A Vineyard or a Graveyard

Note: This is the fourth in a series of posts about my missions adventure in Uganda in the spring of 2018. Click here to read other posts in this series.

One night in Uganda, a group of university students came to our hotel for dinner. The students are part of the first graduating class from the ministry’s schools and are now pursuing higher education. This dinner was a special occasion for the students—they were dressed up, had their nails painted, and all wanted to get pictures taken with each other and our American team.

We had a buffet dinner and conversed with the students, learning about their majors and career aspirations, and then some of our team members spoke about life skills like interviewing for a job and working with a team.

After we ate, our team leader told the students that I am about to start university in the fall and asked them to give me advice on how to approach this new season of life. They had some great wisdom to share!

One young man stood up and told me that university can be a vineyard or a graveyard: one can experience tremendous growth; or one can lose focus, burn out, and give up. Which of these ends up happening, he said, largely depends on the peer groups one chooses to spend time with. Friends can encourage hard work or be a distraction from school.

Another student spoke up and quoted Romans 8:6, which says, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (ESV). Yet another quoted Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Someone else quoted 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Another guy told me to learn something from every course and use it to glorify God.

All this biblical advice was very encouraging to me, and my team enjoyed hearing these students share their hearts. I’m thankful for the time we spent with them, and I will remember what these friends told me as I start college in the fall.