campus ministry

The Best Gift

What is the best gift a family member has lavished on you? In Gabriela’s case, her brother Alonzo helped give her a brand new life.

During an incredibly humid day in August 2015, Destino staff member Nate ran into Alonzo at the University of Texas at San Antonio. After Nate explained the gospel to him, Alonzo, who was a freshman, gave his life to Jesus.

Separated by 178 Texas highway miles, Alonzo started inviting his sister, who was a junior at Texas A&M University, to visit San Antonio to experience the Destino ministry at UTSA. Gabriella loved being a part of Destino. At the fall retreat the following year, Alonzo was baptized, much to Gabriela’s amazement.

A week later, Destino staff member Vanessa drove three hours to Texas A&M to meet with Gabriela. Filled with encouragement from her brother’s faith, Gabriela made the decision to follow Jesus too. Vanessa now coaches her from a distance to help lead the Destino ministry at Texas A&M.

Gabriela received the gift of life from her actual brother, but she wants as many people as possible to become part of the familia of God.

Posted by Destino Admin in Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
Forgiven and Forgiving

Forgiven and Forgiving

by Chris Nadolny

“Please pray that I am able to forgive the people who’ve hurt me. I spend a lot of time thinking about ways I can get revenge,” said Daniel.

After more than ten years in college ministry I’ve heard most things, but this had a new twist. Though this was not a typical prayer request at the Miami-Dade College Bible study, it was vulnerable and showed spiritual awareness. I knew I had to follow up with Daniel. I invited him to talk more after his class later that day.

We reconnected that afternoon and meandered through campus as the the hot sun baked the concrete. Eventually we found a table in the shade to discuss his request. I assumed by his openness that Daniel was a Christian, but it turned out he had only been to church a few times. He knew he needed something different in his life if he would ever experience freedom from his bitterness.

As I shared the gospel with him, I prayed silently that God would move in Daniel’s life. He had never heard that Jesus was a gift we received as opposed to a model to follow to earn a place in heaven. He was so riveted by the gospel that he stayed through the beginning of his next class. That day he decided to put his faith in Christ!

Since that day, Daniel hasn’t missed a Bible study. We’ve also hung out several more times to talk more about what it means grow in a relationship with God. Last time, we circled back to his forgiveness prayer request. I explained that through his forgiveness, he’s now able to forgive the person and trust that God will bring justice to the situation. As Daniel prayed he not only thanked God for His forgiveness, but also asked God to bless the person who wronged him. God brings the lightness of the gospel to those who are carrying heavy burdens.

Posted by Destino Admin in Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
A Story to Tell

A Story to Tell

By Lauren Rodriguez

“I believe God will let everyone into Heaven. He loves everyone!”

Arianna, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, shared her beliefs with me as we sat at a coffee shop on campus.

We had met at our Destino information table a couple of weeks before that, when she ran excitedly up us wanting to know more about who we were and how she could get involved. I asked her to lunch on the spot, and we began meeting one-on-one.

Arianna is majoring in global studies and writing, with the dream of hearing people’s stories. She believes every person, everywhere, has a story that deserves to be told, and she wants to write it, broadcast it, or find a way to make it known.

As she explained her dream to me, we connected instantly about how closely her dreams connect with who we are as Destino: journeying with students to follow Jesus and fulfill their God-given destinies.

She was excited to get involved with Destino and find Latino community on campus.  Originally growing up in San Diego, most of her friends had been Latino. Now living in Minnesota, she knew there were lots of other Latino students, but she didn’t know them. She shared with me that she felt like the only Latina student in most of her classes.

Arianna was also excited about growing in her faith.  She had struggled with relationships in her life for years, jumping from one relationship to another to fill her needs but never feeling full.  She shared this openly with me, knowing it was not what she really wanted or what she “should” do.

Living in a very religious family, her mom told her that because of the ongoing sin in her life, she needed to stop going to confession at church until she got her life back in order.  Arianna was sitting in a hard spot – feeling judged, unfulfilled, and wanting more.

Arianna also believed that a loving God wouldn’t exclude anyone from Heaven. From the professors she listened to, books she read, and conclusions she had come to, all roads led to the same God. As we talked over multiple lunch and coffee dates, though, she wanted to know what I thought.

Relationships are hugely important in the Latino culture.  We call ourselves the Destino familia for a reason.  Since I took the time to build a relationship with her, spend time together, and share my life too, she put value in what I had to say.  God opened the door to share the Gospel with Arianna, and she was hungry.

