The first few months of the school year are a busy and strategic time for our Destino staff and students! We celebrate that many students have begun new relationships with Jesus! Here’s three stories told by Destino staff members.
Lauren, University of Minnesota
Veronica (above left) is a freshman at the University of Minnesota, living in the dorms on campus. She filled out a contact card and our Destino team has gotten to meet with her. Her second appointment was with one of my teammates, who brought along one of our student leaders, Lizeth (next to Veronica).
Lizeth and I have spent many hours together over the past year! From our first meeting after she filled out a contact card last fall, to helping her write her personal testimony, to sharing our faith together on campus, she has grown immensely in her walk with God.
In their meeting, Lizeth had the chance to share her testimony with Veronica and explain how God has used Destino in her life. As they talked, it became clear that Veronica wanted to hear more about how to know Jesus. Lizeth explained the gospel to Veronica, and she prayed to receive Christ that day! Right afterwards, she came to our Fiesta Friday and had the chance to meet our Destino familia. What an amazing answer to prayer — for a new sister in Christ, for our student leaders to grow in their heart for evangelism, and for new students to be welcomed into our Destino community!
Daniel, Los Angeles South
During the first few weeks of the semester we promote Destino and approach hundreds of students, inviting them to be a part of our faith community and know Jesus. Richard (above right), one of our new interns, sensed the Holy Spirit leading him to approach a young man named Mario (above left). After talking for a bit, Richard invited him to a Bible study just a few hours later. As we finished the Bible study, I could tell Mario had more questions. As we processed the content, it was evident he was ready to commit more. “Eternal life begins with the decision to believe Jesus’ death on the cross pays for our sins and to invite Him to rule in our hearts, yielding to His leadership daily,” I shared. This resonated with Mario, he wanted this. So we prayed together and as Mario prayed so sincerely, we were confident in his salvation.
Lauren, University of Central Florida
We had over 200 spiritual conversations the first week of campus! Pricilla was one of the students we met. She talked through a spiritual interest survey with my husband Kenny, and I called to follow up with her. She began to share her desire to get a master’s in counseling, and I asked her what started that passion. She vulnerably shared about a painful past in which she had encountered abuse and saw her dad thrown in jail. It was a counselor at a domestic abuse shelter that had made a significant impact in her life. I asked how she felt about God after all she has been through, and was able to share my own testimony of struggling with God’s goodness in the midst of suffering. She told me that she believed in God and had seen him change people’s lives’, including her dad, who is now a strong Christian after God changed his life while he was in jail for dealing drugs in Colombia.
Pricilla understood the gospel intellectually, but negative experiences with judgmental Christians, on top of all the pain she’s been through, had made it hard for her to trust God or live for him. We talked through my process of surrendering my life to Christ and choosing to live for him. I asked her if that is something she wanted at this point in her life. We prayed together and she said yes!
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 Dominguez 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 Dominguez 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 Dominguez 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 Dominguez Hills as well as Cerritos College, that many would come to know Jesus and get connected to the Destino familia?
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!
In the Latino community, familia (family) is very important. Arianna, a student at the University of Minnesota, found Destino to be an extension of her familia. Here’s what she had to say:
“When I think of Destino, it’s like coming home. You’re with students who are also Latin American and you share the same similarities, something that we all relate to.
I really like that they [Destino students and staff members] don’t pressure you, they’re just willing to listen and they’re genuine and caring and allow you to be 100% comfortable in your own skin…I am able to tell them things that are going on without feeling judged. I definitely like the community that they’ve built because I feel welcomed and included.
Destino is a place where you’re gonna grow as a person, create strong relationships and learn more about God and how He works in your life without you knowing it. People listen to you and give a little bit of their insight about what the Bible says.
Being with Destino helped me a lot as far as building a relationship with God and realizing that with anything that I do, God is always by my side and I should never feel ashamed despite making mistakes.
Destino made my experience of Minnesota much better. They complemented my life and my journey, and I’m definitely looking forward to continuing to be a part of it.”
Because Latino culture is so oriented around family, Rigo and Lauren Rodriguez, Destino staff in Minneapolis, have not just been able to minister to Arianna but her whole family. After meeting them at Arianna’s birthday party they’ve come to church with the Rodriguezes and spent time at their home. Rigo and Lauren are now people they call when they need prayer or a listening ear. God is using Destino staff like Rigo and Lauren not just in the lives’ of college students but the Latino community as a whole, helping them to know Jesus and walk with Him!
*Arianna’s story was featured in an article about Destino on Cru Storylines. Click here to read the whole article.