I couldn’t stop smiling. I was sitting in a room with seven African-American men who were students in a Navigators leadership Bible study with Dustin Butler at the University of Georgia. I was paired up with a student who quoted all 12 verses in the “A-pack” of the Topical Memory System without a mistake. Looking around, it felt like a moment to savor: Fruit from eight years of Dustin and his wife, Lori, and their team pouring into African-American students. Today, they have 50-70 students at their weekly meeting as well as a leadership team of 17. Since they began, more than 20 African-American college students have become followers of Jesus and grown through NavCompass (The Navigators African-American student ministry at the University of Georgia).
Serving alongside the Butlers on full-time staff are Mark and Emma Sumrall. Emma disciples a student named Cuza, who joined NavCompass her freshman year in 2014.
“Coming into college—joining a ministry and giving my life to Christ were the last things on my mind,” Cuza says. “I loved the welcoming spirit of the ministry, but it wasn’t until I got more involved that I started to seriously consider a relationship with God. During that time, I gave my life to Christ. I started my discipleship with Emma Sumrall in my junior year, and not only did I fall more in love with Christ, I also began to see how much He loved me even more. With Emma, I get to see an example of Christian living, and I am continually allowing Christ to help me heal and become a stronger person.”
Student Ozzie Araga was discipled by Dustin, and also feels that deep transformation.
“I was in a place of depression and darkness,” Ozzie says. “But praise God for holding onto me and connecting me with a loving ministry that welcomed my brokenness. I had so many questions about God’s existence, but Dustin was there to answer it all with the Bible, and boy was I ready to surrender my life to Christ. I am so blessed and thankful for meeting Dustin and being discipled by him. He was loving, caring, understanding, and spoke from his heart. That really made me want to pursue Jesus wholeheartedly, and The Navigators ministry allowed me to do that. It has been three years now and my life has dramatically improved. I see hope, I’ve found peace and joy, I see light and no darkness, and more important, I have faith in Jesus Christ who loves me and died for my sins. I am devoting my life to doing ministry for God’s Kingdom.”
Rejoice with us at the work God is doing in the lives of students like Cuza and Ozzie, and please pray for the ongoing, fruitful work among AfricanAmerican students at the University of Georgia.