By Katie Burkhead
Thank you, Texas Baptists!
When I think of my experience at the University of Texas at Austin, I think of more than my major, my classes, the all-nighters I’ve pulled and the stress I have endured. I always think of my time at the Baptist Student Ministry and how God has used the people there to shape me, challenge me, encourage me and help me pursue God with all that I am. As a young freshman, I (naively) thought that I was following Jesus pretty well and that this was how I would follow Him for the rest of my life. After all, I had been raised in the church, read my Bible most days and went on trips with my youth group to share the story of Jesus with others. Little did I know, God wanted so much more for me and He fully planned on revealing more and more of Himself to me if I would just say ‘Yes’ and join this great adventure that He was inviting me on.
By walking into the doors of our BSM, I had the opportunity to meet so many other UT students who loved God and wanted me to grow in the ways that I followed Him. They didn’t just want me to follow Him as long as I was comfortable, it was convenient and it was accepted. They wanted me to follow Him no matter what my circumstances were, no matter what country I was in and no matter what anyone thought. Not only did they want me to follow Him, they wanted me to share about who God is with the people in my dorm, in my classes and in my clubs out of the overflow of love I had for Him.
Through discipleship, I had an upper classman to model after. I had someone to confess sin to, and ask for accountability and support as I learned to follow Jesus even more and made my faith my own. I had someone who taught me how to read the Bible in new ways, how to practice spiritual disciplines and how to disciple others well while practicing the grace and humility that comes along with it. I have met people from around the world and have be able to share the Good News of Jesus with people for the first time. I have learned that our God is a God of all nations, tribes, peoples and languages. I have learned that God is holy, good and worthy of our trust.
My four years at the BSM have meant the world to me and have been a turning point in my pursuit of Christ. Reflecting on this time makes me think of Philippians 1:3. I am incredibly thankful for the friends I have made, the mentors I have learned from and the women that I have gotten to lead during my time at the BSM. Our job is to pursue the King and invite others to join the kingdom. It’s a beautiful gift and I am excited to invest my next year at the UT Austin BSM and invite other students to pursue Jesus wholeheartedly. I have learned how beautiful Jesus is, how kind and gracious His Good News is and what joy we have to look forward to in Revelation 7:9-10.
Thank you all for the ways that you invest in younger generations. Thank you for leading Bible Study at VBS. Thank you for giving to our summer camp scholarships. Thank you for teaching our classes. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for feeding us. Thank you for your faithfulness to our BSMs. It means more to us than we could ever express - how you pursue God, pursue others and pursue us (college students) really does make a difference. It is noticed, it is appreciated and we would not be the same without it.
Katie Burkhead is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin.