Perpetually bearded, Israel shirt donned, and one of the tallest guys on Mississippi College’s campus, Jonathan Graves leads the movement Christians United For Israel towards greater heights. The CUFI club, or as Graves fondly refers to as “koo-fi”, has had significant growth in the past year. This is the first time CUFI has ever existed on campus. The club exists to promote the speaking and acting with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to Biblical issues. Their goals and objectives include educating and building Christian support for Israel throughout America and communicating pro-Israel perspectives to elected officials.
Graves and three other CUFI–MC officers: Jennie Harris, Cameron Hughes, and Madison Curtis went to D.C., Saturday, July 20 for the Christians United For Israel DC Summit. The MC-CUFI group and hundreds of students across the United States met in D.C. for the CUFI conference where they heard from military leaders and other impressive speakers who spoke about current events in the Middle East, particularly in regards to Syria and Egypt where thousands and thousands of Christians have been fleeing their homes due to extreme persecution. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and is the only nation in the Middle East where Christianity is growing.
The CUFI teams experiences in DC included visits to the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, MLK Memorial, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Washington Monument, Smithsonian Museums, and the Capitol Building.
The visit to the I.S. Holocaust memorial museum deeply affected Graves. “The three plus hours I spent attempting to soak in the immensity of the Holocaust was not enough time to truly comprehend such a human tragedy. “We will never forget” has been written on my heart.” Graves’ compassionate spirit lends him the extraordinary drive that has been very influential in the establishment of the CUFI club on MC’s campus. He shares Israel’s plight with anyone who will listen and urges the Christian community to support the cause of this holy nation’s people.
Congressional Appointments began on Wednesday, July 24th. Graves was able to go in the office of all four Representatives and the two Senators from Mississippi. He said it was a great experience getting to meet his Congressmen, Senators, and their staff. Jennie Harris, another member of the MC-CUFI club, is from Louisiana, so she met with her respective congressional representatives.
The experience provided a unique opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals from chilly Maine to balmy California. Graves said it was truly amazing to meet hundreds of other student CUFI activists from colleges from all over the United States.
Jonathan Graves was able to address a small group on two different days about pro-Israel activism on campus. Graves was thrilled when a Holocaust survivor came up afterwards to shake his hand and thanked him for speaking the truth on campus.
CUFI has over one hundred chapters in campuses across the U.S. It is an eight year old organization that now boasts 60,000 members in Mississippi alone. It is very popular in a lot of churches. CUFI-MC has raised hundreds of dollars to support the “On Wings Of Eagles” Program of the IFCJ to help bring Jewish people home to Israel.
Jonathan Graves is a six-year member at the non-denominational New Covenant Church in Harrisville, MS thirty-five miles away from campus. He admires the boldness of his preacher and is inspired as a minister. Graves is a fifth year student at MC. He is a Bible/Christian Studies Major with a Political Science Minor. He felt called to ministry at fourteen. He says that his transformation from being the shy kid to a man walking in boldness is completely through God. The twenty-two year old preaches on Sundays and is involved with the kids ministry at his church as well. Politics is the other force behind Graves’ activities on MC’s campus. He is the president of the College Republicans club on campus. He is also a member of Students for Life and is passionate about helping young mothers.
This semester Graves anticipates many CUFI affiliated events he has planned to take place on campus. There will be a night to honor Israel. A top-notch speaker will be scheduled to enhance the event, but the candidate is still to be decided. This event is done in D.C. and other college campuses in the U.S.
Last year CUFI held three huge events on campus which included speakers from two Israeli soldiers, a Holocaust survivor, and a retired marine. Graves would say that he developed his personal motto from when he heard the Holocaust survivor say, “Insist and demand upon truth.”
This eccentric follower of Christ is quickly becoming a beacon of light to college students in Mississippi, D.C. It is inspiring to see such a grassroots cause growing into an international success and to have such a prominent Christian leader stationed in the recesses of a small town in Mississippi.
– Bethany Kuhn, Reporter