A week ago last Friday evening, Tricia and I packed up 2 large canvas bags with homemade chocolate, caramel and fruit sauces, plus pecan chocolate chip, and granola cookies. We headed over to Smith College and set up shop in a room of the Campus Center. Some of the Ministry Team was there, including Liz Booher, the new IV Staff person.
The event we were supporting was the third InterVarsity Ice Cream Social we've volunteered to serve for. It gives us a chance to support the IV team as they connect with new students, for students to connect with who we are as imagine/Northampton.
The team lined up four tables in the event room where we'd be; folks from College Church and First Baptist would serve the ice cream as the girls came down the line. We'd serve the sauces and point/invite them to the sprinkles, Gummy Bears, whipped cream, walnuts, homemade cookies and maraschino cherries. Elizabeth had a sense there would be a large turnout because the team had sent a challenge to all the houses that whichever house had the most attendees at the social, they'd receive $100 gift certificate to Herrell's Ice Cream in Northampton. If you've been to Herrell's you know it's worth the effort to try and win.
When hearing of the challenge before things got underway, we were a little concerned we'd run out of homemade sauces, but understood we were there to support the IV Team first, and then let people know we were representing imagine/Northampton to connect with some who might be interested in finding a church. It wasn't about plenteous sauce; it was about what Jesus is doing through IV at Smith that night.
Right about 7PM, a line started to form of Smithies ready for free ice cream. The energy elevated. I was excited to see the potential for IV. So for the next hour and a half, Tricia ladled sauces, and I directed the girls to the toppings, and replenished whipped cream cans, and cookies. Women from freshman to seniors showed up. It was fun listening to them get excited about sprinkles, homemade chocolate and caramel sauce, Gummy Bears, homemade cookies and whipped cream. Some "complained" they were crazy for even eating this stuff at all, and others where like kids on Christmas morning. Many of them thanked us for being there and doing this and voiced their delight in having such a treat. Some picked up our contact information.
At the end of the night, Elizabeth told me they went beyond what they thought they'd have even knowing the plausibility have a large turnout. She mentioned a number of the women signed interest cards and would be followed up with. The point of the night was to create trust. I think she and the team did just that.
For Tricia and I, it was another opportunity to support what God is doing at Smith through these wonderful young women who see such Kingdom potential, and reach out to open hearts. We've had the privilege of knowing the IV Staff person at Smith, first Crystal Fryer, now Liz Booher almost since our first year here. And we've have Smith students coming to imagine for 4 of our 5 years. If we can play a part in supporting God's initiatives at Smith we will with hearts full in.
Please pray for Elizabeth and the team as they open the way for women to know and trust him, and pray we will care well for the Smithies who are sharing their journey with us. May Jesus be very visible on the Smith Campus, at imagine/Northampton, and on Main Street!