Missionary Update: Robert Knuth
Happy Springtime from Michigan!
This email is a long time coming, so I'll cut right to the chase and catch you up to speed: despite the global pandemic and virtual semester, this was RUF Michigan's best one yet. Not only did we increase in size (average large group attendance was up 33%, an additional 9 ministry team members were added, and we doubled the amount of life group facilitators for next fall semester), but students are experiencing deep Christian community with each other and lives are being transformed before our eyes.
I'll make sure to give a brief personal update at the bottom of the email, but other than that, this email is devoted to student testimonies! Enjoy :)
"RUF has not only surrounded me with a deep sense of Christian community at Michigan but has intrinsically grown my faith as a first semester college student. RUF values intentionality, truth, creativity, and intellectual curiosity. The staff never fails to discuss thought-provoking questions that challenge students to make faith their own. With the ability to adapt to a covid semester through life groups, large groups, and covid friendly events, RUF has become more like a home away from home and a place where one can connect with others in a deeply meaningful way. I am excited to see how RUF continues to shape my life throughout college and couldn’t be more thankful for the resources and relationships it has already given me."
-Eleanor (2024) Oxford, MS
Growing up in a Christian family, I knew all the right and wrong answers from my parents and Sunday school. However, I never quite understood why I believed what I believed. I knew in practical terms what was right and wrong, but I was challenged heavily my first year of college to see if I believed the gospel truth for myself. I spent my first semester hopping around churches and Christian groups and never felt spiritually fed. I knew that I wanted to be surrounded by a supportive and open community that allows me to come as I am. RUF (Robert specifically) showed me through actions what grace and love are. I've always struggled with understanding what God's unconditional love meant for me, and how his grace is shown through people. Robert and Katherine have been the light of my college experience.
-Charlotte (2023) Boston, MA
“ It’s hard to express how grateful I am for the work that RUF has done on the University of Michigan campus and in my life. The people I’ve met through RUF have been nothing but supporting and kind, and a few of them have become my best friends in college. Especially as a freshman, it has been very difficult to make friends during these extraordinary times. Furthermore, having a Christian community to worship and live life with is a priceless gift at a large, secular university such as Michigan. Personally, I know that my faith and the faith of others have matured at college, and we owe it all to RUF.
Also, I cannot say enough about Robert and the job he has done ministering to students. He has become a mentor in my life, and is always willing to answer some of the hardest questions about Christianity and talk me through my own struggles. Robert’s generosity of spirit not only shines through within RUF, but also in how he spreads the Good News and interacts with the wider student population at Michigan. Joining RUF was one of best decisions I’ve made at college, and I appreciate this student fellowship each and every day."
-Steve (2024) Morristown, NJ
"God has used RUF to show me time and time again that He is faithful. I have no right to feel so connected and secure in my relationships with God and others, but I feel like I have a higher-quality community than ever before. I have people who wish me a happy birthday on a groupchat even though they barely know me, people who make me feel so incredibly seen and understood, people who challenge me to be better, and people who encourage me when I'm inevitably not enough. My whole life, I have prayed for this kind of Christian community, and He has answered my prayers. College can be incredibly isolating, but RUF is such a special place and an incredibly blessed presence on our campus. I am emotional as I write this because I am blown away by how far I've come since I said "okay, I guess" when I felt God calling me to Michigan.
To you who support RUF at UofM, I just want to say thank you. I hope that my experiences encourage you and that you will be reminded of the life-changing qualities of Christian fellowship. God bless!"
-Katie (2023) McKinney, TX
Update from the Knuth fam:
This past Monday evening (5/3), I had my 2nd ACL surgery in 4.5 years on my left knee. So as I write this, I'm currently in bed and immobile for at least a few more days.
To be honest, it's been a pretty sad few months. The injury occurred playing basketball with a bunch of students (you have to take outreach any way you can in a global pandemic!) on March 8th--so the past couple months have been building up to surgery. (The previous time I tore my ACL was two weeks into seminary, where I was also playing basketball! Safe to say: this former swimmer's pick up basketball career is over!) Fortunately, students are mostly gone and I can spend the downtime reading and preparing bible study content/sermon series material for the Fall semester.However, I (and my family) would very much covet your prayers. The pain is tolerable, but I miss doing the ordinary dad things and helping Katherine around the house. She will have the full burden of taking care of two kids under 3 for as long as I'm on crutches (up to 4-6 weeks!).
I look forward to being in touch sooner than last time (it's been months!), and until then, I'd love to touch base with as many of you as possible. Your friendship means so much. Thank you for all your support through the years. God has been kind to me through all that you have said and done in my life.