For the last four years, we have organized a week-long beach project with students called Prosa na Praia (PNP). Full of fun, deep conversation and discussion groups, we try to create the same atmosphere of our monthly coffeehouse discussion event called Café com Prosa. We combine the beach, summer vacation, discussion and profoundly relevant issues into a package and add lots of fun!
Our Theme: Skepticism
University students are part of the “generation of skeptics”. But, what is skepticism? In general, skepticism is characterized by a posture that doubts or is untrusting of accepted concepts. Yet, one wonders, is it possible to be absolutely skeptical? The obvious answer is NO! It is not possible to be completely untrusting. The most skeptical person will trust in, at the very least, his or her own skepticism. Therefore, if on one side we have the skeptical generation, and, on the other, the fact that everyone trusts in something, we raise this question: “Skeptics, in what do you trust?” This was our theme for our last Café com Prosa discussion groups of 2016. During those discussion groups, we asked the “If everyone trusts in something, why not trust in God?”
Jesus in the Age of Skepticism
We decided to have a PNP theme that would continue with the same idea as “Skeptics”. Our aim was to present the same idea, yet through the perspective of Jesus himself. How would Jesus answer the above question? Would Jesus say that God is trustworthy?
In stark contrast to our skepticism, Jesus was a man of great convictions. He strongly affirmed absolutes concerning God, human beings and the origin of so much skepticism - sin. While we have doubts, Jesus has assurance. While we have a hard time trusting, Jesus trusted unwaveringly. Given these considerations, we asked the PNP participants to consider “Jesus in the age of skepticism”. Our aim for PNP 2017 was to survey the gospel by observing Jesus’ convictions about these four points: 1) God’s character, 2) Man’s problem, 3) God’s solution and 4) Man’s response.
It was a challenge unpackaging the gospel to students who were in such different points of their consideration of Jesus. Of those on the PNP, there were Christians, non-Christians open to talking about Jesus, non-Christians closed-off to the idea of Jesus and those who had never shared their opinions about spirituality with us. However, we were extremely encouraged to see the power of God before our own eyes: many left the PNP stating a desire to have a relationship with God.
Beyond the amazing and deep conversations that took place, the PNP sought to deepen our community through shared experiences. To achieve that, we had many informal moments at the beach, pool, sports and especially through dividing up into teams and facing off in a multi-faceted competition. It was fun way to create intentional contact and camaraderie to get to know everyone even more. It became one of the most talked about memories of the PNP.
One of the most exciting objectives of this year’s PNP brought was an opportunity for young Christians to lead and learn through being room leaders. Our aim was for them to be intentional with their time with others in their room and to lead the discussion groups. The hope was that this new experience would fuel in them a desire to multiply their lives. Our evaluation and the feedback we received was very positive. This was an important step in seeing God provide momentum toward laborers being raised up for His harvest field.
Partnership with the Local Church
This year we invited some young professionals from our local church to the PNP. Having them with us provided the students from the campus the opportunity to see and hear from other people in different phases of life. Also, it provided quality contact with the Body of Christ. Unexpected benefits of having church members with us were the support they provided by serving, prayer throughout the PNP and, also, via encouragement they gave us by being reminded of what God is doing through Campus Outreach.
Below are two short testimonies of PNP participants.
PEDRO: a non-Christian student who has participated in our events and been involved in an investigative Bible-study. Pedro has been attending our church since returning to BH from the PNP.
Through the PNP I had an opportunity to delve even deeper into my thoughts about Christianity and Jesus, and I still felt amazingly comfortable to share my ideas and doubts about it all. I believe that opportunities like these, in an environment where everyone is relaxed, should be valued because through such experiênces we can build friendships, new understandings and grow personally and spiritually.
CRISTINA: a local church member that only recently came to have personal contact with our ministry.
Participating in the PNP was an encouraging experience because it showed me a beautiful vision of the infinite love of Christ. Being there brought me an immense gratitude for the staff that live a calling to this love. I only recently joined our church, so I had never seen up-close the work of Campus Outreach. So, after seeing a glimpse of their lives, I see how what they do is only possible by being full of the Spirit and compelled by the love of God! It was obvious that they needed to depend on God in many moments, especially in their weaknesses. To wrap it all up, it was an amazing experience in which I could experience the love of Jesus and see an example how we can glorify God in our own lives.
Please Pray For:
* God to open the spiritual yes of students who heard the gospel at the PNP
* New Bible studies to help these students to repent and believe in Jesus.
* Wisdom and perseverance for our team as we lead these students.