Discipleship

Virtual Connections

Although Jeanette’s family was very involved in their church, she arrived as a freshman at UCLA uncertain in her faith. When asked about coming to Destino at the beginning of the semester, she wasn’t very interested.

But as the semester continued, some things changed for Jeanette. She decided to try out a Destino Bible study and then asked staff member Sarah if they could talk more about the Bible and her faith. Sarah invited her to join a Friday afternoon discipleship appointment that she has with another student. Although she was eager to meet with them, Jeanette goes home to her family almost every weekend, which is very common among Latino students. However, Jeanette asked if she could Skype into the meeting.

Jeanette has been learning and growing as she connects virtually for a weekly small group discipleship meeting. She even went to church with a friend from Destino. “It is clear God is moving in her life,” said Lauren Pottenger, a Destino staff member at UCLA. “We have affectionately dubbed the time diSkypleship.”

Students are often as comfortable connecting through video as face-to-face. Staff member Kai has had great success meeting with one of the Destino leaders at USC over video chat one week and in person the next week. Also, Natalie, a recent UCLA Destino alumni has started a weekly small group with some of her fellow alumni from Destino and a few current students. Even though Natalie is in San Diego, she is still able to connect with Christian community and influence the lives of these younger women.

Though these virtual connections students’ lives are being changed.

Posted by Destino Admin in Discipleship, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
There Were Bigger Plans in Store for Me…

There Were Bigger Plans in Store for Me…

Little Did I Know There Were Bigger Plans in Store for Me…

“I thought I came to college to earn my degree and get a job. Little did I know that there were much bigger plans in store for me. All my life I believed in God and tried to lead a moral life most of the time, but I didn’t let God get involved in my life.

“When I came to New Mexico State University, I came open-minded. I wanted to discover things for myself. I got in touch with Destino. I experienced so much love from the people involved. They embraced me like a brother. I made up my mind that this was where I wanted to be. Since then I have discovered the power of the Word of God and just how drastically it can affect my life.

“I’ve been given the honor of serving within Destino, which has helped me grow as a leader and has humbled me. The Lord has given me a heart to serve students and to minister to them with the gospel. I now can see clearly that there is something greater to live for than success. It’s the battle for the hearts and souls of people all over this world. I know with all my heart that I want to serve God and do His work. I’ve discovered that I didn’t come to NMSU to merely get a degree and become an engineer, but also to discover the one and only true God in heaven.”

Little did Lucas, at 21, know that he’d be ministering the gospel of Christ to students long after his time in school was done. Today, Lucas and his wife, Christy, serve with Destino and are parents to Daniel.

Photo credit: Fraser Mummery.

Posted by Devin Tressler in Discipleship, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
Friends Becoming Sisters.

Friends Becoming Sisters.

While sipping her chai tea latte, Christy wasn’t surprised to look up and see two young Latinas walk into Corner Bakery instead of one. She and Laura had found a time to meet for lunch so they could get caught up on some challenging situations Laura was working through.

Christy also showed up knowing that Laura might not come alone. Through her years working with hispanic students, Christy, who’s married to a Latino, has embraced this warm culture that rarely does something, anything, alone. So it was this day, as Laura and her friend, Khrystal, sat down with Christy to eat together.

After listening to what was going on in Laura’s life, Christy shared that when she goes through difficult times, she has God with her to help her. Because Laura and Khrystal come from a traditional religious background, they easily chatted about how they’d been exposed to and taught about God since they were little. Laura was more involved in her church and youth group, while for Khrystal church was not a regular part of her family’s routine.

Even though Christy had come to encourage Laura, she knew she wanted to express to both of them the truth of how much God loved them, how Jesus died to reconnect them in relationship with God. He wanted to help Laura and Khrystal, through the power of His Spirit, to work through whatever might come into their lives. She asked if she could share the way the Bible describes how we can know God personally?

Both girls were open to discussing more. Christy explained that it’s not enough to know about God’s love, the reality of our sin and brokenness, and Christ’s death and resurrection. We have to accept God’s gracious gift of salvation. It’s an act of our will to place our faith in Christ alone.

Christy held out her pen to Laura and said, “Laura, I’m giving you my pen as a gift,” but then asked her, “So when do you actually possess this gift I’m offering you?”

Laura replied, “When I take it.” Laura and Khrystal admitted that they knew about God, but didn’t feel they had ever invited Christ into their lives to be their Lord and Savior. Christy asked them if they’d like to pray and invite Jesus to be just that.

