Outreach

Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Relief

Recent events have left many grieving and in dire situations. Hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, fires, and shootings have filled the news. We are so thankful that in the midst of incredibly difficult circumstances, God’s people are working to bring good.

This year Destino cancelled our fall retreat in Texas. Instead we took 70 students from 8 campuses to Rockport and Port Aransas, Texas to do hurricane Harvey relief work.

Anthony Lopez, a Destino staff member in San Antonio, shared this about the weekend:

“The destruction of homes and business was heartbreaking. It was surreal to see restaurants and stores that I had been to from previous Destino trips that were completely destroyed. I had never seen anything like this before. What really moved me was hearing the stories of the people we helped. One couple had been trying to rebuild their home by themselves for three weeks! They were so moved by our help and our prayers that they broke down crying expressing their gratitude to us.

It was both rewarding and heartbreaking to be a part of this trip. I struggled with the feeling of being helpful but also wishing I could do more. In the end I was so honored to be a part of this trip. It was a privilege to be a part of the restoration of these homes and families. I was so proud of our students for giving up their weekend to come and serve others in a time of need. This is what we’re called to do, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To love and serve our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Thank you to those who participated and gave to make this trip possible. Stay tuned for more opportunities to go and help meet these needs in the future. We also recommend engaging with the efforts of Cru and GAiN.

Click Here To Donate to The Destino Harvey Relief Fund

Posted by Destino Admin in Outreach, 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
Dear Latino College Student,

Dear Latino College Student,

Dear Latino college student,

You might not know it, but there is an army of people praying for you. You may not have the support you need at home, but there are people who believe in you. Your dad might have not been around or he might have never told you that you are loved, valuable, cherished, and that if you work hard, you can be anything you want to be. Your mom may think you are wasting your time on campus —between philosophy classes and study breaks-—while you could be working more hours at McDonald’s to help your family. I see it all in the way you walk.

You probably carry the weight of responsibility on your shoulders. Your sibilings look up to you. You are the first one in your family to ever go to college. You are the only one of your brothers that hasn’t been to jail. You are the only 18 year old in your family who isn’t preagnant or that hasn’t done drugs. You are studying hard to keep your scholarships. You’ve lost hope that your immigration status will ever change. I see it all in your big brown eyes.

Yet you wake up every morning and believe.

I know you’ve been marginalized and that you have to prove yourself. I know you hurt. Yet you wake up every morning and believe. You believe that maybe, and just maybe, today will be better than yesterday. You walk around campus and greet your classmates with the friendliest and warmest smile the world has ever seen. Like you have it easy. Like things are going to be O.K. You have experienced God in the deepests of pain, and you have found Him to be faithful. I see it all in the way you talk.

Dear latino college student, I believe in you. I believe that you will lead this nation. I believe that you have what it takes and, with God’s help and perseverance, You will succeed. For His Glory. For the good of His people.

Dear tired latino student, I pray for you. I pray that God would draw you to Himself. I pray that God would build you up and make you a man or a woman who shares the good news with his/her family and the world around you.

Dear latino college student, even if you never read this, I promise to keep showing up on campus and to keep interrupting your conversations. I promise to keep sharing the Gospel with you. I promise to keep texting you and calling you and inviting you to a Bible study. I promise to keep offering to buy you coffee to hear your story. I promise to keep pursuing you. Because God loves you too much, for me to even dare to stop.

Diana is on staff with Destino in Denver, CO.  This was originally posted on her blog, Diana La Latina.

Photo credit: Leo Hidalgo.

Posted by Devin Tressler in Academically Achieving, Culturally Connected, Outreach, 0 comments
Wanting a Change.

Wanting a Change.

“Hi, I go to FIU but I’m not a Christian, I do want to get involved and be more connected to God. Please contact me, thanks.”

God had been working in Andrea’s life. She was spiritually hungry and searching for a different way to live. Her email went to one of Destino’s leaders, Rachel, in Miami. A few days later, Rachel, and another student, Nicole, met with Andrea.

Andrea grew up with a faith tradition that she wasn’t practicing and wanted to know more about God. As the women opened up to one another, Rachel and Nicole shared God’s message of love and forgiveness with her, and she said it was something that interested her but had a lot of questions. They began to meet regularly for more conversation.

After a few more times, Andrea asked them how God could guide her life. They told her He needed to be in her life to be her guide. She also wondered how she could become a better person. Rachel replied, “The only way to become a better person is if God changes you. You need to ask Him to come into your life and make you the kind of person He wants you to be. Is that something you want to do?”

Andrea didn’t hesitate for a second. She was ready for His solutions and gave her life to Christ.

Over the next six weeks, Andrea eagerly learned more about what it means to walk with Christ. Not only that, she sought out community through a Bible study and weekly campus gatherings.

For a week, the students focused on looking for ways to share their faith stories. Andrea was nervous, yet trusted God to help her join in. She spoke with several people, and one guy came to the group as a result.

When God’s changing your life, and you see Him at work, you want to share it with others. That’s what Andrea’s experiencing as God uses her to influence other students.

Posted by Devin Tressler in Outreach, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
Wendy’s Story

Wendy’s Story

A woman came to speak to my basketball team after practice one night in December. She talked about us being physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, and that the best athletes are growing in all those areas.

My family went to church every week, but I wasn’t doing much about that side of my life. When I sat down with her later, she asked me what I thought would happen if I crossed the street and got hit by a car and died. I said I’d go to heaven because that’s what I’d heard in church. But that night, alone in my room, I wondered how can you know? What if, despite my best efforts, I wasn’t good enough?

I started to hang out with some Christians who seemed like they really knew God, like it made a difference in their day-to-day life. I learned that I could be sure about things like heaven and my purpose in life by having a one-to-one relationship with God.  

