Leslea and I recently traveled to Japan, where I reunited with my college roommate and longtime friend, Masakazu Suzaki. As we roamed the ancient beauty of his home country, Mas and I reminisced about our shared history — grateful for the spiritual encouragement and growth we had experienced through InterVarsity Fellowship while at Amherst.
College was spiritually formative for Mas and me, and this remains true for many of our FOCUS alumni. Although the independent schools we serve are grades 6 to 12, the mission of FOCUS extends further: “…that they might come to know Jesus Christ and glorify God through their Christian witness and through lives of Christian service in the Church and the world.” We want to see students continue to grow in faith and be encouraged by Christian fellowship during college and into adulthood.
For example, our annual Pre-College Weekend is designed to help rising college freshmen prepare for the opportunities, challenges, and transitions involved with entering a college setting. I joined our staff, volunteers, and 61 students at this summer’s Pre-College Weekend, and it was one of the largest groups of high school grads I’ve seen at the Vineyard. I wasn’t sure this 64-year-old man would be able to keep up with the youthfulness of the guys in my cabin, but I found it a joy to hear them reflecting on each day’s talks and praying that they would find fellowship with other Christians who could bolster them in their faith at their respective schools this fall.
For many students, even Pre-College Weekend is not the end of their FOCUS journey. In the pages ahead, you’ll learn how more than 100 college students participated in FOCUS opportunities this summer alone – serving and being served by this ministry we all share.
Dan Walker Executive Director