My name is Matt Snyder, and I have been a discipleship coach for The Salt Company this past spring semester at the University of Northern Iowa. I am now working with TSC as an intern for the summer and fall semester. I would like to share two stories that clearly demonstrate Gods hand at work through students and ministry leaders.
The first story is about a guy I met in a class I was taking in the fall of 2015. We had gotten to know each other pretty well over the course of the semester, due to time spent together and similar interests. I also had invited him to TSC on Thursday nights, although most of the time he could not make it due to prior commitments. It was not until the spring semester where we were able to consistently spend time together along with attending TSC more regularly. It was one specific Thursday night however, where the spirit was truly at work in his heart.
After listening to a sermon over purity the previous week, Stan Hayek had just finished speaking over relationships when he approached me after the worship had ended. With tear filled eyes, he began to confess the impurity in his life and the hate he had towards the repetitive nature of his actions. We did not have enough time to talk, so I suggested meeting at Panera early the following week. Again, it was the same somber and convicted look on his face, like that of a guilty man feeling the weight of his unlawful actions.
Even before we arrived, he sat in the passenger seat with tears rolling down his face. “I’m finished,” he said, “I don’t want anymore of this…I know there is more that satisfies the desires of my heart.” By God’s grace I was able to articulate the Gospel to him and discern his understanding. I was able to get him into a connection group where he was able to be in the community he needed, in order to grow in his walk and relationship with the Father. He will be one of our student leaders this coming fall and is truly excited to lead a group and disciple other men.
The second story I would like to share concerns a spring break trip I was able to plan and lead down to Columbia, Missouri for The Salt Company. The goal of the trip: to love the churches and community in Columbia, along with launching the first Salt Company on the University of Missouri campus. Thirty students from the three state schools in Iowa coughed up $120 and their spring break. They devoted six days to traveling five hours south, visiting local churches, picking up garbage along trashed ditches, cleaning a local churches property, and connecting with students on the UM campus.
We were able to bless the city as we helped clean it up, which has led to much praise and fruitful relationship with the city coordinators and workers. Additionally, we were able to connect with dozens of students on the university campus and, by God’s grace, around 45 students showed up to hear Gods word taught, the gospel shared, and connections made for the future Salt Company connection groups that would come in the fall of 2016.
Stan Hayek was heading the Salt Company celebration service and, through the number of students that showed up and the desire by the students on the trip, he was led to plan three additional trips down to the university to hold more celebration services. They were able to build upon the relationships made and connect with additional students on campus. Furthermore, the spring break trip strengthened the relationships between the students from the different Iowa state schools and help solidify students’ heart calling from God to transfer schools to the University of Missouri to help with the church planting.