Bruce was a 19 year-old Jesus freak. Convicted of his sins through reading the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, Bruce traveled to South America to serve God's people, the Motilone Indians. Enduring dysentery, hepatitis, and a chronic problem with parasites, Bruce didn't have the backing of an international mission organization, but instead felt the Lord's favor on his work, compelled to take joy in the seasons of suffering for the sake of the Gospel.
Bruce's suffering eventually won the favor of a native he later named Bobby. Despite being shot with an arrow and almost losing his life to a ritual sacrifice by the chief of the tribe, Bruce continued to minister to the tribal village and work to establish a Christian church in the middle of a godless place.
This young man's story continues to live on in the book Bruchko. Bruce is known to receive requests to tell his story in college and university settings. Despite Bruce's middle-class Lutheran upbringing, he feels out of place returning to his western homeland, longing to return to the seemingly uncomfortable lifestyle he's adopted in South America.
Bruce's story reminds me of a passage of Augustine's City of God in which the Saint comments:
A good servant would regard the will of God as his great resource, and he would be enriched in his mind by close attendance on God's will; nor would he grieve if deprived in life of those possessions which he would soon have to leave behind at his death...I enjoin the rich of this world not to feel proud, and not to fix their eyes on the uncertainty of riches, but on the living God who supplies us liberally with all things for our good enjoyment.
Saint Augustine emplores his reader to take the many good things for enjoyment God has given and do good works that will establish a solid foundation that gives a foothold for true life, focusing on God the Giver rather than the gift.
This is what we believe it looks like to live in God's favor. Not allowing pride to dominate our motivation in service, but simple humility driven by a realization of the One True God. This is the aim of Hillcrest in the second semester, providing students with an education of who God is, what Jesus Christ has done and how the Holy Spirit is empowering us to live a life of significance in humble service of Jesus Christ.