Attending university grew student’s faith ‘exponentially’

Grace Hutchison - The Yellow Jacket

Commitment to God was not always central in the life of last Sunday’s Upper Room speaker Jarrett “Ollie” Choi, sophomore communication major.

Though he had been a Christian his whole life, Choi said, full devotion to God began about three years ago.

“I decided to commit to God my senior year of high school. I was struggling to read the bible and pray; you know going to church was just not my thing.”

However, Choi said coming to Waynesburg University and experiencing the community grew his faith exponentially.

“It’s such a great environment and atmosphere to share my testimony and my faith. They [Waynesburg community] didn’t judge that, they helped and encouraged me through the struggle.”

Choi said Joshua Sumpter, assistant chaplain and instructor of biblical and ministry studies, has been a catalyst for understanding and growing in his faith.

“My faith was like 20-30% before coming here. Now I’m 80% sure about my faith because there’s no 100%,” he said. “Josh Sumpter taught a New Testament course, that helped me a lot. I wasn’t a big bible person, but now I see the bible, more of what God’s telling us to do and the path He has us on.”

Choi said he reached out to Harrison Scott, junior testimony coordinator for Upper Room, to speak the night of April 14. because of a desire to reach to students in the midst of their struggles and to offer encouragement.

Choi, who used to live in South Korea, also said that being from a different country brings a different and interesting aspect.

Sumpter says a highlight of Upper Room is the opportunity to listen in on the journey each student has been on.

“[Choi] has definitely been on a journey where he has had to trust the Lord, and where God has taken him on new adventures that he probably never would have dreamed of. I was also impressed with his honesty and thoughtfulness with his background, his conversations with his mother and ultimately his desire to trust God and grow in faith through his story.”

Having been on the Upper Room worship team for over a year, Choi said the environment is one also conducive to fellowship and growth.

“We share a lot of things together faith-wise. I think it’s really special that Upper Room members can share like a best friend. They’re here for worshipping God and make it a better atmosphere for other people to worship God,” he said. “I see the environment, people singing together, jumping around me and crying out. They change me and touch my heart and every weekend the Holy Spirit is with us, and that changes me.”

Sumpter hopes Upper Room will always be an avenue for changing people’s hearts.

“What are people learning about Jesus leaving Upper Room because of your story? That’s our ultimate hope, is that it’s God using students as vehicles to proclaim the truth, to proclaim His faithfulness and to proclaim the good news.”

Choi hopes to have the opportunity to impart more encouragement through Upper Room before he graduates, especially the reality of God’s love.

“This time I was focusing more on my past and how to commit to God, but my life is not just the past, there’s present and future. I want to talk about the present, the right now,” he said. “I wanted to encourage people that you’re not the only one behind, you’re not the only one struggling. There’s a chance. You may have had a rough past, but God still loves you. Struggle doesn’t mean anything to God; He still meets us all the time.”