(February 18, 2001)
Alicia Chole has been involved with campus missions
since 1983. She spent seven years as co-director of the University
of Texas Chi Alpha in Austin and has been part of the national Chi
Alpha staff since 1997. Chole spoke recently with Ashli OConnell,
Tell me about your past as an atheist.
Chole: I sincerely believed that God was created by mankind
to help fill the gaps in knowledge that science and reason would never
be able to fill. For me, truth was dead, God had never lived, life
was full of pain, and death was the end of life. Even with wonderful,
loving parents, I seriously considered suicide as a teen. During those
years I began to be very offended when others declared the existence
of an all-powerful God who obviously chose to permit pain instead
of prevent it.
Evangel: What made you change your mind?
Chole: God changed my mind by interrupting my life with two
surprises: His people and His presence. My first day at a new high
school, two girls came up to me and introduced themselves as Christians.
I sarcastically asked them if they wanted an award. These two decided
they were going to be my friends whether I liked it or not. They were
able to give me what I really needed not answers, but genuine
friendship. I call it the present of presence. And because God does
exist, He was able to echo through their humanity. Something inside
of me began to awaken.
My friends were terribly discouraged when I still graduated an argumentative
atheist. But weeks before beginning college I reluctantly found myself
in a small church in Illinois. The music began and that was it
my life was suddenly and supernaturally interrupted. I have no idea
what else was happening in that service. For two hours I had a Spirit-to-spirit
encounter with the living God the God who pursues those who
Evangel: How did your college experience affect your newfound
Chole: College was wonderful soil for growth. Every time I
would say, "I believe," someone would ask, "Why?"
God was committed to keeping me by the power of His Spirit, through
the love of the local church, and through an incredible Chi Alpha
ministry that discipled me and grounded me in Gods Word.
Evangel: Tell me about your ministry today.
Chole: Im wife, mommy, networker, speaker and want-to-be
writer. My husband and I are a team in ministry. He facilitates international
student ministry nationwide, and I work with college graduates. Students
graduate with degrees and skills that God views as harvest tools.
Through Assemblies of God Foreign Missions and Home Missions, I link
graduates with global opportunities to creatively serve our needy
world. Additionally, I minister at conferences and retreats.
Evangel: What advice do you have for young mothers who have a
heart for ministry?
Chole: Rest in dont rush through each
season of life. I question whether Jesus defines ministry the way
we do today. Throughout the Gospels, when Jesus called individuals,
the focus of His call wasnt a place or even an activity
it was a Person. The primary focus of His call on peoples lives
was himself. He said, "Come and follow Me." In addition
to being first, Jesus longs to be central in our lives. He longs to
be our center of gravity in all our many roles as a mom, as
a wife, as a neighbor.
Its so easy for us as a church to applaud places and positions.
We can assume that certain activities or roles are more valuable to
God than others. But God doesnt applaud position; He applauds
obedience. His delight, love and favor equally rest on all who follow
Him in obedience, regardless of whether obedience leads them to hidden
places or public places, to the marketplace and/or to the home. The
issue isnt where we are but who we followed to get there.
May God help us to treasure each season obedience leads us to.