Every Monday seven girls follow their dean, Kendra Grothmann, to the Viking Cafe. Peggy, a waitress who always wears shorts, greets them with a smile, sometimes shouting a greeting to the group over the booths of old men sipping coffee and turning pages in yesterday's papers. The girls pull up worn chairs and set their Bibles next to menus as they open notebooks and flip pages in their Bibles to the book of Esther. The group builds confidence in their faith as they open their Bibles in public, reading God’s word aloud.
Being apart of this study myself, I have become more confident and encouraged in my faith. It is more than just a Bible study. We admire Esther as we study the reality of a strong woman surrounded by powerful men. The book of Esther communicates extreme faith and trust in the Lord, but for many in the study they admire Esther's confidence amidst the many hardships that were thrown into her life.
Our group notes that Esther’s faith caused her to look outwardly towards the Jews. In reflecting on the story, we see that God’s word causes us to think outwardly about others. As the last cups of coffee are filled and the checks arrive, we ask each other, “Who am I going to bless this week?”
“We wanted not just to encourage each other in our words and actions,” Faith Tonneson started saying, speaking of her Monday morning Bible study. “But encourage each other by reading God’s word together.”
In the boys dorm, Erick Sede, one of the boys deans, shared how God is using his love for his brothers in Christ to teach God’s word in the dorm. Every night after curfew Erick leads a discussion-based small group on a devotional by Josh Mcdowell. “Right now I am mentoring them. Later on, the students can do that by themselves,” Erick said, describing the training he’s giving students in leading small groups. Erick teaches by example, sharing his goals for the group. He is encouraging the boys to lead their own groups as a result of attending his small group.
Erick opens up the small group to everyone. He shared, “There is always at least one new person who shows up each week.” His heart goes out towards those students who attend the small group and never heard about Christianity and the Bible before.
Students in Erick’s study go out of their way to spend time together, much like the group meeting at the Viking Cafe. Whether students put down the pencil and turn off their desk lamps, leaving homework on the table to study the Bible with Erick; or students wake up to a 6am alarm to meet in the Viking Cafe, God’s word is unifying. Tara Ferenczy, one of the girls meeting at the Viking Cafe Monday mornings said, “Friendships made in God are friendships made to last a lifetime”.