I’d always thought it was like a giant scale, if I did enough good things to outweigh the bad, I was “in” with Him. But they explained that no one is good enough, we’re all separated from a relationship with God.

The great news is that He didn’t leave us there; He loved me so much He sent Jesus as a GIFT to connect me back to God. “So that’s it!” I’d never really understood my need for Jesus (other than the occasional “Help me!”) or why people said they were saved—saved from what?! Suddenly I understood that I was saved from that separation and always trying to be good enough.

What a phenomenal Christmas present I received that year, when Jesus’ GIFT of forgiveness and new life became mine.

Wendy is on staff with Destino in Indiana.

Photo credit:  kris_mouser-brown.

Posted by Devin Tressler in Outreach, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
A Calling to Lead

A Calling to Lead

Arielle and Jaymison are juniors at New Mexico State. While neither comes from a Latino family, they share a desire to see God use them as student leaders in Destino.

“I want to do as much as I can during college to serve God,” says Arielle. She and Jaymison are on the Student Leadership Team at NMSU. Together with local staff members, they’re helping to shape and guide Destino.

Jaymison explained his call: “I believe I have a calling to minister with Destino…I think Destino can be an incredible campus ministry that has much potential.”

Do you want to see God use you to reach your peers on campus?  You can get involved on your campus, or help get a new chapter started!

And don’t think your walk with God has to be perfect! Jaymison says, “God has been teaching me about doubt, that it’s not bad to have doubts….I’m learning there are ways to have doubts and still approach God with my insecurities.” The Lord loves when we take steps of faith, are available to Him and open to learning.

Posted by Devin Tressler in Outreach, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
“We want to study the Bible!”

“We want to study the Bible!”

Julia grew up in a Spanish-speaking church, but since she started attending college at a predominately white university, she missed having a spiritual connection that felt like home. She had been involved with Cru for a few years, made friends and grew in her faith. But she noticed that among 600 students involved with Cru, there were virtually no other Latino/a students. She suspected that others felt similarly to her—they wanted a place on campus that felt like home. So she set out to launch Destino, Cru’s ministry among Latino students. She got connected to the Destino distance coaching team and got some ideas for getting started. The first week of classes, Julia met 34 Latino/a students interested in Destino, and 16 came to their first meeting!

|”So, um, what do y’all want to do?” Julia asked.
They replied, “We want to study the Bible!”

Caught off guard by the turnout, she asked, “So, um, what do y’all want to do?” They replied, “We want to study the Bible!” Students on college campuses want a relationship with God and to find meaning in their lives! Having a special outreach focused on engaging Latino/a students uncovered this thirst for truth and significance.

Devin is on staff with Destino in St. Louis, MO.

Photo Credit:  Mark Grapengater

 

Posted by Devin Tressler in Culturally Connected, Outreach, 0 comments
Students just like you!

Students just like you!

“I see you as one of my teachers, teaching me something I never knew before.”

“I feel a lot better knowing there’s a place for me here to open up about my faith.”

“I’m not religious like my mom, but I still believe in God and would really want to learn more about Him with others.”

“I want Jesus to be on the throne of my life; He’s not fully there now, but I’d like Him to be.”

“I want to join your group so my grandmother will feel more at peace that I found a good group to keep learning about God. Plus I like you guys.”

“I don’t have a Bible or have ever read it, but I’m open to learn about it.”

Come, be part of Destino’s familia!

Photo Credit:  Allen Stanley.

Posted by Devin Tressler in Outreach, 0 comments
Odds Against Him

Odds Against Him

Sergio sat by himself in the student union. Two Destino staff women, Stephanie and Diana, asked if they could join him for lunch. And as they sat together, they listened to his story. Raised by his grandparents, Sergio’s mother and father weren’t around much. His older brothers were incarcerated, and now, he’s the first in his family to go to college.

Diana couldn’t help but wonder, “Wow, what’s he doing here? All odds are against him. No one in his family expects him to graduate; no one has hope for him to be any different than the other men in his family.”

But that’s why Destino is here! We believe God has a plan for students like Sergio. On his second day of his second year, Sergio heard about God’s love and forgiveness clearly, for the first time. Over Taco Bell burritos, he assured Stephanie and Diana that he’d think about making that decision to follow God.

Join us in praying for students like Sergio who are hearing about God’s desire to know them and be known by them. We love listening to students and sharing our stories with them!  And we’d love to share with you more about a relationship with Jesus Christ.

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

“Wow, that’s beautiful!”

“Sorry for interrupting, I couldn’t help but overhear…if everything has a cause then where did God come from?”

A Destino staff member, Matt, was talking with a student when he heard another student from behind him ask that question.  After talking a bit more with the first student, Matt walked around the bench and sat down beside Adolfo, who seemed eager to hear a response to his question, “Where does God come from?”

Adolfo had grown up in a Christian home but didn’t remember much about it. At 18, he joined the military, now, at 29, Adolfo was pursuing his undergrad degree. During his time in the military, he began to question what God was like, which he said led him to be agnostic.

Together, Matt and Adolfo began to discuss different religions and what makes Christianity so unique. Adolfo asked Matt to explain the main point of Christianity since he didn’t remember much. After Matt shared about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, Adolfo’s response was simple:

|“Wow, that’s beautiful!”

As they continued their conversation, Adolfo said he’d never heard Christianity talked about like this. He wasn’t ready to change his agnostic beliefs, but he wanted to know if they could meet again to discuss more things like these.

“Of course!” replied Matt. And as he walked away, Matt couldn’t stop repeating Adolfo’s observation, “Wow! That’s beautiful.”

The gospel is beautiful. Matt’s conversation with Adolfo reminded him just how beautiful the good news of God’s love and forgiveness is.

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