The Growing Ratio Christi Family
National Conference for Christian Apologetics and RC Symposium
I attended the 5th annual Ratio Christi Symposium last October. It is always great to see the growth in Ratio Christi family. I find great encouragement meeting with my co-laborers, it is always a great time to talk about the struggles we face on the campus and to encourage one another in the ministry.
At the symposium our keynote speaker was a Professor of Sociology, Dr. George Yancey, from the University of North Texas. His work focuses on Christianophobia, anti-Christian bias in academia and racial identity. You can check out his page at: http://www.georgeyancey.com/
Encouragement from a Former Mormon
Lynn Wilder and I
At the Ratio Christi and Alliance Defending Freedom dinner I met a very special lady. I went to say, “Hi,” to Blake Anderson our COO and he introduced me to Lynn Wilder. When he said her name, with great enthusiasm I said, “I KNOW YOU!” I told her that when I was meeting with Mormon missionaries and that we showed them her son Micah's testimony leaving the Mormon church and coming to faith to the Biblical Jesus Christ.
You can watch the video here:
The Wilder family have a very powerful testimony and God is using them in a powerful way! I had a long conversation with her and told her my experiences with sharing with Mormon missionaries. She told me the best thing to do is ask questions, get them into the Bible and love on them. Lynn told me that Mormon missionaries live very isolated lives away from their families and they only get two phone calls a year to speak with their families. She said to love them by inviting them for a meal, share your life with them, and get to know them so that they can see love outside of the Mormon Church. I had such an encouraging conversation with her and she hugged me and thanked me for sharing with the Mormon missionaries. About an hour later we ran into each other at the conference and she hands me a copy of her book, Unveiling Grace.
So very grateful for the book. I have found it very helpful as I witness to Mormons. God is using her book in a powerful way and not just to Mormons, but even a Muslim! Lynn told me that a Muslim was saved by reading her book because he saw similarities in Islam and Mormonism. Praise God! It is so encouraging to hear that people are leaving the Mormon church everyday! Please pray for Lynn and the Wilder family.
After having a conversation with Lynn, I was hoping God would give me more opportunities to meet with Mormon missionaries again. She said that Mormon missionaries have a map of the community and place red dots are placed on houses that they think are at opposition with them. I thought to myself could they have put a red dot at my elder’s house, maybe?
East Coast Road Trip
My East Coast Family
After all of the events in North and South Carolina, I had the opportunity to take a road trip up the east coast with my friend Jen. On this trip we were able to visit with some of my supporters, potential supporters, colleagues, friends, and one of my youth group kids who is all grown up now and attending a Christian college in New York! I was able to update people on the ministry and I hope some people will join as monthly supporters. I am grateful for all the brothers and sisters that God put in my life for their hospitality and opening their homes to me as I made it up the east coast. What a blessing! Please continue to pray for more supporters.
Harvard & Yale
On this trip I was able to walk around two of the most prestigious universities in America: Harvard and Yale. As I was walking around the campuses I still saw some remnants of its Christian history. At Yale I saw inscriptions that said, “Lux et Veritas” (Light and truth) and at Harvard, “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae,”(Truth for Christ and the Church). Did you know that “prior to the nineteenth century all but two colleges in the United States, including schools such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Dartmouth, were established in by faithful Christians for the purpose of seeking knowledge in light of God’s revelation in Word (Scripture, theology) and world (science, arts) in order to train ministers and scholars within a deeply Christian perspective”? (Mind your Faith by David Horner pg. 28) We hope and pray one day we can have Ratio Christi at these institutions.