Laura and Khrystal both said yes. So there in the Corner Bakery, with empty coffee mugs and lunch plates strewn about the table, Laura and Khrystal together prayed to Jesus, asking Him to forgive them and to come into their hearts and lives in a way He never had before. Two friends had become sisters in Christ.

Christy Lopez is on staff with Destino in New Mexico.

Photocredit: smuconlaw.

Posted by Devin Tressler in Discipleship, Outreach, 0 comments
How Can I Live a Godly Life?

How Can I Live a Godly Life?

“How Can I Live a Godly Life?”

That’s a great question for believers as we’re growing spiritually.

Have you ever said, “I want to live for God, but I just keep messing up!” Or, “I’m sure if I just try harder then I’ll get it right”?

Tyrell is a Destino student with whom you could relate! He was asking these questions. He and his mentor, Matt, agreed that it’s because of Jesus that we’re made right with the Father, not by our self-effort. So then Tyrell’s next question was,

“Am I ready to surrender control of my life to Jesus Christ?
What would you say?

Tyrell admitted, “I want to say no because I don’t feel like I have it all together, but…it seems like that’s the point. I won’t ever be able to do it on my own. So yes, I’m ready to surrender control of my life to Jesus.”

You can check out the resource that was helping Tyrell understand how to live out his faith. It’s called Satisfied? It helps explain the significance and importance of the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives.

Tyrell prayed that through faith he’d be filled with the Spirit and empowered to live a life honoring to God. He’s gone from being unsure of how to live for God, sometimes even doubting his salvation, to being confident in Jesus Christ and trusting in the Spirit to guide him through life!

Photo credit: Michael Foley

Posted by Devin Tressler in Discipleship, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
He wants you as you are.

He wants you as you are.

“Last year I went to Destino’s Fall Retreat for the first time. There I decided I wanted God to be my Lord and savior. I’d been thinking that I had to get my life together, but Jesus doesn’t want you to get your life perfect, He wants you as you are.

I realized no matter how hard I tried I’d never be perfect. Trying to become perfect before God is an impossible dream. God accepts us as we are, and then He does His work inside us. It was after this realization that I decided to give my life to Him.

At Fall Retreat 2015, Ruben shared the story of how his life was changed, and was ready to be baptized. Over the year he helped a Destino staff member lead a men’s Bible study.

Posted by Devin Tressler in Discipleship, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
Destino Winter Conference—Who God Made Me to Be.

Destino Winter Conference—Who God Made Me to Be.

 

Fabiola grew up going to church, loving the traditions. Her abuela would say, “Every little prayer is a step closer to heaven,” so Fab’s faith centered on praying and being a “good girl.” When she was nine, Fab’s family came to the U.S. She set out to prove she was American. “I didn’t want anything to do with being Mexican or singled out as Latina, so I assimilated quickly.” She learned English, made American friends almost exclusively, forgot about church and took up American hobbies like dance team.

In college, Fab enjoyed a good party. Then she’d go to a Christian group to still “do the right thing.”

God used a conference that Fab attended to speak truth that opened her heart:  Jesus died to forgive her because of His great love for her. “I thought of God as a bossy god who just wanted us to pray and not have any fun. But I was believing things that weren’t true.”

Then God used another conference, Destino’s Winter Conference, in Fab’s life. There, she learned He made her the way she is. He made her “brown” for a reason. “He very purposefully made me who I am, how I am. I sat there surrounded by people like me, and it was OK. Being Latina was actually celebrated!”

“I came to know the Lord at a conference; He spoke to me about my ethnic identity at Destino Winter Conference. You can go to get away, hang with friends, as something to do…lots of reasons, yet what a great place to grow!”  

Posted by Devin Tressler in Culturally Connected, Discipleship, 0 comments
Giving Up a “Good Thing.”

Giving Up a “Good Thing.”

One of our staff members, Silas, texted Jose to see if he’d like to meet over coffee or a Coke. Jose responded he’d like to meet.  From Jose’s answers on a Destino survey, you would assume that he was a Christ follower. When they found each other, they sat down to get to know one another before Silas asked, “On the survey, you indicated you wanted to know more about Destino. What about it is of interest to you?”

When asked questions about their answers, sometimes students get nervous. Jose, however, was the very opposite: “Honestly, I’ve been involved in Bible studies, went to a Christian school, and took a hermeneutics [that is, Bible interpretation] class. But I don’t get what Christianity is all about.”

