Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, was devastated by the tragic murder of a beloved, passionate, loving, and compassionate student named Carvell Goodlow early in the fall semester of 2018. Students who knew Carvell were paralyzed with grief when the news reached them. Oakwood’s Office of Spiritual Life and Missions organized a midday prayer vigil, evening prayer service, and memorial service to honor the life of this phenomenal young man. Carvell did not come to Oakwood as a Seventh-day Adventist, but he was on fire for the Lord. His passion and zeal for God made a tremendous impact on the student body. More than half of the student population showed up to honor his legacy of love and faith. God used this tragedy to awaken many students from their slumber.
José Rojas, pastor and president at MOVEmentum, LLC, had been invited to be the speaker for “Power Packed Weekend,” an annual mini revival that takes place in the fall. Moved with compassion borne from enduring the loss of his brother to homicide, Rojas delivered four powerful sermons that reached the hearts of all who listened. Just a few weeks after Rojas’ departure, God would do something great through another of His manservants, reminiscent of 1 Corinthians 3:6 where one worker planted and another watered, but the harvest belongs to God!
OU Live 2018, an annual recruitment event for high school students throughout the North American Division, was held October 3-7. God was recruiting souls for His Kingdom as well as students for Oakwood University. Keynote speaker Myron Edmonds, D.Min., lead pastor of Grace Community Church in Cleveland, Ohio, delivered two powerful sermons. His second one, at AYM: Release, Oakwood’s Friday Vesper service, drew campus family and a large crowd online.
Edmonds preached from Luke 22, following the journey of Peter during Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. He explained how Peter genuinely believed in his heart that he was good, and would never deny Jesus or leave him, yet found himself trying to get as far away from association with Jesus as possible. Edmonds then paralleled that story with the story of Peter in Acts 2, where he preached a sermon resulting in the baptism of 3,000 men, plus women and children, right on the spot.
Edmonds challenged the students to get out of an environment created to simulate a spiritual experience for the entertainment of others, and called them to conviction and repentance. He tugged at the students’ inner struggles, proclaiming that God has a plan, even with their fall in mind. He also acknowledged that the death of a loved one or friend often moves us to want the Holy Spirit in our lives, because we don’t know what tomorrow holds.
As the sermon continued, the young people began to see themselves reflected in the story of Peter and recognized a deep need for the Holy Spirit to provide deliverance, restoration, and wholeness. This led to an explosion of repentance and reconnection with Christ that was healing for the entire campus.
Edmonds made an appeal and the Holy Spirit led 105 students to make decisions to be baptized or rebaptized. The Office of Spiritual Life and Oakwood University pastoral staff quickly organized a baptism for the next morning. Ninety-six students showed up for baptism Sabbath, October 6. They met with Andrew Pileggi, senior chaplain; received a mini-Bible study; and talked about their new life in Christ.
First Church in Huntsville gladly sent over additional baptismal robes so that every student who wished to was able to be baptised. Pileggi was assisted in the pool by Kimberly Mann, associate chaplain; Tina Carriger, pastor; and Colwick Wilson, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president of Oakwood University, and ordained minister. Carlton Byrd, D.Min., led the baptism from the rostrum, and concluded with an appeal. At the last moment, a student made a decision and was baptized just before the service ended.
is the senior chaplain in the Family Life Center at the Oakwood University Church in Huntsville, Alabama, and Kimberly Mann is the associate chaplain.
Oakwood University | February 2019