Whether we are or are not religious, it is arguable that religion is a powerful force in our lives. We can look to religion to explain phenomena that capture our interest, such as love, hope, greed and evil. There are so many religions among us. At UCLA, one organization called InterVarsity Bruin Christian Fellowship calls out to everyone to learn about Christianity.

InterVarsity (IV) has its roots in a movement led by British university students in the 1870s. In the United States, the first IV chapter began in 1938 at the University of Michigan. Since then, thousands of students have become part of the organization to sustain IV’s mission to enable anyone to represent God’s kingdom.

At UCLA, IV has transitioned from simply an organization into a movement in which “every student is a witness (to the presence of God’s grace).” IV begins its “recruitment of new members” through its presence in the dorms. Though any student living in the dorms might be part of IV, there is a specific floor at each building that’s abundant with IV members. IV leaders on these floors will go around and introduce IV and how one might become a part of IV.

IV captures the interest and curiosity of so many people because its members are so inviting, friendly and kind. One reason someone might join IV is to find connections with others who share a common bond in God. Even someone who is a self-claimed atheist could become so curious in the workings of IV and God that he or she just might go to the meetings to see for himself or herself.

IV holds a very large group meeting called Catalyst every Thursday night. At Catalyst, there is prayer, thoughtful talks and bonding time with others. Each group also has something called Small Group, which meets on different days depending on the schedules of those in the group to discuss and study the Bible. The importance of the Bible as a way to connect to God and as an ancient and significant piece of literature cannot be understated. Illusions of the Bible show up everywhere, so it is good to have an idea of this great document so maybe when we read something that alludes to the Bible, we actually recognize and find a better understanding of what the text means. In addition to Catalyst and Small Group, there are Community Rooms throughout UCLA that are assigned to be open to everyone during most days and hours of the day.

One of the most life-altering events that IV holds is called Urbana, Student Mission Conference in which each student is “dared to meet God.” On the weekend of the conference, once new IV members meet God, they will find a new sense of belief and commit themselves to living the way God would have intended. Many students say that this event changes their lives forever.

Whether they do indeed meet God or they do not see Him at all, a desire for some sense of certainty is fulfilled. One of the verses that they study: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” will motivate them to look to the future and believe that nothing can bring them down when their minds are filled with faith.

As one IV member, Kris Rattivat, claims, “Over time, God has truly proven that through Him, all things are possible. If it were not for my involvement with IV, I would not have reached where I am right now, at UCLA and in my personal life.”

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