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Cajun Passion

Longtime University of Louisiana-Lafayette Chi Alpha Director Eric Treuil has a fondness for the Bayou State.

Eric Treuil, director of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette says he loves college students because they still think they can change the world.

Treuil became a Christian when he attended another Louisiana college in the early 1980s. Soon after, Treuil sensed the Holy Spirit calling him to pioneer a Chi Alpha Campus Ministries chapter. After receiving ministry training, within six months he did just that.

Once he established that ministry at another Louisiana school, in 1987 Treuil and his wife Anabelle re-pioneered Chi Alpha at what was known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Today, hundreds of students are actively involved in the UL Lafayette chapter of the national Assemblies of God college campus organization.

It's a fertile spiritual environment for the gospel, according to Treuil, 54.

Louisiana has colonial French and Spanish tradition. Religiously speaking, nearly half the residents come from either a Catholic or Baptist background. But that doesn't mean they aren't open to a Pentecostal experience, Treuil believes. Because Chi Alpha carries no denominational connotation, all students feel welcome, he says.

"Our goal isn't getting kids into the Assemblies of God but getting kids into the God of the assemblies," says Treuil, a U.S. missionary. "We don't change what we teach: the fullness of the Pentecostal experience."

UL Lafayette also has students from 90 countries that represent every region, although most internationals are from Asia. Treuil's fall welcome reception for new international students, regardless of religious background, extends an open invitation.

Students from non-Christian faiths attend Chi Alpha Bible studies.  Attendees at the gatherings include several European atheists.

Anabelle Treuil plays multiple roles as women's ministry and female discipleship coordinator. Their two grown children are also involved in vocational ministry. A third is junior at UL Lafayette and active in the ministry.

Beyond Chi Alpha, Treuil is chaplain for the UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns football team. And six years ago, Treuil was elected as a Louisiana District presbyter. Last year he became district assistant superintendent.

U.S. missionary Kelly E. Brown, director of Chi Alpha at the University of Texas, says of Treuil, "He's a man who loves university students passionately and has given his life to influence this mission field with humility, longevity, and integrity."


Deann Alford

Deann Alford is a journalist and author. She attends Glad Tidings of Austin, an Assemblies of God congregation in the Texas capital.