Recently, the Baptist Student Ministry at Texas Woman’s University hosted a benefit show to raise money for summer student missionaries. We had planned to invite local musicians to perform. We also had one of our guys who just started to get involved share some poetry with us that he wrote.
From student Baptist Student Ministry leaders to family and friends, we all sat and listened as we enjoyed dessert and hot drinks made with the BSM’s new espresso machine.
The night didn’t turn out how I planned at all. Usually this is how most of my stories go.
There was a free concert right across the street, and ours charged $10 admission. Sure, it included a dessert and drink, but it wasn’t free. Sure, it benefitted summer missions, but it wasn’t free.
The show started late, and we had fun. But as the night went on, hearts started to change and God started to soften my heart to just enjoy and trust him to work.
Instead of putting on a full-out show for people to enjoy, we opened the stage for students and guest to share their talents.
A blind student who is a talented guitarist was guided to the stage, and she shared some of her amazing compositions.
A few men from the Denton Freedom House ministry came to support the event and share some of their talent.
The new manager at Zera’s Coffee Company down the street—also connected to the Denton Freedom House—shared Scripture and parts of his testimony.
After a few people left, I jumped on my keyboard as two of my young student leaders sang into the mic.
Sharing a broken heart
One of them had experienced a hard week. She is pretty solid in what she believes in, growing up as a pastor’s kid, but what she told us surprised us and broke our hearts. In front of people she barely knew, she described how just a few days before, she overdosed on painkillers, hoping to end her life. She shared her broken heart with us after hiding it for so long.
Then others started to speak life and encouragement to her, and other people opened up about their lives.
We ended up raising more than $300 dollars that night—pretty good, all things considered.
God didn’t just want us to just raise money to benefit the students serving as missionaries for the summer. He wanted to benefit the audience and everyone involved in the event.
Lives were changed
We did. We benefited a lot from this night. Lives were changed. Greater, deeper community was built. We became the church, the family, to each other.
From different backgrounds, church memberships, stories, struggles, we believed in one God who made us family. God is in the business of not just using us to benefit others for the sake of his name and his kingdom, but also to benefit us with community, redemption and love.
Sharel Kaye Gaskey is serving this semester as a campus missionary intern at Texas Woman’s University in Denton through Go Now Missions.