Revival stirs spiritual renewal under tent

A committee planned the long-awaited event for nearly a year, and the annual tent revival finally came to manifestation this month. The experience featured a guest worship band and a speaker who came to shake up the spiritual climate.

The campus community considered this year a success, even though stormy weather caused the last two nights of the three-day meeting to be held in Walton Chapel.

Despite the break with tradition, students had a positive reaction to the event.

Sophomore nursing major Kia Torres was on the Revival Steering Committee.

“Although we would’ve loved to have Revival all three days in the tent like tradition, Revival is not defined by a tent. Revival is defined by the presence of God and open hearts.”

Even with the last-minute change in course, the meetings were not ruined for Torres.

“I felt God move in ways I never thought possible. That’s why I love Revival so much. My freshman year,  it caused me to reflect on my relationship with God and make some much needed changes. I loved seeing everyone on their groups being open and talking and praying together.

“It was amazing. It definitely helped my spiritual life. It made me closer to God,” freshman marketing major Jessica Picathly said.

Freshman Savannah Davis enjoyed Revival as well.

“I went the last day. I think the speaker was hilarious, and he kept us really interested .… You could feel God working in that room,” she said.

For Davis, the high point was the sense of community the services built and the atmosphere of togetherness fostered among students.

“I liked when we split up into groups and talked and fellowshipped with our friends.”

This year’s speaker was a youth minister known for preaching at church camps around Texas. He has also made appearances at UMHB on a few other occasions. His name is Douglas Runkles, but people who have heard him speak know him by something different—Runks.

He opened his first talk by explaining the nickname.

“My parents did not name me Runks because that would be stupid,” he said. “I don’t go by Doug … Doug is a verb,” he joked. “I dug a ditch, I dug a hole…. I feel arrogant if I introduce myself as Doug because, ‘I’m Doug. People dig me.’”

In his gregarious, humorous style, he paced the stage energetically, recounting stories from his life and the lives of people he knows, explaining how biblical principles can practically be applied to every situation.

Runkles talked about addiction, his own struggles and the different ways people try to distract themselves from their personal troubles.

“When we face a tough time in our lives, we want it gone,” he said. “We don’t care how we get rid of it…. We’ll find a way to get rid of it. Sometimes we’ll use terrible things to medicate our pain.”

After addressing the problem, he offered hope of a brighter future. Runkles said God is saying to those who are struggling, “…you’ll trust me, if you’ll depend on me, I’m enough. I’ll get you through.”

The students responded well to the event. For many, it’s a time they look forward to every spring.

Davis said, “It was amazing, and everyone should try and go next year.”

Author: Antonio Hebert

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