SCSU Says Goodbye To Campus Ministry Leaders After Eleven Years

By: Ryan Atkins 0 Comments   5/6/2011

Last month, April 15 served as the day the St Cloud community said bye to SCSU missionaries Dave and Karen Martin.

Goodnews church held the event that brought numerous alumni, current students and people from the St Cloud community together to witness the Martins ministry requirement before they leave in June for Washington State.

Chi Alpha, A college campus ministry, has been on the SCSU campus for over 40 years, having Martin as director for the past 11 years. When Dave began his reign, the group consisted of three students, now the group was hitting between 40 and 50 each evening.

Mike Amiot, Regional Director of Chi Alpha, had the privilege of making Martin his first hire, believes Martin touched St Cloud in a great way.

“It really is unusual for staff to leave when things are going in a positive direction.  I think that speaks volumes of Dave and his character,” Amiot said. “I think in his final years he realized ministry is less about him and more about the God he serves.  This realization allowed students to really step up and take ownership.  The bottom line is people like being around Dave.  You cannot go this long in something, see the success he has seen, without being someone people want to be around.  He truly cared about the campus, the students and the community.  It was not a job to him.”  

Halka Sitabayshi, a Japanese graduate student at SCSU when I arrived in January of 2004, was unable to come to the farewell banquet, yet remembers her time at SCSU and the devotion Martin had for Christ and college students fondly.

“When I think of the diversity of the group we had, in terms of the nationality, spiritual background, and spiritual maturity, and when I remember how each of us was vital, I appreciate Dave, who looked after each one of us, encouraging us to do what we can do,” Sitabayshi said.

“Given the opportunity to serve the Lord together with brothers and sisters, we were connected to each other. Dave was there, sometimes leading us and other times being one of us, still other times watching us from aside. We were watched over, but never ruled over. I believe that was why we could safely enjoy being who we were.”

Amiot mentioned how Martins impact went past the campus and into the community.

“I think Dave's impact has been greater than just the St. Cloud Campus. He has had an impact on the community as well.  Dave's easy going presence makes him a guy people get along with and want to be around,” Amiot said.  “His true heart for people and his laid back demeanor have given him great inroads into the university, other campus ministries connections, and the community at large.”

Sitabayshi went on to add what type of leader she saw Martin as, which numerous students agreed with.

“I view Dave as a gentle shepherd, who tenderly watched over his flock. He might have not been a lion, leading the sheep,” Sitabayshi said. “But he was a kind of leader, whom his flock know that they are not only protected, but also encouraged to grow into who they are individually, yet still in a group. I appreciate God, who gave me Dave as a spiritual leader especially when my faith was young and fragile.”

Numerous students would go over to the Martin household for an amazing dinner prepared by Daves wife, Karen, who despite not being on the campus much as she raised their three children had an impact upon the Chi Alpha students..

Melvina Sackey spoke of how she had her first ever family meal at the Martin household and an impact Karen had on her.

“I had my first family meal there,” Sackey said. ‘She taught me how to make jewelry and bake. She always told me it was OK to be me.”

As sad as it is to see the Martins leave the SCSU students are excited for the new director, Chris Corte and his wife Brooke.  Yet, the impact that the Martin’s made during their time in St. Cloud will never be forgotten.

“He is a people person.  He truly loves and cares about you.  He is also a very fun guy to be around,” Amiot said. “We will also miss him as part of our Chi Alpha family.  Twelves years Dave and his wife have been a part of our Minnesota team.  We have loved them and it will be very hard to not have them here anymore.”

Dave, Karen and kids thank you for the many years of service, you will be missed.

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