WSU students evangelizing about marriage

John Bergman, second from the left, was joined by other students in an evangelization effort Nov. 28 at Wichita State University. The sign says “We want to dialogue. What is marriage?” (Courtesy photo)

John Bergman, a student at Wichita State University, is moving forward with one of the diocesan Pastoral Plan’s Mission: To go forth faithfully to preach the Gospel to all God’s children and to evangelize today’s culture.

He said he began praying last semester and over the summer about ways to unite with his Christian brothers in the Navigator’s Group at WSU. The group primarily meets Thursday evenings for Bible study.

Bergman, who is involved with activities at the St. Paul University Parish at WSU and the Navigator’s Group, discerned that if he wanted to act on what he said the Holy Spirit was prompting him to do, he’d have to organize it himself.

A little help from his friends

“So I came up with the idea to get some friends from Nav’s, get some friends from St. Paul’s, and reserve a booth at the RSC or the Radigan Student Center. And just trying to have a charitable dialogue with random passers-by about any sort of pride issues. And so I came up with the question, What is marriage? It seems like a question that is not too emotionally charged.”

Bergman, a Bishop Carroll High School graduate, said he was nervous about hosting a booth about the topic because of the liberal nature of the student body at a university.

“But God kept tugging on my heart to go there and try it out,” he said. “And so I walked in the door and I feel completely unarmed, just absolutely defenseless. And I talked to her about reserving a booth. She’s asked, what’s your event? And I say, well, we’re going to do something similar to what the Protestant Christians do in the RSC as well, where they put up a question on a whiteboard, and they use that to strike up dialogues.”

Bergman said he was going to be completely honest and tell her what the question was going to be but she interrupted him and asked what date and the times he wanted.

A minor miracle

“I didn’t mention the question at all. So, okay, that’s a miracle. I’ll take it,” he said.

He and colleagues set up the booth and hosted interactions with passersby from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Bergman added that no one gave him and the others at the booth any trouble. About 10 students volunteered at the booth: seven from St. Paul’s and three Navigators.

He added that those at the booth were able to discuss the nature of marriage and perhaps plant seeds for them to ponder.

One of the best days of his life

“It was probably one of the best days of my life,” he said. “I’m really happy about it. It was something God had been placing on my heart for a while. It was one of those commands that God gives you, it seems to affect your discernment. It feels like one of those things where if you do it, if you fulfill God’s commands, that will unlock like the next step of your discernment.”

Bergman said he plans on organizing similar events next semester.

“This isn’t an ‘Ascension miracle’ where we look at Jesus going up into the sky and do nothing about it,” he said. “I want to make others aware that something like this is possible and that we need more souls to help with this sort of evangelization effort.”