She had never read much of the Bible before and had never heard about the cost of sin in Romans 6:23.  She never knew why Jesus had to die or that she needed to make a personal decision to accept Him as her Savior and Lord. God had prepared her heart, and when she read the verse where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6),” she exclaimed out loud, “I believe that is true!”

Arianna is our new sister in Christ and is already telling her family about her decision!  She’s engaging other Latino students at our Destino events on campus and is excited to be a light for Him.

Posted by Destino Admin in Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
The Bulletin Board

The Bulletin Board

Ariana, a junior at Purdue University, had a great idea to put up a bulletin board in the Latino Cultural Center on campus. Ariana is trying to launch a Destino ministry on her campus and is looking for ways to engage with new students. The bulletin board would allow her to advertise Destino and gather information from those who might be interested.

A week later she returned to the LCC to gather the information. Instead she was met with disappointment. The LCC could no longer display bulletin boards for other groups and her bulletin board was empty.

¿Cuál es tu Destino? Give your answer to this question now at the Latino Cultural Center at Purdue!

A post shared by Destino @ Purdue (@destinoatpurdue) on

Ariana was discouraged and disappointed, but she did not give up. The next day she started a Destino at Purdue Instagram account. In just three days there were over 100 followers! God used this setback to push Ariana to think creatively about how to connect with students at Purdue. Now she has an even more powerful platform where she can post things to stir spiritual curiosity in others, promote Destino, and invite people into Christ-centered community.

“As Ariana and I celebrated what God has done this semester, she mentioned how she has seen the Lord grow her own faith as she has been leading Destino,” said Chelsea Hengeveld, a Destino staff member who is helping Ariana to launch the ministry from a distance. Although no Destino staff members work at Purdue, the two meet regularly over video chat. “She has stepped out in faith to meet new people, sacrificed her time and her finances to attend the Destino Winter Conference in order to be further equipped as a leader, and she has seen God use her gifts of creativity and art, while at the same time equipping her in her areas of weakness,” explained Chelsea.

Chelsea reminded Ariana of God’s promise in Isaiah 55, that His word will not return to Him empty but will accomplish the thing for which He sent it. Together the two of them continue to trust God to work in the lives of the 1,300 Hispanic and Latino students at Purdue.

Posted by Destino Admin in Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments
Destino Break 2017

Destino Break 2017

“Now that I talked to beachgoers about Jesus, I feel ready to share with everyone back home,” said Eric, a sophomore involved with Destino at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

In March, Eric traveled to Port Aransas, Texas with a group of Destino students who spent their spring break helping others learn about Jesus. The group used a tool called Soularium to talk to others on the beach about their spiritual journeys using pictures. They also used Perspective Cards, learning what others believe about the existence of God, the source of truth and the meaning of life.

The group shared the gospel with 60 people and saw 11 begin a new relationship with Jesus!

Students from both UTSA and Palo Alto College traveled together to Port Aransas. “I love seeing how Destino connects college students city-wide,” said Destino staff member Jess Gilbert, “so they can be encouraged in their faith and gain courage to live for the Lord in new ways.”

Posted by Destino Admin in 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
When you hit a wall.

When you hit a wall.

What do you do when your best plans hit a brick wall? Nate’s default was to panic.

He and his wife Jess, both staff members with Destino in Texas, wanted to meet students from one particular dorm on their campus. They’d already met lots of freshmen earlier this semester. Yet, no one from that particular dorm seemed to want to know about Destino.

Add to that new campus policies that make it more difficult to expose dorm residents to what Destino has to offer. Nate felt a bit of panic. He and Jess knew only one course of action: prayer. With an existing student leader, they walked through the dorm, praying for God to open doors to meet students.

Then, Nate and another guy tossed around a football by the dorm. Within a few minutes they convinced one resident, Marco, to throw around with them. Then another, Alonzo, joined them.

Today, both Marco and Alonzo are involved with Destino and have re-dedicated their lives to Jesus, Alonzo’s two roommates, Ivan and Eric, also have surrendered their lives to Christ.

The dorm Bible study has swelled to 17 as Alonzo and Marco invited their friends to check it out. God had some miraculous connections ready in response to Nate and Jess’s prayer. He proves again and again that no human obstacle will stop His mission to bring His new life to those who seek Him.


Image Credit:  ok, shawna.

Posted by Devin Tressler in 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