As Silas listened to Jose, he could tell how sincerely Jose wanted to understand what others around him believe.“I know what the Bible says. I can tell you different things. But honestly, I just don’t get it,” he admitted.

They spent a lot of time talking together. Jose began to open up about his potential drinking problem. He found at first it was fun, however, now it’s unsatisfying. He admitted, “I just don’t get how some of my friends–when they became a Christian–gave up drinking. How could they give up something like that?”

Silas asked, “Well, what could make you give up an already good thing in your eyes?” Jose had no answer.

“Only something or SOMEONE that is far greater?” suggested Silas. What a great concept to consider! Destino offers students a place where they can discuss the questions they have about faith. We’re hoping Jose will continue his journey to consider how Jesus can be a great thing in his life!

 

Image Credit: Stefan Insam

 

Posted by Devin Tressler in Discipleship, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
Remembered as a Spiritual Influencer

Remembered as a Spiritual Influencer

“I felt lost and overwhelmed,” admits Katrina as she describes her first quarter at UCLA. “I didn’t know anyone. I’d just go to class and go back and eat by myself and wait for the weekend to go home. But then I found Destino, and it all changed.”

Katrina is now involved in a women’s Bible study. She’s also spending time with a mentor, a woman who is staff with Destino in LA. Recently Katrina told Lauren about two of her friends who have been going to church with her. One of her friends, Sydney, works with her at the dorm front desk. Sydney grew up going to church but stopped when she got to UCLA.

 

“Someday, 10 years from now I’m going to remember you as the person
who helped bring me back to faith. You’re so on fire for God!”

God’s using Katrina to encourage her friend. Sydney told her, “Someday, 10 years from now I’m going to remember you as the person who helped bring me back to faith. You’re so on fire for God!”

Kimberly never thought she could be the type of person that influences others for Christ. But just by being herself and living out her faith, she is!

Who are the people around you that might be influenced positively as you live out your faith?

 

Image credit:  Bryan Jones.

Posted by Devin Tressler in Discipleship, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
Where are you spiritually right now?

Where are you spiritually right now?

As this school year started we’ve met lots of students!

We asked, “What are you hoping for this semester?” and you answered things like, “success” and “good friends.”

Destino likes to ask, “Where are you spiritually right now?” And on one campus students could circle motions like frustrated, excited, and/or empty.

Maybe you relate to Tyrell, a second-year student who identified himself as disappointed, confused and growing. He agreed to meet up for lunch with Matt.

After learning more about each other, Matt asked Tyrell about the words that he used to describe his spiritual life. Tyrell said he was “disappointed” because he doesn’t feel like he lives the way God wants him to live. “Confused” because he isn’t sure how God wants him to live, but doesn’t really understand what the Bible says sometimes. And “growing” because he wants to know God and tries to learn about him in spite of his negative feelings. Don’t you feel some of those things sometimes?!

Matt asked Tyrell what he thought would help his spiritual life, and Tyrell said, “I think I want to study the Bible and learn how God wants me to live.” Just this week, Tyrell and several other students began to do that!

Are you in a small group to study the Bible and/or discuss growing closer to God? Would you like to be?  Find out what’s happening on your campus!

Photo Credit: djromanj.

Posted by Devin Tressler in Discipleship, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments

“I Feel Really Loved”

“Thank you for your time yesterday. It has really given me hope in having a relationship with the Lord. I’m excited for what’s to come.”  Imagine getting that from a friend with whom you’d been talking about spiritual things.

In NYC, Sabrina shared the gospel with Jackie, and as they talked, Sabrina asked what Jackie thought about it all. “Wow,” said Jackie, “No one ever asks me what I think.”That led into a deeper discussion about her past and why she sometimes feels like others don’t want to hear what she has to say.

During the conversation, Sabrina learned that Jackie believes with all her heart that Jesus is her Lord and Savior, but she told Sabrina that she was confused about what a daily relationship with Him looks like. The next week Jackie and Sabrina talked about why spending daily time with God is significant, along with some practical ways to do it.

|In the middle of the conversation, Jackie stopped and said,
“Jesus wants to spend time with me!”

She was silent for a minute and then looked at Sabrina and said, “I feel really loved.”

Jackie really connected with the fact that she could go to her Heavenly Father any time, wherever. As they were ending their visit, Jackie said, “I’m going to pray on my way to class.”

How do you feel when you consider how Jesus loves to spend time with YOU?

Posted by Devin Tressler in Discipleship, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments