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Student Stories | University Christian Outreach - Ann Arbor


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Student Stories

eric olivero

Eric Olivero - Junior

Before coming to the University of Michigan, I knew I'd have to make every effort I could to stay rooted in my faith. I remember many times family members and other adults warning me about how common it is for young Christians to go off to college and flounder in or even forget their faith, especially at a place like Michigan. But I didn't want that to be me. I hoped I'd find the right group of people. Especially in the last few years of high school, it had been impressed upon me that who your close friends are really shapes who you become. I figured that there might not be that many Christians at U of M, but that there had to be some, and it would all be okay.

Well, God knew what I needed and it was amazing how quickly He got it to me. Less than a week after moving in my freshman year, I met another student (who is now a close friend) who told me about these prayer meetings that he'd go to with this community of people from all different Christian backgrounds, called University Christian Outreach. It sounded cool, so I went with him to the first prayer meeting of the year...and I was jolted.

I mean, it was sort of a weird experience for me in a way. The style and energy of the worship were different than what I was used to, and definitely amazing. The sincerity was at first overwhelming to me; it was evident that these people were passionate about seeking God...and I knew I wanted in. I still had some reservations about the style of worship and the way they did some things, mostly because it was different than the way I grew up. But seeing how everyone in UCO, though from several different types of traditions, could come together in one community so fruitfully made it clear to me that something had to be very right with the way they sought God and let Him work in them.

After getting more involved--and becoming more aware of the joys and benefits of Christian community--I began to realize that I was finding my home. I've been living with some of my UCO brothers in the dorms, and the evangelism we do and the fellowship we have is so life-giving. When we have Jesus Christ in common, we have something in common that is deeper and more essential than anything else could possibly be,and I praise God for that! I believe God has His hands securely around me and my brothers and sisters in UCO, and I'm excited for what He holds for the future--and the lives that will be changed.

dani wilson

Dani Wilson - Junior

Coming from a small, close-knit town, I had many concerns about attending a large, secular university. I struggled during the first few months of my time at Michigan trying to figure out who my friends would be, what I wanted to study, and, especially, where I belonged.  It didn't help that, although I claimed the Christian faith, I hadn't yet made my love for Jesus the number one priority in my life. 

Later in the fall semester, I had my first encounter with UCO after being invited to a prayer meeting by a friend.  To tell the truth, I was a little overwhelmed and confused at first, as I had never been exposed to charismatic worship before. By the end of the meeting, though, I found myself completely drawn in by the genuine love of the Lord that these people were showing, without any inhibition.  I could see how the Spirit was actively moving in this group, and I wanted to be a part of that; I wanted to know and love God deeply and I knew that the people in UCO would encourageme with this goal.  The second thing that struck me about UCO was the sense of community and authentic love that people showed for one another here.  The men and women I met welcomed me in and spoke with me as though they truly cared about my life, even though I had just met most of them.

As I became more involved in UCO, I not only began building relationships with my brothers and sisters in the community, but I also could see my relationship my God becoming deeper and more real in my day to day living.  Today, time spent with my women's group, bible study, and other events continue to encourage this growth.  This next summer I am excited to spend a few months in a women's summer household. 

The blessing that God has poured over my life the past two years is enough to let me know that this is His plan for me.  The friendships and memories I have made and the peace that the Lord has given me is enough to tell me that this is where I belong.  I know that the Spirit is working through UCO and I can't wait to see what plans He has for us.         


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