BRCLM Lagniappe, May 2018

The Walk of a Lifetime

The Walk of a Lifetime

Helping Students Stay on the Path of Righteousness

For young adults, the college years are full of excitement. It’s a time for emotional growth, independence and new experiences. But it also presents a maze of challenges and temptations that is hard to navigate. One great irony in this unique time of life is that many non-religious students find themselves searching for spiritual fulfillment while many Christian students find themselves falling away from their faith.

At Louisiana State University, LSU Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) appeals to both mindsets. With a goal of connecting people to Christ, the organization empowers students to embrace their faith and share it with others. Joining LSU Cru ensures that every student will become part of a strong and welcoming faith community and will always know others who follow Christ.

Staff member Ali Enos says Campus Crusade changed her life when she was a student at LSU. She is grateful, she says, that in her 18 years working with students, she has been given so many opportunities to influence the decisions that will impact their lives forever. “My vision is to be used by God to win students to Christ, build them up to be disciples, and send them out to win and train others,” she said.

A unique approach
Cru focuses on three groups:

  • A catch-all group that is open to anyone who seeks to explore their faith, study the Bible or ask questions in a safe environment.
  • A Greek-wide group that brings together sorority and fraternity members to discuss how faith and Greek life intersect.
  • Impact, a group for African-American students and their unique needs and experiences.

Students in all three groups study the Bible together. (Cru hosts 12 Bible studies each week.) They also enjoy “swaps” or “socials with a purpose” such as game nights and parties held at university dorms. It’s here that current members have the chance to meet new students who might be interested in Cru.

Struggles old and new
Enos says students struggle with the usual temptations such as alcohol and premarital sex, but in recent years, she has noticed more anxiety and depression related to social media.

“In my generation, if a bunch of friends got together and didn’t invite you, you might never know about it. But today, everything in on social media, so if you’re left out, you know about it. It’s hurtful. And young people can’t seem to get a break from it. They’re always scrolling, looking to see how many ‘likes’ or views they got. It really affects their self-confidence.”

Brianne Gilbert is a recent graduate of LSU, and leads Impact, along with Joseph Holmes. “We want African American students to embrace who they are,” she said, “while they practice their faith.”

She works especially hard to help upper classmen who are gearing up to go out into the real world.” They are trying to make good decisions, and it’s a good time to get back to the basics of their faith,” she said. “So we help them with that. We talk about the things that worry them. We study the book A Purpose-Driven Life. We study the Scriptures for guidance on living a good life.”

Gilbert was also involved with Cru during her college years, and is happy for the chance to give back in her own college community. She says she enjoys seeing students grow in their faith. But fun is just as important.

“The men recently organized a cookout so they could fellowship with each other,” she said. “The women had a sleepover, which was a great way to strengthen our relationships with each other. We also do old-school game nights just for fun.”

Service is important, too. Impact members are partnering with a local middle school to help tutor students in math and reading next year. And they will also host a weekly Bible study for high school athletes.

Faith and identity
“Connecting young people with Christ is so important,” said Enos. “Now more than ever, they need to understand that their identity comes from their relationship with Christ, not from other people. And there are so many things they can do to keep their faith strong — spend time with God on a daily basis, read the Bible, pray and really listen to what God is saying, and seek out friends who encourage you in your faith and hold you accountable for your actions.”

“It is going to be a struggle sometimes. But if you know the truth and keep the faith, you will be steady and secure as a Christian. We all need to surround ourselves with those who help lead us in the right direction. It makes the journey so much easier.”

For more information, visit the website at

In our next issue, we will feature a student ministry group at Southern University. If you are involved with a college ministry, let us know at

On the Move
LSU CRU offers many travel and opportunities for students:

  • Winter conference: a week-long event that offers fellowship and learning during the winter break.
  • Summer mission: a 6- to 8-week mission trip with stateside and international destinations.
  • Summer trip to Italy: a special partnership that takes place in Bologna, Italy for 5 to 6 weeks.

Ali Enos has worked with LSU Cru for 18 years.

Bri Gilbert works with African American students through the impact program of LSU Cru.

Impact students hold completed ‘vision boards.’
Bri Gilbert works with African American students through the Impact program of LSU Cru.
Enos leads a study designed for Greek students. Here, her sorority group is pictured.
Enos, second from left, with a group of young women on a recent mission trip to Italy.
Healthy Life, September 2016

Sisters Serve as Role Models to Help Kids ‘Be the Best They Can Be’

by Ivy Hamilton, YMCA Marketing Intern
Kourtney and Kayley Williams.
Kourtney and Kayley Williams.

Twin sisters Kourtney and Kayley Williams are self-proclaimed “kids at heart.” That’s why landing summer jobs as YMCA camp counselors was the perfect fit. The Y prefers to call its counselors role models, a title that fits Kourtney and Kayley well. Both sisters said it is important for role models to be respectful and understanding of the campers. “I try to be myself and encourage the kids to the same,” said Kourtney. At such a young age, kids are very impressionable. “The kids look up to us and almost always want to copy what we do. That’s why it’s important to be good examples, good role models,” Kayley said.

Although they were interviewed separately, when each sister was asked who her role model was, she immediately named her mother. Kourtney and Kayley’s mother is their symbol of strength and perseverance. She became pregnant at the young age of 20, but never let it slow her down. After giving birth to two beautiful baby girls, their mother returned to school to finish her nursing degree. As college students themselves, Kourtney and Kayley said they admire their mothers’ hard work, determination and unconditional love.

Kayley Williams
Kayley Williams

Both twins attend Southeastern Louisiana University and are on track to graduate soon. Kourtney is a mass communication major and hopes to one day be a television reporter. Kayley is an early childhood education major with dreams of becoming a teacher following graduation. She says working with the children at the Y has been great practice. “She’ll be a great mom, too!” chimed in Brieya, a camper in Kayley’s group.

This is the sisters’ second year serving as role models at the Y. The girls are identical twins and joked saying that both years, the adults have had more difficulty telling them apart than the campers. “They’re very attentive; they usually can tell us apart by our nail color or book sacks,” said Kourtney. Even though they are in charge of different groups, (Kourtney has boys ages 4 and 5, while Kayley has girls ages 6 and 7) the sisters enjoy working together and love to exchange stories at the end of the day.

Kourtney Williams
Kourtney Williams

“I want to do my best to give the kids a memorable summer,” said Kayley. “It’s important to me that they have as much fun as possible.” The twins said they both enjoy regular camp activities like swimming and field trips, but their absolute favorite is a game called “Drip Drip Drop,” a spin on Duck Duck Goose, reserved for Fun Fridays. Instead of patting each other on the head, the campers take turns dripping water on one another, but the “goose” gets a real cool down when the whole cup of water is dumped on him or her. “The kids look forward to it all week, and so do we,” exclaimed Kourtney.

Even when they’re not at work, Kourtney and Kayley like to hang out with their co-workers, or as they affectionately call it, “the Y fam,” and every Wednesday, the twins spend time with their real family, too. “We all go to our great-grandmother’s house, and she cooks for all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. It’s great quality time together.” Like many other college girls, they also enjoy watching TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Gossip Girl on Netflix during their down time.

The YMCA’s Christian Principles are defined as love, respect, honesty, responsibility and service, something the twins were drawn to when initially looking for summer jobs. “We want to be the best role models we can be, so that the kids will be the best they can be.”