Witnessing Wherever You May Go
Times Square, NYC
While in D.C. one of my friends Jackie ordered a Lyft driver for Jen and I so that we can go to the Holocaust Museum. As we were waiting I guess we missed the first driver because he was on the wrong side of the street and so we waited for another Lyft driver. I guess you can say it was meant for us to miss the first ride. As Jen and I started a conversation with the Lyft driver we started talking about family. He told us he had a son who has been to war and when he came back he was not the same. His son decided to go back to Afghanistan because he felt that is where he belonged. Jen told him that her fiancé had also been to Afghanistan and it’s only because of God that he was able to make it out alive. The driver agreed. We told the driver we were Christians. So the conversation kept on going and he finally tells us he is a Baptist pastor. Jen and I were so happy to know we had met another Christian. As the conversation developed we realized he held to some unorthodox beliefs, he didn’t believe in sin or the need to repent, he believed that there were many ways to God, we were gods and some other strange things. Jen and I knew we had to share with him so we proceeded to give him the Gospel, that Christ is the only way, that we had to put our trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and that we needed to repent. We told him what we do as apologists and handed him a tract that talked about apologetics. We departed and headed into the Holocaust Museum. We hope that our Lyft driver will come to know the truth and that Jesus is the only way to salvation.
In New York City, Jen and I walked into a cosmetic store to browse some make-up. We started talking to a make-up artist and I noticed she had a cross tattooed in her cleavage. I thought to myself, "that is a strange place to have a cross." I told Jen and we both agreed we should try to talk to her. So I asked her if I could try on some products. I began to ask her questions. I asked her if she was a Christian because of her tattoo. She said, "No, the cross can mean many different things, like trinity, strength, power etc." Jen and I just kept the conversation going, but she really didn't seem interested, I even asked her about the hip hop mogul Jay-Z, Brooklyn, the Bronx, rent and some other things. Jen and I were both praying during the conversation, hoping that she might open up a little more, but she didn't and we knew it was time to go. We hope seeds were planted and our labor was not in vain. Please pray for Troy.
Later on that day, Jen and I met a homeless veteran named Joseph. We spoke to him for a bit and I ended up giving him all my snacks that I bought a few hours earlier and Jen gave him some money. He told us that it was hard to find working even though he was willing. He told us about his life and that he was a Christian. We encouraged him to find a church, we prayed for him and he prayed for us too. We hope that Joseph will find a church, work and a home.
Also, in New York we saw a Hare Krishna guy by the subway. I told Jen maybe we should give a tract since he was handing out tracts. So on our way back into the Subway we exchanged tracts with him. Jen gave him the tract on religions and worldviews. We hope that he was able to read it and that God can use it to reveal His Truth.
One thing about trips, you just never know who you will come across. I find God gives me a lot of those opportunities on planes and at airports. On my trip to North Carolina, I pretty much spoke to a person the whole ride from Texas to North Carolina. Plant seeds and pray they grow.
Abi and I
Abigail invited me to attend a Veritas Forum (Founded at Harvard University in 1992, Veritas sponsors public forums at secular universities to “engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and relevance of Jesus Christ to all life” www.veritas.org
) at Cal on “The American Dream: Money, God and the Pursuit of Happiness,” but before we went to the event Abigail wanted me to go with her to meet with a professor. She was a bit confused by what he believed and thought I should come along with her. As we were looking for his office I realized we were at the School of Optometry building. I guess you can say I had a moment with God, being in that building brought me back to the days when all I wanted to be was an optometrist and Berkeley was actually one of the schools I applied to. In this moment God was telling me, “See you don’t need to be a student at Berkeley or become an optometrist to be used by me.” As I walk with the Lord, God continues to bring things back in full circle. God gave me a different mission in life. Instead of helping people see the physical world clearer, he gave me the mission to help people see the beauty of Jesus Christ and their need for Him. What an honor and privilege. I thank God for moments and reminders like that, it helps me to keep going. God knows when we need encouragement.
