Evangelism

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
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
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
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
What is Familia?

What is Familia?

This week we want to give a shout out to Destino at the University of Arizona/Pima!  This spring, they’ve been working really hard to meet people and build a movement in their city.  Recently, they did an awesome outreach on campus that engaged students by asking questions.

They asked students to explain what family is, what they like about their culture, what their culture needs, and if they think one can know God personally.  Students were invited to write their ideas on a giant graffiti board and then were invited to a meeting where U. of A. head baseball coach Andy Lopez gave his testimony of how he grew up in church, but later met God for real and how his personal relationship with Jesus has really changed his life.

Building a spiritual movement is often slow and very hard work, but we’re so excited to see the movement at UA/Pima gaining traction. The Lord is doing awesome things there!  What questions could you use to start spiritual conversations on your campus?

Posted by Devin Tressler in Culturally Connected, Outreach, 0 comments
Sharing the Gospel through Día de los Muertos

Sharing the Gospel through Día de los Muertos

The smell of cempasuchitl (Mexican marigolds) would often take over the busyness and pollution of the city. It signified the beginning of a colorful celebration that I did not fully understand, but certainly enjoyed.  As a child, Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), was a moment to remember those who had gone before us. It served as a tribute. As a young teenager, Día de los Muertos, served as a tool to humorously deal with realities we could not overcome.

Through altars and short poems, sorrows and anecdotes were expressed in a cheerful tone during this season and out of fear many mocked death in an effort to overcome it, if only momentarily. Doing so alleviated the harsh realities of a broken world and of an imminent destiny.

Regardless of the many perceptions of this celebration, I think Día de los Muertos today can serve in bridging many to Jesus. I want to challenge us to point out the glimpse of the greater story of life in this celebration.

Perhaps behind this tradition there is a sense that death is not how things ought to be, that it is contrary to our existence. What if we spoke truth into the evident need to overcome death?

Maybe we are the ones who could complete the story though sharing about the One who overcame death so that things are what they ought to be.

|Maybe we are the ones who could complete the story though sharing about the One who overcame death so that things are what they ought to be.

In your campus, there might be a Día de los Muertos celebration, where different groups or individuals set up “altares”. This might be a great place to meet Latinos and to engage in significant spiritual conversations as the topics of spirituality and death are easy to come up.

I have seen “altares” (display tables with relevant artifacts) to remember loved ones, to make a statement about ideas or philosophies or to humorously deal with realities.

An altar to the dying economy would be an example of humorously dealing with realities that are hard to overcome.

Last year at a campus in Southern California students decided to make an altar with colorful paper representing different aspects of the gospel, much like a gospel bracelet. Every time, someone came by to ask them what the topic of their altar was they shared the gospel through explaining each of the color specific levels.

Sandy, @itsovalle, served for several years with Destino in Texas and California.  She has a heart for creating multicultural communities of belonging where foreign-born and native-born people can experience the kingdom of God together. She believes God uses displacement and migration as essential catalysts to carry out his mission. Currently working at World Relief, Sandy empowers churches and communities to engage their immigrant and refugee neighbors

photo courtesy: Bea Ibarra

Posted by Devin Tressler in Culturally Connected, Outreach, 0 comments