Holy Spirit Story: Spiritual Parenting on a College Campus

Acts 1:8 (NIV)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Today’s Holy Spirit story is a first of its kind. The story was submitted by Joel Dement but he wrote it about his wife, Jamie. In doing so he has deeply honored his wife while witnessing to the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. You will be encouraged by this very practical story as it raises the challenges of a population among us at great risk–Generation Z (i.e., college students) and our desperate need for an army of spiritual parents to rise up around them. Below is the story in Joel’s own words and if you listen, in his own voice. 

This Holy Spirit story is a story of apostolic ministry. It involves my wife Jamie and how the Holy Spirit poured out his love for a student on the campus of a university where she works.

Jamie is a retired school teacher. After retirement she took a landscaping job at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas.

About a year ago, while at work, she struck up a conversation with one of the hundreds of students she sees walking the campus daily. Little did she know that this conversation would lead to a meaningful, routine check-in on her by this student.

During the course of a year, their brief hellos became moments of sharing and even prayer. Over time, Jamie found out that he was from out of state and really didn’t have the support of a close family nearby to share in his college experience.

Sometime later, on one of their daily visits, this student invited my wife to attend a concert which he was performing with the band. I don’t know that he really believed she would come to the event.

Well, she did. She shared with me that evening before leaving for the concert, the young man was visibly upset that his mother wouldn’t be able to make the trip to be there for this concert; and how she felt that going might fill a little bit of this gap.

Later that evening, Jamie sent me a selfie the young man took of them together after the event. The joy on his face was beyond what I can describe. 

Fast forward in time to Thursday, August 17, 2023. The university held a back-to-school orientation for the entire staff. Abilene Christian University is an NCAA division 1 school. I don’t know how many staff they have but the enrollment is around 5,000.

At the end of the president’s remarks during the convocation, he read an email from one of the students. It was from this same young man. In the email he wrote because of the Christian act of love displayed by my wife, filling the role of mother and family, it impacted his life in a way he couldn’t describe. My wife was brought to tears hearing the university president affirm her apostolic witness; and yes, it greatly impacted her life as well. She has made an example of being a witness to Jesus in everyday life; an example of a thin space, where his kingdom comes here on earth as it is in heaven.

I am blessed with a godly wife.


Abba Father! Thank you for this beautiful story of an ordinary witness of Jesus doing the everyday work of apostolic ministry. Thank you for how ordinary acts of love done in Jesus’s name become extraordinary moments of  bearing witness to him. Thank you for this powerful picture of spiritual parenting. Awaken us to our opportunities to do the same. We also want to pray for college students today, many of whom find themselves lost and feeling alone in new and unfamiliar places. Raise up witnesses around them to enfold them in encouragement and community. Awaken us to such opportunities. Quicken our love and increase our boldness and courage to engage. We long to be your witnesses.  Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


How does today’s story encourage and inspire you? Have you considered the possibilities Jesus offers you to be a spiritual parent to a young person? If you are in the emerging generations (Gen Z and Alpha) would you be willing to pray for and seek out spiritual parenting from persons in older generations? 


Today let’s sing our Saturday song, “Sanctuary.” Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving I’ll be a living sanctuary for you. Such a profound prayer of consecration. This is our story dear friends. This is our song. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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P.S. Holy Spirit Stories Welcome

I would love it if you would send a story of faith from your life we might use on a Saturday in the future. We will be glad to attach your name or a pseudonym or anonymity—it’s up to you. It can be a story of coming to faith, a story of transformation, a story of healing, deliverance, suffering and sufficient grace, family reconciliation, prodigal returns, answered prayer, and so forth. A word count of 500–800 words works well. We can’t guarantee publication, but we assure you of our prayerful discernment. You can reply to this email with your story and it will come to me.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

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