Feeding the hungry

Student shares how leadership can initiate action

Michael Herrera-Teran is a junior theology major. As a part of a public evangelism class, he and other students spoke at the annual InTents worship series this spring. 

 

Public speaking has always seemed less important to me than taking tangible action toward a cause, but I’ve come to enjoy the process of inspiring that action. As a student in Professor Pedrito Maynard Reid’s public evangelism class, I had the opportunity to speak at the annual InTents program this spring and share about how Jesus calls us to fulfill the hunger of those around us. 

InTents is a week-long hub for students to connect on the Walla Walla University campus that has been led by students for over 25 years. In the form of outdoor gatherings each evening of the week, InTents works to modernize our approach to an evangelistic series. Student speakers focus on fleshing out portions of the Bible in a way that is relevant to us as students and as members of a greater community. Our goal this year was to collaborate with local clubs and organizations to let students know that they are not alone. 

I chose to title my talk “Hungry for More.” I explored Luke’s remix of Jesus’s sermon on the mount, where Luke focuses on marginalized groups who were physically and metaphorically hungry. Jesus calls us to work to satisfy the hunger of those around us. Jesus will fulfill our hunger in the end, but we have a chance to be a part of that effort in our day to day endeavors. 

Feeding the hungry is a powerful way to build community and connection. In my talk, I shared about my mom’s experience coming to the United States from Mexico. Though she faced many struggles of her own, she was able to feed others along the way. I remember sitting around the dinner table as a child with complete strangers she had invited for a meal. By the time the meal was finished, they had become friends. 

The process of preparing my talk showed me the importance of leadership both in my own spiritual life and in sharing with others. As a student leader, you have the opportunity to be a positive influence as a peer, which I think can help make it feel accessible to students. Being a leader in this way has pushed me to find more ways to get involved. I hope to serve with the local immigrant coalition this summer and begin to contribute to prison ministry. 

Leadership means outreach. The purpose of InTents was to help people know that coming together can be a powerful way to cope with the stresses in our lives. Choosing to be with people and serving their needs can help connect the gaps in our society and foster greater empathy. It’s something I will always strive for.

Posted May 29, 2024.

Large tent on lawn
Michael Herrera-Teran
Michael Herrera-Teran
Students singing inside tent