campus ministry

An Answer to Prayer

Last fall, Robert Lopez wanted to start a Christian club on campus. God put on his heart a desire to reach people at California State University Domingo Hills who didn't know about Jesus.

“I prayed to the Lord two things,” said Robert. “Firstly, I prayed that the Lord use me as His instrument and that everywhere I go and every breath I take would be for His glory. Secondly, I prayed that the Lord lead me to the right people who will support me.”

At the same time, the Los Angeles North Destino team was also praying. In a season of discouragement, they sought intercessory prayer. God led them to try and launch new Destino movements on campuses where Destino had no ministries. Then at CSU Domingo Hills, Destino staff member Kai Pottenger was introduced to Robert.

This was an answer to both their prayers.

The two began meeting together. That week they went out on campus and had the privilege of seeing another student begin a relationship with Christ. With Kai’s help, Robert launched Destino at Domingo Hills and the group became an official club in January of 2018 (some of the students are pictured above).

“The Lord has been bringing the students to the club,” explained Robert. “There’s a story of an atheist girl we met while sharing the gospel who believed that she came from stardust. We shared the gospel to her and she was the first person to attend our official meeting and has been going ever since. She has also invited her friends to our Bible studies.”

This past summer, Robert was taking classes at Cerritos College. “I have been speaking to students about God in that campus," said Robert, "and God has been leading me to maybe start something over there since I live nearby.”

In Destino our desire is that every student would have the opportunity to know about Jesus! We are so excited to help students like Robert launch Destino groups on their campuses. Would you take a minute to pray for the students at Domingo Hills as well as Cerritos College, that many would come to know Jesus and get connected to the Destino familia?

Posted by Destino Admin in Missions, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments

Sent

In Destino we journey with students and faculty to follow Jesus and fulfill their God-given destiny. Our desire is to see people enter into relationship with Jesus, to help them grow in their faith, and to send them into the world to repeat this process!

Here’s a story from our Destino staff member Vanessa (pictured above in the center) who just saw two students sent into the world.

I began discipling Gaby (pictured to the right of Vanessa), from the University of Texas Health, San Antonio, in 2016 on a mission trip to North Africa. That summer I saw her immerse herself in a new culture, have spiritual conversations with Muslims, and return with a strong desire to lead a Bible study for nursing students. Gaby started a Bible study on her campus and saw the Lord transform their group into familia. “God is just so good,” Gaby recounted, “I never would have imagined myself leading a Bible study!” Gaby graduated Summa Cum Laude in May and began working at a hospital in Austin.

In September 2016, a couple of Destino staff members and I drove to Texas A&M University to teach Destino students how to share the gospel on campus. Amongst those students was Vanessa Maree (pictured left in the center). At the end of the training she received Christ and said she wanted to be discipled! Since then, she became president of Destino at A&M and has led the movement, cultivating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that has brought new students. I’ve enjoyed seeing her leadership and kind personality bring students to the familia of God. Vanessa Maree recently graduated and will be working as a medical scribe in San Antonio. The Lord brought her from death to abundant life in Christ and I am so grateful for her! God does amazing works in people’s lives.

It is a new school year, and we are trusting God to change the lives of many students like Gaby and Vanessa Maree. Please join us in praying!

Posted by Destino Admin in Discipleship, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments

Launching New Ministries

DU students Brendie, Stephanie, Isaac, and Rebeka at their first meeting.

“We are looking for people who love Jesus and want to tell others about him.”

A few weeks ago the Denver Destino team to helped launch Destino movements on two new campuses in Denver: the University of Denver (DU) and the Community College of Aurora (CCA).

After spending each morning in prayer, they approached over 300 students, asking them this question and sharing our vision to start a ministry on campus through the Latino community. Over that week they challenged 27 of these students to lead these new ministries. Starting Destino movements in new places stems from our desire that every student would have a place on their campus to learn about Jesus Christ, ask questions and grow.

Christy and Jessica, Destino staff members, stopped Brielle, Loresa and Shadia on their way out of math class. The three girls had become friends a few weeks before after meeting in their class and realizing they all shared a loved for Jesus. While they ate wraps and fries at the small campus cafeteria, Christy and Jessica explained our vision for Destino. They all expressed interest in coming once meetings begin.

Another from the group approached a student at DU. After a brief introduction she exclaimed, “I’m not interested, but my roommate would be! Let me connect you with her.” She told her roommate, Brendie, about Destino and Brendie called the Destino team. They were able to meet with her and ask her how she hopes to see God move at DU. She expressed, “I am a religious studies major, and I want to have conversations about my faith with other friends and classmates that aren’t Christians.”

The team jumped at the opportunity to meet again with Brendie and three other DU students who showed interest in leading Destino: Stephanie whose family is Belarusian, Rebeka whose family is Ethiopian, and Isaac who is Mexican-American. Rebeka reserved a room on campus, and the group shared their dreams for what they hope God would do at DU. They dreamed about having Bible studies for men and women, having a monthly familia dinner, and sharing their faith with friends and classmates. The Denver team trained them with a tool called “What Matters?” to equip them on how to start a spiritual conversation based on topics that matter to many people, and especially to Jesus.

We look forward to what God continues doing at DU and CCA!

Posted by Destino Admin in Discipleship, Missions, Outreach, Spiritually Empowered, 0 comments

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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