When we entered Dr. Klein’s office he needed help looking for one of the lenses that popped out of his glasses, we tried finding it, but we couldn’t, and he continued to wear his glasses with the missing lens for the rest of the night! He brought us into another office with books laid on the table. There were books on metaphysics, process theology, and quantum mechanics. Dr. Klein is a physicist and teaches vision science. He was quite a character, I can see why Abigail brought me along with her; we were both confused by his beliefs. We continued our conversation at dinner that Dr. Klein treated us to dinner at a local Chinese restaurant a few blocks from campus. A PhD student came and joined our discussion, he was a graduate of Berkeley and was now getting his PhD at UC Santa Cruz. We had a lovely time at dinner talking about what Dr. Klein believed. Abigail and I were still perplexed about what he believed, we couldn’t quite figure out what he believed because he believed in different aspects from different worldviews and he would contradict himself quite a bit. As an atheist he was not a hostile one, he was a very kind man and it seems like he is also open to the idea of God, he didn’t believe science was the only way to truth and that there needs to be more interdisciplinary studies to find truth. He seemed to be drawn to process theology, a theology that says that God is changing with the universe. As we spoke with Dr. Klein he seemed to be more of a theist than an atheist, but labels himself a “religious naturalist.” Dr. Klein even came with us to the Veritas Forum event and was quite pleased with the discussion and thought more of this should be happening at the university. He even told me and Abigail that the work we do on campus is very important! Pray for more opportunities to speak with Dr. Klein and that will find The Truth and come to know Him.
Science and Faith Talk with A.J. Roberts at SJSU
In November we had my friend Dr. A.J. Roberts from Reasons to Believe come and speak at our chapter. Her topic was on "Are Science and Faith in conflict?" She talked about four ways of how we can relate science and religion. She had a very interactive presentation and we enjoyed it very much! She did a great job in showing us that science and the Christian faith are perfectly suited companions for the pursuit of truth. I know many people left encouraged to share their faith with others. We thank A.J. for coming!
Unity in Christ Summit
I attended the Unity in Christ summit. Several leaders from different ministries came together to see how we could better reach SJSU for Christ together. We had a time of prayer, communion, discipleship, Bible study, we talked about the strength and weaknesses of our outreach to the campus and what outreach we will be doing in the Spring Semester. Unity in Christ has been working with Campus Renewal an organization that has a mission to “create and catalyze united movements that transform college campuses for Christ. By bringing students, campus ministries, and local churches together in prayer and evangelism, we strengthen the influence of the Body of Christ on campus.” In Spring we are planning on getting a Rez Week at SJSU to do outreach before Easter. The whole week will be centered on the Resurrection of Christ. Please pray for us as we plan for this huge outreach.
Meeting with Mormons
After speaking with Lynn Wilder at the Ratio Christi events in North Carolina, I was so encouraged by her that I wanted to meet with Mormons again. A few weeks after getting back from the East Coast God answered prayer; I had another opportunity to meet with the local Mormon Missionaries! I made sure to take Lynn’s advice on how to talk to Mormons. She told me to ask questions and to love on them. I also have been reading her book Unveiling Grace. I recommend the book. You will learn what it is like to live a Mormon life and how hard it can be to get out of it. Pray for the hearts and minds of the Mormon missionaries and that they will know the true way to salvation.
Students for Life and Planned Parenthood Display
After a Christian faculty and staff meeting Ed (faculty advisor) and I were walking around campus and saw that there was a Planned Parenthood Display that the Students for life had put up. The goal was to expose what Planned Parenthood was doing. Ed and I there witnessed some heated conversation. I took the opportunity to thank the Students for life for standing up for the unborn and spoke to them very briefly. I recommended a book to them that one of my Professors (Scott Klusendorf) at Biola had written called, The Case for Life, and I was glad to hear that they actually use that book as a resource. Please pray for these students as they share the truth about abortion and provide real options for women.
Black Lives Matter Demonstration
While I was on campus checking out the Students Life display Ed and I heard some students chanting and I turned to see that there was a Black Lives Matter demonstration. After visiting the Planned Parenthood display I went over to the Student Union to see what was going on. As I was listening I could hear the anger, hurt, and pain in the speeches. I wanted to listen to try to understand what was going on. While I was listening I was supposed to meet with Naila (the student in the International Church of Christ) and I had her come meet me at the demonstration. Naila is a black student, I asked her if we could talk about this a little bit more after it was done and she said, “Yes.” So after the demonstration we sat on a bench and I asked her what she thought. She said that the only thing that can solve their problems was Jesus Christ. I knew what she said was true, but how do we reach these students? One of the students at the demonstration believed that the KKK represented Christianity. Another student said, “the university doesn’t want us here, they expect us to play sports and then just leave.” Please pray that we will have opportunities to share the hope of Christ with these students.
