ENSURING THESE TIGERS' ROARS ECHO O'ER THE MOUNTAIN’S HEIGHT.
From the rolling hills and the fall Saturdays in Death Valley, to the beautiful hikes and delicious restaurants, Clemson's atmosphere is beyond impressive. From the moment you make your first cross-campus trek as a freshman, to your final walk across the stage as a senior, the statement, "there is something in these hills," is more evident than you could have ever imagined. We are, as our generation likes to say, “way up, and [we] feel blessed.” Yet, as a junior here at this amazing university, the most personally impacting aspect of Clemson’s campus are its Christian establishments. Whether you are Christian or not, it is hard to argue the value of having a group surround you and motivate you to reach greater heights and continue on when the journey gets a little more difficult than you were prepared for. I can say, without question, that these groups are the reason I am who I am today. When I was lonely and missed home, the friendships made in these organizations reminded me of the fact that much greater things are ahead of me. When I was afraid and fearful of the future, these groups immersed me in prayer. When my grades started to grip my attention and worries, these people cheered me on and lifted me up. The most influential group in my life and arguably across campus has been Clemson’s revered FCA.
Clemson’s Alma Mater sings, “Dear old Clemson we will triumph, and with all our might, that the Tiger’s roar may echo, o’er the mountains height.” Here are a few ways Clemson FCA is ensuring that our Tigers’ roars do just that.
It is hard to grasp the idea of the Clemson Family without understanding Clemson FCA’s input and legacy.
With a regular attendance of anywhere from 300-3,000 students each Thursday, this organization, oddly consisting of more than just athletes, has stood as a pillar of God’s faithfulness to this campus and this world for over sixty years. Bringing speakers from across the world, weekly, the group’s platform of encouraging and promoting Jesus here in Clemson has only expanded to include other parts of the nation and world over the years.
It yields several opportunities to serve the community, this nation, and around the world.
From volunteering each week to ensure a successful production and/or greeting at the doors, to reaching out to international students and promoting Christ’s love in downtown Clemson at night, you can serve just about anywhere. Additionally, each spring break, Clemson FCA takes a trip to a popular city in America. They spend their week partnered with local churches and organizations to serve and bring hope to hopeless places. In recent years, Clemson FCA has ventured to New Orleans, Louisiana, Cincinnati, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. A quick Google search of the organization proves their wide and sweeping impact in Clemson, on these cities, and around the world.
Most exciting, however, is Clemson FCA’s yearly international trip of around 15 students during Christmas break.
This allows us students to live out Matthew 28:19-20. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
This year, Clemson FCA will be journeying to Jinga, Uganda.
The rare opportunity with this trip lies in the fact that, in 1971, Colonel Idi Amin seized Uganda. Under his regime, he sought to rid Uganda of all Indians, and thus began his reign of terror. Following his rule, it was estimated that over 300,000 Ugandans were killed in his wake these included religious leaders. After Amin was removed from power, the violence did not stop there. Joseph Kony led a guerilla group in parts of northern Uganda killing many civilians and displacing almost 1.5 million people. It is estimated that 90 of every 1,000 children born in Uganda will not survive past five years. There is a severe deficiency in vitamin A, so children often become blind. Many children are without parents due to the AIDS epidemic. Yet, Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and I will give you rest.” The need is great, the job is big, and the people are sick, weary, and lost.
What better place to bring the hope and encouragement seeping out of Clemson FCA, than here?
Uganda is among the many African nations who receive “dead aid,” explained by Dambisa Moyo in her book as millions of dollars we--the U.S.--send abroad to lower the rates of poverty. Yet, this money is actually setting these nations up for failure. Often, it makes the governments dependent upon the aid as a source of income. Others, the authoritarian, sometimes tyrannical governments, use the money to increase their military grip on their citizens. Yet, when there are feet on the ground, hands at work, and a private sacrifice of time and money, needs are met and lives are changed forever.
Sitting in my first African Politics class last semester, I came to understand how prevalent this issue is, and how much revision the idea needs in these places. I have grown passionate about promoting change and praying for the people. However, until this policy is entirely reversed, I will continue to promote private organizations providing these places with relief and hope. Clemson FCA believes that malaria, AIDS, dysentery, etc. cannot spread as fast as the good news can. Nothing can overwhelm and grip a people like news of fountain whose water allows them to never thirst again, yet, “becomes in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life,” John 4:14.
As one of the 15 students selected to embark on this adventure to Uganda, I feel humbled to represent an organization that has so thoroughly changed me forever. I believe that God is working through this ministry to change the world. I know that the Lord is planning great things already. He has been in Uganda paving the way for our feet to continue His work. He has been preparing both Clemson FCA, and Jinga, Uganda for this trip long in advance to my knowledge of it. He has chosen this ministry to continue His work for a reason. The very ministry that has changed my life forever, now has yet another the opportunity to continue to change the world.
Any chance to serve with this ministry is one that should not be skipped over. God’s hand is at work here in Clemson FCA. I encourage any fellow Clemson students to invest in an organization that will pay immeasurable dividends. In addition, I ask that those of you reading this would come alongside us and pray for this trip and what is happening on this campus.
For more information about the organization and ways to get involved, you can check outwww.clemsonfca.org. For other ways to invest in this trip, check out this link.
[Originally published at https://www.theodysseyonline.com/@gracinwatson]