By Hailey Koerperich,
Move-In Week is a week full of emotions. First are the parents, many of which who are sending their sons or daughters off for the beginning of their college careers, and then either in tow or running full-speed ahead are their children. Though hardly children anymore, these adults are moving into their new homes for the next nine months, and for some, the next four years as they begin life as a Panther. Students, amidst a sea of firsts, are learning to do their first loads of laundry, sharing an 8×8 dorm room for the first time, and preparing for life away from mom and dad for the first time in their entire lives. Salt Company leaders can often think back to those days and remember with great detail what some of those first few days looked like. Some knew before coming to college that they planned to be involved with a college ministry, some might have considered joining, and others had zero intentions of being involved with a ministry, much less considered following Jesus.
To potentially change the trajectory of a freshman’s four years of college and for some, the rest of their lives, Salt Cedar Falls took part in their first Mission Trip to Campus. The purpose was to cast wide nets and meet as many freshmen on campus as possible during Move-In Week. For those who could take part, they were covered in prayer and then sent out to the campus each day. Some spent time carrying furniture into dorm rooms, some played sand volleyball or basketball for hours, and a couple students even passed out over 400 Bomb Pops in an effort to meet students and hand them a Kickoff Card inviting them to either the Freshman Kickoff or the Fall Kickoff. It was an effective week as many friendships began to form and it ended with the reminder that our mission trip to campus is not to end after the first week, but to continue throughout the year and the rest of their lives as they live on mission for Jesus Christ.
It is an immense privilege and blessing to be able to kickoff Salt Company, both with the Freshman Kickoff and the Fall Kickoff, on the public campus of the University of Northern Iowa. Students gather on Lawther Field and hear the Gospel presented boldly and with incredible clarity. The Freshman Kickoff saw over 300 students gather on Sunday night for free pizza and a chance to connect with other freshmen students. Throughout that night, they get to hear stories from sophomore students who got connected with Salt Company in the previous year. One of those students was Nathan Borg, a sophomore. Nathan joined Salt Company after becoming friends with other students who attended Salt last year. He accepted Christ after Christmas of 2016 and saw Christ begin to radically change his life through the community he had found at Salt. Nathan is currently a first-year student leader and at the Freshman Kickoff, he sat on stage and told his story.
Student leaders attend kickoff with a sign informing students of when their Connection Groups will be held and where they’re hosting. Like other student leaders, Nathan, who had yet to attend a Salt Kickoff, arrived with his sign in hand to hopefully connect with students and with hopes of beginning to form a life-giving community centered around Christ with which he found last year. The Kickoff saw over 600 students come together to worship and hear the narrative of David and Goliath from Jordan Prihoda, Salt Company Co-Director. Following a powerful closing worship set, students had a chance to get connected in a Connection Group with one or two student leaders. Over 80% of students attending chose to get connected. Each week, these students will pile into the Union, in dorm rooms, or in apartments to study Scripture ahead of the Thursday night gathering and to imitate the kind of discipleship Jesus and the apostles modeled of doing life together. With great anticipation, the Salt Company looks forward to all that an extraordinary God might do through the lives of an ordinary staff, ordinary students leaders, and ordinary students this year!