Abby and her student sit together with a bible open, pouring over scripture. Her student has three times the number of papers and tests coming up than the average college student. That’s what academic life is like for students at the University of Denver, an elite private school with world-renowned prestige.
Abby lets the student know how much she appreciates the time she’s sacrificing. Most students at this university wouldn’t dream of giving up a night of studying. She also makes sure to remind her that in Christ’s eyes, she’s more valuable than the brain in her head and future degree in her hand.
Becoming a Campus Ambassador
Abby Baumbach was raised in a Christian home in Denver and got saved at the tender age of three. She considered becoming a bible professor because of her love for teaching. But the Lord put college ministry on her heart, which surprised her because she was never a part of college ministry when she was a student. But her sister told her about Campus Ambassadors, and she trusted where God was leading her.
First, Abby worked as a CA at the University of Colorado (CU). CU was an interesting mix of academically reputable and a known party school. Now, she works at the University of Denver (DU), which is all academics and no party. “It’s hard to tell students that God has to be first when they pay so much for tuition,” Abby shares. The students at DU are preparing to be the world’s next innovative leaders in science, medicine, business, and more. The university pull in students from all over the world, and even royalty sometimes. Many students come from wealthy families or are being supported by scholarships they’re desperate to keep.
Culture War on Campus
While most colleges are being affected by extreme liberalism, private schools are especially impacted. Critical gender theory has been pushed heavily on DU’s campus and become the focus for the past two years. On one hand, some things have gotten better. When Abby first arrived on campus, she immediately noticed the mistreatment of women. DU combatted this by removing fraternities that were repeat offenders.
On the other hand, LGBT propaganda has consumed the university. Making a statement that opposes current trans ideology will unsurprisingly get pushback in any Western university today, and the general feeling most students have is that they’re unable to express any opinion that contradicts liberal gender expression. But at DU, the environment is so extreme that a statement as general as, “I believe in God,” is interpreted as homophobic and transphobic, inviting immediate ridicule, ostracization, and hounding.
The combination of a radical left-wing environment and pressure to constantly be studying makes it difficult to get students interested in Jesus. However, Abby has still worked with many students over the years. One of them was Chris* who was from a small farm town. It was a culture shock for him to arrive in Denver, but he became involved in Campus Ambassadors and was determined to make a positive difference in the world. Today, he’s graduated and brought his understanding of who God is into his industry of geology and meteorology.
Many of Abby’s students have lots of questions. Reba*, for example, experienced homelessness with her family. She struggles a lot with why life is easier for some and harder for others. Abby has helped her see that God loves her and never abandoned her. Ben* is a new student trying to understand theology. He asks, “Am I saved after I sin? What does it mean to be a Christian and experience God’s love? How do I respond to others in truth and love?”
Beyond studying the bible with them and teaching them God’s word, Abby makes it a point to tell them that their worth is in Christ, not success. “Whether you find the cure for cancer or you’re a stockboy, God loves you just the same,” she tells them. On a campus where achievement is a false god, Abby is a voice in the wilderness.
Influence on Campus
Every CA ministry is different. DU, for instance, works in a quarters rather than semesters which is partly why they get so much homework and doesn’t give Abby a lot of time to pour into them. Even when she does get time with students, they often only talk about their studies. DU students also often study abroad, which makes every moment Abby has with them precious.
In her second year as a CA, Abby was meeting with twenty-six students, which was unheard of at DU. Currently, she meets with two. Nothing about her approach has changed, which helped her understand that the number of students willing to be involved in CA is dependent on their hearts, not her. She asks for prayer for these students’ hearts and minds. She also would like prayer for her health challenges that prevent her from being on campus as much as she’d like to be and more volunteers. Lastly, she would love prayer for her voice to be different than the rest on campus. She knows God is working and His plans are bigger.
If you’d like to support her ministry, you can do so at her page here.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.