Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 23, 2024

Christian group offers staff thanks and prayers

By ELI WALLACH | December 5, 2013

Just three days before Thanksgiving on Nov. 25, student members of the Bethel Campus Fellowship (BCF) hosted an event dedicated to showing appreciation to those who work on the Homewood campus. The event, titled “Saved to Serve,” featured BCF members dispersing in three groups to different areas of the University in search of workers to whom they could give their gratitude.

“The purpose of this is event was to just reach out to the people whom we feel like go unappreciated and unnoticed on campus, which includes the janitors, the campus security members, those that sit inside the buildings and those who stand outside the buildings,” junior Felicia Onuma, welfare coordinator for the BCF chapter at Hopkins and one of the principle organizers of the event, said.

As a way of showing their appreciation, members of BCF prepared cupcakes to distribute to the workers whom they approached. In addition to these sweets, BCF members also provided spiritual support.

“We also gave them the verse Isaiah 65, verse 24, which basically talks about the fact that God hears their prayers even before they ask for anything and God knows their hearts and is willing to answer even before they call,” Onuma said. “And so we took prayer requests from them in the case that they were willing to give prayer requests. And sometimes we actually prayed for them on the spot as well.”

Many members of BCF reported that the event was successful.

“They were really appreciative of what we were doing,” Onuma said. “The ones that we met ... remarked that this was not something they were used to.”

In one case, senior and BCF Secretary Amanda Onyeweunyi stumbled upon a worker who last year. Onyeweunyi remembered the worker for having given her a ride across campus on a rainy day when she was dressed in formal attire for a presentation.

“I’m glad we went up to the car and got to reconnect with him and show him that he is appreciated,” Onyeweunyi said.

Onyeweunyi was not the only one happy about the encounter.

“He was very appreciative. He actually said that we made his night. So that was really fulfilling to hear that appreciation from him,” Onyeweunyi said. “He definitely felt under-appreciated by the students here, that people overlooked him. So he was really was glad to know that somebody noticed him.”

Maria Adebayo, president and founder of the BCF chapter at Hopkins, had the idea for the event two summers ago while she was working as an intern in the Office of Admissions located in Mason Hall.

“I just kept thinking about how I would pass them, and they would just be working tirelessly in the heat and everything,” Adebayo said. “And I thought ‘well, I need to one day just buy them cupcakes and just talk to them about God and show that I appreciate them.’”

However, at this time, Adebayo had not yet started the BCF chapter at Hopkins. BCF is a multinational organization dedicated to inspiring students to take on the values and messages of Christ. Adebayo created the group earlier this semester and is now in the process of gaining approval from the Student Government Association. The group meets on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in Mudd Hall.

“Bethel Campus Fellowship is dedicated to showing the love of Christ to people and just having people walk boldly in their walk with Christ, confidently each and everyday,” Adebayo said. “Its about a lifestyle. So its not just a religious experience — but it’s more cultural in that it’s all around you.”

Adebayo was also very happy with how last week’s event turned out.

“We were really able to touch people. The first person that we were able to talk to — she was about to cry, just because of us saying ‘thank you.’ Just being able to say ‘thank you’ truly goes a long way,” Adebayo said.

Adebayo reflected on the event further, emphasizing the importance of showing appreciation.

“We are always running to our classrooms, trying to get out of the cold. But they are always there. They are always suffering for us, sacrificing for us,” Adebayo said. “So the least that we can do, as an organization, is to give an hour of suffering along with them and say ‘thank you.’”

Adebayo also showed some disappointment with the level of awareness among Hopkins students about how hard people work to make sure Homewood functions smoothly. To raise awareness, Adebayo encouraged more students to become activists.

“Being an activist is not a job, it’s an attitude. It is what is in you. It’s a spirit so it is in you for every situation,” she said. “You just try to advocate for people all the time, and you are dedicated to being a change agent. . .Even if its a ‘thank you’ or if its writing a letter or if its making a petition, whatever it may be — that’s what we need to do.”

As for BCF, the group hopes to continue initiating events like this and is considering holding the next one to give support to the homeless in Charles Village.

“This is something that we definitely would like to keep doing,” Onuma said.

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