Text, Toast and Good Talks

It’s 8:30 p.m., and a group of students huddle around two computers in the McCabe Hall conference room, and frantically discuss questions about God and faith as more questions trickle in.

For the fifth year in a row, InterVarsity, an interdenominational, Christian Campus Ministry group, puts on Text a Toastie, when students across campus can phone in to a Google number, and ask a question about religion or faith.  In return, they are brought a cheese or Nutella sandwich, grilled to perfection, along with the response. Chris Ni, a junior in the College of Engineering, says this InterVarsity tradition is one of the reasons he became involved in
the group.

He says he phoned in and asked, “How do you experience God on a different level than where we are right now?” When he was brought the “toastie,” InterVarsity members asked if he wanted to join the team. “Not gonna lie, I knew the answer, … and I wanted the sandwich,” he jokes. Today, he is on the leadership team for the Asian American Chapter
of InterVarsity.

Josh Green, the InterVarsity campus minister, is a Marquette alumnus. In 2015, it was time for him to come back to Marquette.  “Text a Toastie is one of the more creative ways people can know (Intervarsity) can exist,” he says.

Usually receiving around 80 calls with questions within a couple of hours, Text a Toastie is a full-blown production. Stocking up on bread, cheese and Nutella days before, InterVarsity Marquette alumni grill sandwiches in apartment kitchens, while current members answer questions and send runners around campus to meet hungry students dispersed around campus.

Sometimes, questions come up that can be answered by a simple Google search. But often students ask questions like, “Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?” and the discussions get more lively.

The questions vary each year; Green says this year, people ask questions like: Is God real? And why do bad things happen to good people? When these questions arise, InterVarsity members discuss, and whoever has the most to say can deliver the sandwich and have a conversation with the asker.

Ni says college is a time when faith can be strengthened or doubted, since it is a time of autonomy. “I think that the goal is to let people know that we are a place on campus that we can talk about God.” He says he values InterVarsity because it is a place where learning can take place with students
across campus.

Ni says he hopes Text A Toastie can take place twice a year, since he feels it reaches such a broad group of people
on campus.

“The stress that is college can really push people away or draw people toward faith,” Ni says.