Meeting with an Artist
Kathy and I
Kathy's Artwork of Chinese soldiers
I met Kathy at the Unity in Christ Summit and we began to meet together on campus. I try to meet with students who cannot come to our meetings and Kathy is one of those students. She heard about us from a friend and he has been telling her to join Ratio Christi, hopefully she will be able to join us next semester.
The first day we met she told me about how hard it is to be a Christian on campus. Sometimes she felt alone and that she wished that Christian professors would be more bold about their faith. She said that, "If the older generations are not sharing the faith, then what inspiration do we (young generation) have to share our faith?" It was interesting that she said this because Ratio Christi just started RC Prof
. RC Prof is our newest ministry to professors to help professors become missional professors. In that moment I had the idea of asking professors to come to RC meetings to share their testimonies to encourage students. Kathy thought that would be a great idea. At RC we would also like to see professors mentoring students as well. The following Wednesday I attended the Christian faculty/staff meeting and shared with them what Kathy had said. I asked them if they would be interested in sharing their testimonies at our Ratio Christi meetings and it looks like we have some interests with one professor giving us a definite yes and of course Ed, our advisor will too! I have two other professors in mind. I'm hoping and praying we will have one professor come in each month next semester. Pray with us!
The next meeting with Kathy was a good two hours, which I am thankful for. Students are especially busy with finals coming up. We talked about art, music, depression, meaning, purpose, and how to glorify God in the work that she does. Kathy has been a Christian for two years and tells me she deals with depression, she was in a very dark place before she found hope in Christ. I asked her, "Is it common to see depression in artist?" She thinks so because lots of her classmates deal with it. She tells me that people are always searching for meaning and purpose and thinks maybe people get depressed because they don't know what their meaning and purpose is in life. We continued to talk and she told me she had to do a 25-minute presentation for her final. I threw around some ideas to her and together we thought she should get students to think about creativity (where does it come from), meaning, purpose and a time of reflection. Often times students cannot reflect on life because they live busy lives. Please pray that Kathy can impact her class during her final. Before we departed ways she asked me to walk with her to class and she showed me some of her work. We walked into her class and immediately I recognized one of the students from the atheist club. She tells me that his locker is right above her locker, she didn't know he was an atheist. I prayed that she would be a light to him.
Cool story: Kathy bought the denim jacket with the cross (photo above) before she was saved. She thought it was a fashion, little did she know that the cross would mean something more!
Reaching the Community
On Halloween I had the opportunity to pass out candy and tracts with the youth group. We passed out 300 bags of candy with tracts! Check out those costumes. The star of the show was that Minion. The best costume goes to our pastor, way to go PG! So many people wanted to take a picture with him and it gave us the opportunity to pass all of our bags of candy and tracts. Please pray that people will come to know Jesus through these efforts.
San Lorenzo Food Pantry
The week of Thanksgiving we had the opportunity to do food distribution in San Lorenzo and in Oakland. I am so encouraged to work with young people that have a heart to serve the community. Please pray for these students almost half of our youth group have yet to receive the Lord as their Savior.
December means finals! I pray that the students will do well on their exams. We had our final meeting for the semester at our favorite Thai place in downtown San Jose. We had great conversations and talked a little about what we will do next year. Before we ate dinner James asked, "Should we pray now?" I said, "Yes." He looked at me and asked, "You want me to pray?" I said "Yes." This was the first time James has prayed in front of us. It was a beautiful prayer. I also wanted to let you know that James has been going to church! Praise God!
Hernan, Ed and James
At the dinner I gave away three apologetics study Bibles, which were given to me by B&H Publishing Group.
One was awarded to Ed, he has been a very supportive advisor and we love him very much! The other two Bibles were awarded to James and Hernan. All three of men have had the best attendance this semester. I was delighted to hear James say to Ed and James, "We should get together and go through it together." Looks like the Lord is doing a work in James! