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2009 Conversations

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2002 Conversations

Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)

His people and His presence

(February 18, 2001)

Alicia Chole has been involved with campus missions since 1983. She spent seven years as co-director of the University of Texas Chi Alpha in Austin and has been part of the national Chi Alpha staff since 1997. Chole spoke recently with Ashli O’Connell, assistant editor.

Evangel: Tell me about your past as an atheist.

Chole: I sincerely believed that God was created by mankind to help fill the gaps in knowledge that science and reason would never be able to fill. For me, truth was dead, God had never lived, life was full of pain, and death was the end of life. Even with wonderful, loving parents, I seriously considered suicide as a teen. During those years I began to be very offended when others declared the existence of an all-powerful God who obviously chose to permit pain instead of prevent it.

Evangel: What made you change your mind?

Chole: God changed my mind by interrupting my life with two surprises: His people and His presence. My first day at a new high school, two girls came up to me and introduced themselves as Christians. I sarcastically asked them if they wanted an award. These two decided they were going to be my friends whether I liked it or not. They were able to give me what I really needed — not answers, but genuine friendship. I call it the present of presence. And because God does exist, He was able to echo through their humanity. Something inside of me began to awaken.

My friends were terribly discouraged when I still graduated an argumentative atheist. But weeks before beginning college I reluctantly found myself in a small church in Illinois. The music began and that was it – my life was suddenly and supernaturally interrupted. I have no idea what else was happening in that service. For two hours I had a Spirit-to-spirit encounter with the living God — the God who pursues those who deny Him.

Evangel: How did your college experience affect your newfound faith?

Chole: College was wonderful soil for growth. Every time I would say, "I believe," someone would ask, "Why?" God was committed to keeping me by the power of His Spirit, through the love of the local church, and through an incredible Chi Alpha ministry that discipled me and grounded me in God’s Word.

Evangel: Tell me about your ministry today.

Chole: I’m wife, mommy, networker, speaker and want-to-be writer. My husband and I are a team in ministry. He facilitates international student ministry nationwide, and I work with college graduates. Students graduate with degrees and skills that God views as harvest tools. Through Assemblies of God Foreign Missions and Home Missions, I link graduates with global opportunities to creatively serve our needy world. Additionally, I minister at conferences and retreats.

Evangel: What advice do you have for young mothers who have a heart for ministry?

Chole: Rest in — don’t rush through — each season of life. I question whether Jesus defines ministry the way we do today. Throughout the Gospels, when Jesus called individuals, the focus of His call wasn’t a place or even an activity – it was a Person. The primary focus of His call on people’s lives was himself. He said, "Come and follow Me." In addition to being first, Jesus longs to be central in our lives. He longs to be our center of gravity in all our many roles — as a mom, as a wife, as a neighbor.

It’s so easy for us as a church to applaud places and positions. We can assume that certain activities or roles are more valuable to God than others. But God doesn’t applaud position; He applauds obedience. His delight, love and favor equally rest on all who follow Him in obedience, regardless of whether obedience leads them to hidden places or public places, to the marketplace and/or to the home. The issue isn’t where we are but who we followed to get there.

May God help us to treasure each season obedience leads us to.

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