Blake Pokley is a senior at Oakland University. This is a story he wrote to inspire others to help someone he found in need. This story is a beautiful example of seeing people through the eyes of Christ, and the power of deep friendships between kingdom workers like Blake, Phill, and Kyle. On my way to work Wednesday, I was on Baldwin Road in Lake Orion and traffic was backed up.
Justin arrived at Oakland from Beijing in the fall of 2014 as a Master’s student in Computer Science. Like many international students, he did not have friends, family, or familiar faces greeting him as he arrived. He knew a place where he could live with a roommate, but beyond that, he did not have anything more than the clothes in his suitcase. This same fall semester that Justin arrived, Cultivate was working to find ways to serve incoming international students at Oakland University.
Kyle came to Oakland as a transfer student in fall of 2016, following two years of college athletics at a Christian college. Kyle knew a handful of Christian friends at Oakland, but didn’t have a direction for his faith in relation to his campus. He was drawn to Cultivate’s desire to develop kingdom workers, and he entered the Cultivate process about 3 week into his first semester at Oakland. As part of his first semester within Cultivate, Kyle joined a men’s group, went to a weekly class designed to deepen his understanding of faith topics, met one on one with a mentor, and surveyed the opportunities available through campus organizations and ministries that would help grow God’s Kingdom.
Identity Formation (Before High School): DC grew up in a suburban, white, Catholic family. But, it was clear that church was about religion and not relationship and his parents divorced when he was 7. He was the third of three siblings and his relationship with his old brother grew increasingly hostile after the divorce. Though he knew his parents loved him and both remained present in his life, his father often seemed to put work first and wasn’t always able to his kids.
Kelly started with Cultivate in its first semester in 2013 as a freshman at Oakland. Coming from a missionary family, Kelly knew a lot about her faith, the bible, and the importance of reaching out. However, even with an incredible family, she still had her obstacles to overcome. A fear of missing out on God’s promptings for her life was one such obstacle. As a successful student-athlete in high school, Kelly had a plan and direction for her life, but she was afraid of one day waking up and thinking she had missed or left God’s plan some place in the distant past.
Brian became involved with Cultivate in February 2016 after being recommended by a local church to connect with Cultivate leaders at Oakland. This was one of his first times coming back to a church since he began college in 2014, and he didn’t exactly know what to expect from a meeting with ministry leaders, especially at Oakland, where he was extremely well-known and involved. Brian had grown up as a Christian, going to church with his mom nearby his home in westside Detroit.