Dave is a native Southern Californian and avid sports fan of the Dodgers, Lakers, Rams and USC Trojans. Dave is married to Jen and has identical twin boys who attend rival military academies (Jacob - Naval Academy & Joshua - West Point). Dave is on staff with Cru and ministers primarily to Young Professionals in Orange County.
The spotlight blinded me as I stood before 1000 students and staff who were gathered together for our biggest event of the year – our San Diego Winter Conference. I had just been introduced by one of our former students, who was serving as the MC for the conference.
One of the exciting parts of our jobs is helping our staff step out in faith to start new ministries in ethnic contexts. This fall, we’ve seen new Destino ministries started at San Jose State and the University of Arizona.
We’ve seen a new Impact ministry (African American students) started at UC Santa Barbara as well as a Bridges Ministry (International students) at Chico State. But two of the most exciting ministry launches both include Epic (our ministry to Asian American students).
On a recent coaching visit to Hawaii, I met Jessica Choi, a music professor at a local community college. Jessica came to Christ through our KCCC ministry on the east coast several years ago and was involved for 4 years as a student. After graduating, she maintained a heart to reach those around her.
Listen to her share her story in her own words how she is continuing to have an impact on students today.
Over the summer, I had the chance to coach Joel as he raised funds to join our Long Beach Destino team as an intern. It was fun to see Joel take steps of faith to see God provide in huge ways. Joel finished his fund-raising and reported in time to start the fall. It’s exciting to see the impact Joel is having as the ONLY Latino guy who is on the team.
A few weeks ago, before heading to campus for the day, Joel prayed, “Lord, save someone today. Let me see and guide someone from death to life.”
Later that morning, Joel found himself talking to Jamie, a student he had met and talked with briefly just a few days before. Moments into the conversation, Joel decided to bring up God. In what turned out to be a 2 hour conversation, Joel was able to engage Jamie regarding his past and his current beliefs in God. Joel was able to share the gospel and though Jamie thought he knew God, it turns out that he never really heard and understood the message of Christ before.
Jamie opened up about his desire to know God and trust in something greater than himself to satisfy his emptiness. As Joel shared about the great love God has for him, tears welled up in Jamie’s eyes and he could not speak. Obviously God was working in Jamie’s heart.
In that moment, as he saw Jamie move from death to life, Joel remembered the prayer he had prayed that morning.
Thank you for your prayers for us. Because of your prayers and partnership, many lives, like Joel’s and Jamie’s are being changed for Christ’s sake!
Last summer, a student named Elda attended our “Destino Trek” project in San Antonio. Through that experience, Elda received vision and training to start Destino on her own campus at Chico State.
A few weeks ago, I received an email about Samira, another Chico State student whose life has been impacted by being involved in Destino. Here is Samira’s story, as told by one of the Destino Trek staff:
It was midnight. I got the short straw at our staff meeting and so my job was to drive to the Austin airport and pick up a student arriving a day early for “Destino Trek,” an intensive leadership training week we do each year in central Texas.
Samira (Sahmeer-ah) from Chico State was waiting for her luggage when I met her at the carousel in baggage claim. As we made the one hour ride back to where we were hosting the training, I found out Samira was like most of our students—her parents are immigrants, she is the first in her family to go to college, Spanish is spoken at home but her English is really good, and she was a new Christian who wanted to grow and become more of a leader for Christ.
I hit the pillow hard that night and got up the next day to help Samira and sixteen other students (pictured below) from around the U.S. to pursue their goal of growing as spiritual leaders.
Each day we did some sort of physical challenge, a high ropes course or kayaking down the Brazos River. But we’d also train them in how to spend time with God, how to share their faith, how to grow in character, how to launch and build a Destino movement, etc.
After one morning of training on how to share your faith, we had an afternoon of outreach in the community. We all paired up to talk with people, and Samira shared her faith for the first time.
That night we came back to the ranch and had a time of telling each other what God did. Samira spoke up. She began to say that she was able to share with somebody. But then she stopped midway through the story and said, “Can I tell you in Spanish?” And the whole group spontaneously said things like, “Of course!” “This is Destino!” “We’re your familia!”
Samira then really lit up and, in Spanish, passionately told us how she led somebody to pray and receive Christ that afternoon. It was the 1000th moment I’ve had in the last two years with Destino, that I saw how much we need a ministry like this to win, build and send students like Samira.
Through your partnership, Destino movements are starting on campuses like Chico State through students like Elda. As a result, students like Samira are being reached and trained to influence others for Christ. Thank you for your partnership in reaching students and faculty from every culture on every campus for Christ! We are extremely grateful for you!
The picture above was taken 4 years ago when we were in Colorado for 6 weeks training new campus leaders and attending our Staff conference. Our boys have grown a lot since then but they have fond memories of their summer there. They are looking forward to fun with family and friends and Jen and I are looking forward to being refreshed from the Lord as well as great times with our family.
