Super Senior: Matt Aurednik

Matthew Aurednik
Wofford College
Environmental Studies, Soccer team

HOW DID YOU BECOME A CHRISTIAN?
I was raised in a Christian home, but I never understood what it meant to have a relationship with Christ until I got to college and surrounded myself with guys and mentors who loved me and kept me accountable. I struggled freshmen year with identity and eventually hit rock bottom during the middle of spring. It was over spring break that year that I rededicated my life to Christ and started thinking with eternity in mind. I committed to Leadership Project, and for the last three years my life has been changed because I know Christ and He knows me.

HOW HAS YOUR TIME IN COLLEGE SHAPED YOUR FAITH?
When it comes to my faith, college has provided everything that I needed, starting with community. I found a core group of guys early on in freshmen year who began keeping me accountable. When I became a true follower of Christ, I was surrounded by like-minded individuals who were passionate about their own faith as well as aiding the walks of those beside them. Together we learned about how to read scripture, why it's important to pray, how to steward our time, how to share the gospel, etc. I have learned to think more eternally not only for myself but for others.

WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR YOUR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE?
I want to find community as soon as possible and use whatever platform God gives me to share his love with those around me.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS?
Find a solid group of girls or guys who will walk with you throughout college. Be vulnerable, serve wholeheartedly and don't waste your time on trivial matters. We are not here for very long, so make the best of it!

Super Senior: Forrest Rogers

Forrest Rogers
Clemson University
Food & Nutrition Science

HOW DID YOU BECOME A CHRISTIAN?
I became a Christian when I was 5 and was raised in a Christian home, but once I got to college I just started doing what I wanted to do. My freshman and sophomore years were not spent living out the faith. Junior year, I met Landon Tucker who is on staff with CO and started to get involved with his bible study he was starting up. With the combined efforts of small group, reading the Bible, and a few major personal events, I finally realized that I could not be living a double life any longer. So I decided to be all in for Jesus in November of 2015, and I have been walking steadily with Him ever since.

HOW HAS YOUR TIME IN COLLEGE SHAPED YOUR FAITH?
Over the past year, I have grown so much in my faith. This has come from a combination of small group and community, going to New Years conferences and Leadership Project, and leading my own small group of freshman boys. I now see the realness of the gospel and the need to spread it to my friends; I also see the need to lead young Christian men in the pursuit of their relationship with Christ. Finally, I see life as a selfless pursuit of what God wants, which has affected many different aspects of my life (what I spend my free-time doing, relationships, post-graduate life, etc.).

HOW ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT LIFE AFTER COLLEGE?
Life after college is going to be tough. I currently live in a house of believers, surround myself with Christian community throughout the week, and have CO staff that I can go to when I need insight or counsel. The issue is that when I leave college, I will soon realize that the world outside of Clemson is not saturated with people of my similar age and likemindedness. I will need to get plugged in with a local church and seek community there. I know that it will be harder than what I am used to here at Clemson.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING AFTER GRADUATION?
I will be attending physical therapy school at either Western Carolina in Cullowhee, NC, or The Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

WHAT WENT INTO YOUR DECISION?
I have known that I wanted to do PT since freshman year. As far as school choices, both Western and MUSC have Campus Outreach programs that I can get plugged in with while I am there for 3 years.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS OR THOSE ENTERING COLLEGE?
Don’t wait to get involved with a ministry, whether that be Campus Outreach or another campus organization. I waited until my junior year to get plugged in, and that was a huge mistake. The Bible teaches on the importance of community all throughout the New Testament. We are not meant to go through this life alone. Commit to a group and the people within it, and I guarantee that your spiritual life will grow.

Super Senior: Jess Goergen

Jessica Goergen
Presbyterian College
Psychology major, English and Spanish minors, lacrosse player

HOW DID YOU BECOME A CHRISTIAN?
I became a Christian early in my childhood, but recommitted my life to Christ during college. After tirelessly seeking other things to satisfy me like athletics, social life, and perfectionism, Christ kept calling me back to Him. Even during my constant searching and avoiding, He never stopped being faithful and consistently reminded me of His unfailing love for me.

HOW HAS YOUR TIME IN COLLEGE SHAPED YOUR FAITH? 
College has really helped me mature spiritually, especially through discipleship. I now view life as a means to know more of Christ. Every experience, every person I meet, is part of a divine plan in that Christ is to be glorified and made known. This gives purpose because it takes all the pressure off of me to make something of myself, and rather gives me freedom to live life to the fullest, as God intended.

WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR YOUR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE? 
I hope to take part in world missions and go to grad school for clinical psychology. While the timing of both of these is uncertain at this point, I know that God has plans for me in both vocations because of the passions and skills with which He has equipped me.

HOW ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT YOUR FUTURE CAREER? 
God has given me a set of skills and passions unique to me (as He has with everyone), so wherever God sends me to use them is where I'll go. While right now is a season of uncertainty, I know that God will provide and make known the specifics. I am excited to see what God has in store for me.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS?
My advice would be to work hard in your studies, build your skills, but do not get caught up in them. The same goes for athletics. Take the time now to build relationships with people and get to know Christ more. The biggest thing that God has taught me this year is not to worry. Everything will work out regardless of if you stress or not, so don't be anxious about temporary things! 50 years from now, are you really going to remember how prepared you were for that exam and how much you stressed over it, or are you going to look back on the times when you truly lived life as God intended (i.e loving God and loving others)?

Super Senior: K.J. Atwood

Kenneth James (K.J.) Atwood
Wofford College
Biology, Economics

HOW DID YOU BECOME A CHRISTIAN?
Freshmen year is hard. Coming in to school from a little-south-of-nowhere farm town seemed to make it a little harder. The RA on my hall and his friends loved me incredibly well throughout my whole adjustment process. They were with me when I kept getting lost on my way to the science building, they were there to celebrate me in the few moments those two first semesters that I had cause to, and they were there with me when everything felt like it was falling apart and I just needed a friend. And, as they made abundantly clear, they also happened to be Jesus freaks. I had never seen anyone follow Christ so well, so intentionally, or so consistently. I realized that for me that religion was just a cultural norm, and I did not give off the same beautiful fragrance as these people did. So I started asking a lot of questions, reading books, talking to various religious leaders, and my new friends were always willing to answer me as best they could. I figured since supposedly my eternity was on the line nothing else was too important until I figured the whole God thing out. I decided to go to LP the summer following my freshmen year. I met a lot more people, much like my friends, who were all in on this guy Jesus. And who, by virtue, put up with me and all my wickedness despite themselves. It was just after LP that the reality of the gospel, and that I stood as an enemy to it, finally and adequately sunk into my soul. After wrestling with the notion of "God" for some months, I finally got my answer: God not only existed, he was not only love, but he was near, and in his nearness he gave himself for me. What a miracle! My mind is still forming around such an unbelievable notion though now I see it as absolute truth after encountering the Spirit—Christ and Christ crucified.

HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED?
Since becoming a Christian, I've had the opportunity to build my faith from the ground up. Though it hasn't been very long, taking the step from darkness to light has already turned my life on its head. I've experienced a joy, a peace, and a hope in Jesus that I haven't found in anything else. This has completely transformed how I treat others, how I think, how I spend my time, and what I talk about have all completely changed. Plainly, Jesus of Nazareth has moved from a casual figure in history to the most important person in my life. Now, in everything I do, I seek to reflect Jesus, and he's helped me to look at everything through an eternal lens.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO AFTER COLLEGE?
At some point after college I'd love to move overseas and get involved in some sort of mercy ministry, both directly and by means of helping mobilize people and resources to serve those in need, particularly in crisis areas. I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing right after graduation. I've prayed exhaustively for direction, and God has been faithful in revealing his will to me step-by-step. I've interned both at home and abroad with various organizations trying to find the right fit. Presently, I haven't come to a final decision, but I've applied a few places and had a few interviews.

ANY ADVICE FOR MAKING THE MOST OUT OF COLLEGE?
To anyone looking to maximize their time in college, I would say to maximize your sacrifice. You know that old euphemism, "he does ___ religiously" and how everyone works 'religiously' for anything but religion? Be an exception. Go against the grain. The days are long, but the years are short. Live a life you couldn't live if you weren't a dwelling place of God. By the Spirit, look, think, eat, and breath, as much like Jesus as you can. Pour over the scriptures to see what that looks like. Make purity a priority. Partner in carrying others burdens as He has come to carry yours. Seek the hurting and the lonely. Make prayer your first language. We love to over complicate things, but Jesus said it best and most plainly in Matthew 16:24-25: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."

Super Seniors: Spring 2017

As you know, we at Campus Outreach have the great privilege of building laborers out of students on the college campus. You may have heard us talk about how the college campus is strategic. That's because students from all over converge on a school for four years with the intent of launching into the working world once their degree is complete. This set up enables us to accomplish our mission of building laborers for the world because students are launched out after graduation by design.

This is the last semester for many of our students in their college careers. The past four years have meant many different things to each of them, but they all leave their schools as different people than when they arrived. In the coming weeks, we will share their stories with you as a way of celebrating the variety of ways God is working on our campuses. We hope you'll join us in cheering on these super seniors.