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Faith & Service

Championing a Nation

By Mitzi Bible, October 11, 2017

Each story in this special feature section demonstrates a tenet of the “We The Champions” Declaration, part of a university-wide project that aims to tell the world how Liberty is fulfilling its mission of Training Champions for Christ.

We The Champions: Be the Voice for the Voiceless

There’s a new buzz word on campus: “G5.”

Click to visit G5 website

No, it’s not the name of a slick private jet, a new dance move, or even the latest smartphone. It’s a massive ministry opportunity — the likes of which Liberty University has never seen before.

Based on Galatians 5, in which Christians are called to live out the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), G5 is a new university initiative that takes a laser-focused approach to serving a different nation each year, with the goal of making a major impact for God in that country.

The initiative kicked off during Global Focus Week in September, with Rwanda chosen as the partner nation for the year. Upcoming trips to the country were announced, as well as child sponsorship opportunities through Compassion International. The initiative also involves internships, prayer partnerships, and plenty of other ministry opportunities for students, faculty, and staff.

“Every year Liberty shows the character traits of Christ from Galatians 5, but we’ve never been intentional about really focusing on one place,” said David Nasser, senior vice president for spiritual development. “With G5, we will hone in and partner with a nation each year as it relates to ministry, governance, culture, and academics. We will put our eyes on a particular nation in the world where we feel God will allow us to go and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and show the character of Christ.”

David Nasser, senior vice president for spiritual development, plays with children in Rwanda.

While G5 will put the spotlight on one nation, Nasser said it will be carried out concurrently with the many ministry programs already in motion at Liberty. “We won’t be taking our foot off the pedal locally, domestically, or internationally,” he said.

The new initiative will encompass the university’s mission to impact the world as champions, to be a “voice for the voiceless” and to “fight for the oppressed,” ideals that are included in the new Declaration that is part of Liberty’s We The Champions project.

“We’re Champions for Christ at Liberty,” Nasser said. “And a champion is someone who exudes the nature of Christ, as we learn about in Galatians 5. But this initiative is also about asking, ‘What does it look like to champion a nation?’”

To Rwanda, a country where 800,000 people lost their lives to genocide in 1994, it could mean sponsoring children whose families have been torn apart, making sure they have the basic necessities and a strong support structure so they can begin looking toward the future with hope. It could mean reaching across the table to affect change in government. It could mean coming alongside Rwandan churches and building up new generations of leaders who will impact their own country for Christ.

“A horrific genocide has stained their history — it doesn’t get darker than their story,” Nasser said. “But yet it is a place where light can shine in. We want to see a nation that has a lot of dark history become a place of redemption.”

Nasser saw that light breaking through when he joined comedian Jeff Foxworthy in Rwanda this past summer on a visit sponsored by Compassion International, one of the largest Christian humanitarian aid organizations in the world.

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy gives a high-five to a student at the Compassion Child Development Center.

In a recorded interview, Foxworthy described his time in the country. He was particularly moved after touring a museum devoted to the history of the genocide.

“It’s heartbreaking. I’m just walking through going, ‘Oh boy, do we need a Savior. Look what we’re capable of as human beings,’” he said. “But this country, the reconciliation to me is almost as unbelievable as the genocide. It’s like, how does that happen? How do you reconcile with somebody who participated in killing your dad with a machete? But it’s happening here. I’ve been all over Africa. This is a country that is blossoming, that is growing, and so, even with that dark past, I think there’s a ton of hope here.”

Foxworthy and his family have been involved in the work of Compassion International for about 12 years. He visited campus on Sept. 27, during Global Focus Week, and shared the many ways that students can get involved. It goes much further than sending financial support, he said.

“It’s a child that you’re not only helping to survive, you’re helping them to thrive and thus their families to thrive,” he said in the interview. “I used to think it was just writing a check. It’s to the point now that we don’t even think about the check. What you’re doing is setting yourself up for a relationship.”

There are opportunities to write to the children, and even visit them — tangible ways that students can make an impact in someone’s life.

“This generation of college students isn’t content with just sending a dollar a day,” Nasser said. “They actually want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. They actually want to build relationships — they want to get out of that one-dimensional sponsorship, get into a pen pal relationship, get to go halfway across the world and meet the child they’re sponsoring.”

Josh Rutledge, vice president of spiritual development, meets the child he is sponsoring through Compassion International.

Compassion International is just one partner in the G5 mission to reach Rwanda. Liberty will be reaching out to more humanitarian organizations, as well as religious leaders and government officials.

“We will find people of influence who are as passionate as we are about reaching the country,” Nasser said. “You only have to have one thing you agree on to work with someone, and we can work with all kinds of organizations and people to move the needle for a nation around the world.”

G5 will educate and empower Liberty students. As they participate in the initiative each year, they will gain a lifelong global perspective and learn what God is doing in and around the world. More importantly, by displaying the fruit of the Spirit, students will see the fruit of their labor make a lasting impact on a nation.

“It would be amazing if, at the end of our year of focusing on a nation, we would see a seismic shift in crime rate or eradicate hunger,” Nasser said. “We’ve been blessed by God at Liberty to do audacious things; this is a moment where we can show stewardship of our giftings.”
Visit Compassion’s website for information on sponsoring a child.

To be involved in the “We The Champions” project and read more inspiring stories from the Liberty community, visit Liberty.edu/Champions and follow #WeTheChampions on social media.

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