had prayed for her.
Never in a million years would I have expected to receive that email from her. It was such a gift from the Lord and a reminder that we never know the impact that we have.
So often my life just feels very ordinary. I work, do crafts with my kids and struggle to keep up with my laundry.
But if I know one thing from Scripture, it is that God uses ordinary people to do His extraordinary work. Just look at the disciples. They were regular, sinful men who Jesus called. And the legacies they left changed the world.
You have a legacy too. And though you might not know how, God is using you for good, even in the most ordinary days and ways.