As students peruse the campus at American River College, they are likely to come across one of several religious groups eager to spread the message of their faith.
Their stands are usually placed near hallways and walkways that students frequently pass by during the day.
Even in the pouring rain, adherents to several different religions including Baptist, Protestant, and Jehovah Witnesses come to ARC motivated by their conviction to their faith.
“If you boil down to it, people are lost and need to hear the Gospel to be saved,” said Maks Vusik, 29, a member of Grace Church of Sacramento.
“Hell is going to be a lot worse than standing out in the rain.”
Vusik has been a member of Grace Church for over 11 years, and firmly believes that his church is doing its part in spreading the message of the Holy Bible.
He maintains that the mission of the church’s presence at ARC is not to force their faith, which Vusik described as closely relating to Baptist, onto anyone.
“Whenever you try to pressure someone into something, that is not genuine,” Vusik said.
“We’ve had visitors to our church, but … the primary focus is to get to know God, and however he will lead them … we would like people to come, but the bottom line is that they reach the Gospel on their own and believe it.”
Besides stands from Grace Church, several other stands belonging to Jehovah’s Witness followers also outline the campus.
These individuals refused to give their names, saying they needed to consult with “higher-ups” before consenting.
Students who had questions about the religion are referred to JW.org, a website that serves to outline the basic tenets that followers of the Jehovah’s Witness must abide by, as well as provide background on the religious organization itself.
According to JW.org, Jehovah’s Witness literature prints in 700 languages worldwide, and The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, a premiere publication of the organization, is more widely published than the New York Times and other highly-publicized journals.
Students and passer-bys can be seen in conversation with the religious groups on campus, but feelings about their presence on campus are mixed among students.
“I don’t think anyone should force religion on anyone … they should find their religion themselves,” said Joe Woodruff, a political worker on campus.
“I don’t mind conversation with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, or Christians … they are all very intelligent people,” he continued.
Woodruff says that although he enjoys an exchange of theological ideas and beliefs with Vusik, he felt that their message was being brought on too strongly.
“[They] came off as slightly aggressive … they should be talking to people more and get to know them before pushing their religion on them,” he said.
Groups representing various religious faiths can be found on ARC campus throughout the week, but normally set their stands up every Thursday.