Fuel for Finals: a GCU tradition unlike any other
Story by Jeannette Cruz
Photos by David Kadlubowski
GCU News Bureau
Stress. Marriage. Tests. Cancer. Moving. Friends.
Those were just some of the prayer requests placed on dozens of parent volunteers Thursday at Grand Canyon University.
“It feels so amazing to be able to acknowledge everything that goes on in our daily lives outside of school, too,” said Maia Huggett, a biology major.
The event – Fuel for Finals, a campus tradition hosted by the Office of Student Engagement twice a year that invites students to take a break between studying and exams to enjoy treats, drinks and get some encouragement – was a joyous display of love and much needed prayer.
Junior Abbie Henderson said she felt blessed to see her parents in the crowd praying over her peers, especially during “such an overwhelming time.”
“There’s a ton of tests, a lot of high stakes projects, assignments, and it’s also move-out time,” Henderson said. “There’s so much on the line right now, and this gives us something to look forward to.”
Volunteers were spread out on the Promenade and on the walkway to The Grove distributing Starbursts with scripture cards and lemonade. Students also could write a prayer request on a note card and put it on a chalkboard.
Henderson’s parents, Sheri and Todd, took the day off to remind students that they are not alone.
“I remember what it was like to face finals and the stress that comes from that,” Todd said. “They’re just glad to see a friendly face and feel a connection from a parent figure.”
Said Sheri, “A quick prayer, a hug, a word of encouragement – that’s what we’ve seen here today.”.
Sheri was standing next to another parent when a prospective student approached them and asked if they were “the prayer people.”
He talked about his hope to get into the University, try out for the basketball team and the need to get his heart right with the Lord.
“It was probably the sweetest moment I’ve had,” Sheri said.
Lisa Kowalski, a returning volunteer, prayed for a student getting married in 89 days, a teacher conducting a social experiment and several graduating seniors. She was most excited to see familiar faces and to hear about the impact of their prayers.
“Those of us who are here have a love for interceding for those who Christ loves, and it is encouraging to see and to hear that prayers were answered, healings came, answers came, blessings in abundance came and that is the greatest gift that we get,” said Kowalski.
For Judy Clissold, the volunteering opportunity was a chance to spread joy on campus.
“There’s a lot of focus and intention here today,” said Clissold. “People are coming to our tents with a need, and a lot of it is not just related to finals. “It is written – ‘the joy of the Lord is your strength’ – there’s nothing in this world that can satisfy you more than that.”
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or [email protected]