I had lunch with an awesome human being earlier this week. Let’s call her “Alpha Lyncis.” I actually saw her twice this week, after not having seen her at all for several months, but that’s not part of the story. Anyway, I’ve known Alpha Lyncis since she was 14, and a student in my Algebra I class. She is now 22; she just graduated from college, and she will be spending the next year interning with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. InterVarsity is a Christian para-church organization, not affiliated with any specific church or denomination, that ministers to college students, with chapters on hundreds of campuses nationwide. Chapters typically will organize weekly fellowship meetings where students sing worship songs, pray, and hear a talk; the chapters also lead small group Bible studies as well as service projects and mission trips during school breaks. At least that’s what the chapter at UC Davis was like back when I was there. I was involved with the UC Davis chapter of InterVarsity for most of the time I was a student there, and it was through people I met there that I first came to understand what it meant to know Jesus and to decide that for myself.
Anyway, back to Alpha Lyncis. InterVarsity staff are supported through charitable contributions. Alpha Lyncis is back in Sacramento for a while, meeting with people who might be interested in being part of her support team, so we were meeting to talk about that, as well as just to catch up. At one point, she told a story about when she and her college friends went out to eat at 1am, and I said that some of my silliest stories have come from times when my friends and I were out eating late at night. I told her about how, for several years, we had a tradition of going to one specific restaurant, that is open 24 hours and in a neighborhood not far from a lot of trendy bars, and playing the game Contact. Contact is a word-guessing game, but with me and my friends, the game quickly degenerates into inside jokes, creative nerdy made-up words, and many of the dirtiest and most inappropriate things I’ve ever seen.
When I mentioned Contact, Alpha Lyncis said that was a fun game. Then, suddenly, she got this look of recognition on her face and said, “It was you!” I looked confused. What was me? “You taught me that game!” she continued. Now it was my turn to have the look of recognition come over my face; I had completely forgotten when I started telling that story that, several years earlier, when Alpha Lyncis was a student at my school, I had in fact taught Contact to her and a few other students. We were on a school-sponsored community service project, shoveling mulch at a park all day; I had been playing Contact with friends a lot, and we were standing out there doing manual labor, and it seemed like a good time to play Contact. I, of course, left out all the dirty jokes, since I was playing with students.
Alpha Lyncis went on to explain that, for years, she had been playing Contact with students in the Bible studies that she led in college, and she could never remember where she learned the game until I just now mentioned it. “You have a legacy at my college, Mr. [my last name],” she said. I was excited. I never would have expected that something that started with being silly with a bunch of my friends one night many years ago would eventually help a bunch of college students hundreds of miles away learn about Jesus and the Bible.
God certainly works in mysterious ways.