We are heading out bright and early on Tuesday morning and will be on the road for 2 days. Will you take a moment and pray for us? Pray for safe travels and for the Lord to meet us this summer through the different roles that we have been assigned. For Jen, she will be taking some classes to pursue her theological development, while I will be helping to lead a 4 week training course for many of our new campus leaders.
Pray for great times with our family on our off days and pray for our boys too. They will be a part of a summer long kids program. It’s kind of like a 6 week VBS. They get to do a lot of fun activities and field trips and they love hanging out with other kids too.
Thanks for your prayer and partnership. We’ll keep you updated as the summer rolls along.
Feel free to drop us a note and share your own prayer requests with us.
One of the things that has been fun about our job is that we have had more opportunities to speak and teach and influence our staff. Not only have we spoken on many campuses this year but Dave flew to Daytona Beach in January to address all of Campus Crusade’s new staff.
We had fun serving as Emcees for a portion of our staff regional retreat and in addition, Jen and I were able to lead a training seminar in “Building movements” with 25 new leaders of ethnic movements.
One of the points we shared with these new leaders is that building anything significant takes time. To help illuminate the principle, Jen showed a clip from the movie “What About Bob?”
In the movie, Bill Murray plays Bob, a neurotic patient who drives his psychiatrist nuts (pun intended)!
Bob finds a new doctor, Leo Marvin, played by Richard Dreyfuss, who recommends to Bob a ground-breaking new book (his own) entitled Baby Steps.
The idea, Dr. Marvin explains, is to take small steps to achieve a larger goal. By taking small steps, the stress that sometimes comes with the enormity of a task can be eliminated.
Bob takes the advice to heart and as a result, develops an unhealthy attachment to his new doctor, which ultimately drives Dreyfuss to the loony bin.
It’s easy to sometimes feel overwhelmed with the stuff of life like Bob. When I think about the enormity of our job, I can sometimes begin to relate to Bob’s neuroses. We’ve been given the leadership task of reaching over 2 million students who do not culturally relate to our traditional ministries. It’s no small task and be quite overwhelming at times.
We’re trying to heed the advice of that wise sage, Dr. Leo Marvin, who encouraged Bob to take “baby steps.”
As we look back on this past academic year, I can say that we’ve definitely taken “baby steps.”
Though there’s still much to do, we’ve seen new Destino ministries started at Chico State, San Jose State, and UC Irvine, along with a new Destino team that is focusing ministry efforts at Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton.
We’ve seen new Bridges volunteers raised up at San Jose State, Berkeley and Hawaii.
Most importantly, we’re seeing more and more of our staff and students step out in faith to reach into these different cultural communities with the message of the gospel.
We’re reminded that change is often slow and incremental rather than fast and instantaneous. As Bob quipped to Dr. Leo Marvin, “we’re doing the work, we’re not slackers!”
Thanks for your partnership with us in taking “baby steps” to seeing every student of every culture have the opportunity to hear and respond to the message of Christ.
Click here to download the pdf version of “The Lowedown”…
We are so grateful for those of you who are partnered with us through prayer. This month, our National team has put together a 31 day prayer journal for May that highlights Ethnic Field Ministry (EFM). Since this is the area that Jen and I are working in, we thought we would pass this along to you so you could a) learn more about it is that we do, and b) pray for us more effectively while also praying for ethnic field ministry in general.
Thanks for your partnership in prayer. Click here to access the prayer journal.
One of the most frequent questions we get in our role is “why do you have separate ministries to reach out to ethnic minority students?”
Dina Martinez’s story provides an answer to that question.
Dina is an intern with Campus Crusade and Destino at UC Santa Barbara. Dina grew up in South Central Los Angeles where most of her friends were either Latino or African American. When she arrived as a student at UC Santa Barbara she experienced culture shock because she wasn’t accustomed to being in the minority.
Being a Christian, Dina decided to check out Real Life, Campus Crusade’s weekly meeting. Even though she loved the mission and vision of Campus Crusade, and how bold they were in sharing the gospel with students on campus, it was very difficult for her to attend the weekly meeting and get involved because of how radically different it was culturally.
“There was only one other ethnic person at the weekly meeting besides me”, Dina recalls. “I felt very alone and self-conscious.”
Dina prayed that God would give her the strength to keep attending, even though it was draining for her.
When Dina’s bible study leader wanted to start Destino, Campus Crusade’s ministry to Latino students, Dina asked if she could help. She wanted to start Destino to minimize some of the barriers that ethnic students face in getting involved and coming to Christ by sharing Christ with fellow Latinos in a way that was culturally relevant to them.
This year UCSB took 11 students to the Destino Winter Conference in San Antonio, Texas. One student who attended the Conference was named Lidia, who considered herself to be agnostic. Lidia had a spiritual encounter with the Lord at the Conference, and two weeks later, she put her faith in Christ. Dina says, “Destino is so important because it is like a tight knit family, and I want Latino students to experience the love of Christ in a safe environment.”
Thanks for partnering with us so that students like Dina and Lidia can experience Christ in the context of “familia”!
Click here to download the pdf version of The Lowedown!