John 13:34-35 (New American Standard Bible)
“A new commandment I give to you,that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This holiday, one of the house community groups wanted to show love to the local college students by handing out care packages of snacks sealed in a bag with a sticker that said “Good Luck! Study Hard”. No traces of where the group was from or any affiliations were marked on the bag because they did not want any recognition–just for the students to know that they were being loved and thought of. Many who received the snacks initially thought they had to sit through some long imposing speech about who the group was and what they did but were surprised to find that it wasn’t. One student as we explained what were doing thanked us and said “One love and respect is what it’s about.”
While the house community group recognized when opportunities arose to chat about deeper things, they were ready but all in all it was purely intended to be an act of love.
A summary from Ken who helped head up this project:
“The damp weather as we emerged from the car to unload bags of snacks reminded me how dreadful and unappealing finals could be. It was almost 18 months since my last final at SJSU, but seeing the students scurry around with loaded backpacks brought back, if only just for a second, all the feelings of impending doom.
Our small group wanted to bless our community in a way that fit in with the holiday season, and nothing says, “Merry Christmas,” like studying frantically all night for a two-hour test you have no hope of passing. The SJSU campus is about one block away from Le Petit Trianon where our church meets on Sundays, so they were a natural choice. Our group created an ambitious goal to hand out 200 bags full of snacks to students studying in the MLK Library, and soon realized that we needed some help. With a few phone calls and emails, Alan enlisted the services of the SJSU chapter of AACF.
Working with AACF turned out to be much more of a blessing than we realized. Most of our small group members are 5+ years removed from college, so the younger folks had a bit of a Antarean effect on us. They had a great time blessing their peers with semi-nutritious goodies found in small brown paper bags.
Initially, the reactions from the students studying in the library were mixed. We tried to spread out to all of the floors, and the reception at most floors was luke-warm at best–until the students realized that there really were no strings attached, and the snack packs were truly a gift. Then, we couldn’t give them away fast enough. Clearly, 200 bags were not nearly enough, and we easily could have tripled the number. During the two-hour evening, it only took us 15 minutes to distribute all the treats.
Overall, the reactions were genuine gratitude: thankful for some nourishment, thankful for a small break during a potentially long night, and thankful that we didn’t stick around to bore them with a long monologue about why we were there. The reactions from AACF and our small group were also positive, and there might be potential for us to partner up again in the future. After all, it never hurts to encourage other people with a heart to serve.
The rain finally stopped when it was time for everybody to part ways. I had spent a lot of time at SJSU in the past, but returning there allowed me to see it in a different light. This time, when I left the campus that evening, it was nice not having to worry about final grades ruining my Christmas break.”