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College students take up their pens, connect with Presbyterian Manor residents

Members of Christian Campus Fellowship meet every Thursday for Catalyst, a worship service.

The Christian Campus Fellowship at Missouri University of Science and Technology has a long tradition of volunteering their time to benefit the residents at Rolla Presbyterian Manor

“We’ve always been able to serve in a way that was more in person, face-to-face,” said John Teter, a junior studying civil engineering and the president of the Christian Campus Fellowship at MST.

Pat Williams reads a note she received from her pen pal.

In past years, members of the group have visited Presbyterian Manor to play board games or sing hymns. When John reached out to see how they could be of service during the pandemic, Activities Director Noah Rhoades suggested letter-writing.

Noah collected the names of residents who were interested in having a pen pal from Christian Campus Fellowship, and John has delivered letters to Presbyterian Manor weekly since the beginning of the fall semester. More than 20 college students have corresponded with our residents over the past few months.

“We felt the best way to be able to serve, and to stay in contact with important members of the community, was to write letters,” John said.

Many of the residents have responded to their college pen pals with thankful, encouraging notes. One of the things John has enjoyed about his own pen pal relationship is sharing scripture back and forth.

“I also like to write about things that have happened in my life recently, and I like to know what’s happening in their life, so I ask questions,” he said. “I want them to know that we’re all thinking about them.”

Christian Campus Fellowship was founded in the 1970s. With more than 150 members, it is now the largest student group at MST. Many of the members live in one of the Christian Campus Fellowship houses, and they worship together every Thursday night.

“We’re blessed to have quite a large presence on campus, and I hope that continues,” John said.

As much as John and the other members of Christian Campus Fellowship have enjoyed their correspondence, they are looking forward to resuming in-person visits.

“I know the residents enjoyed the hymns we used to sing,” he said. “I really hope to get that back up and running soon.”

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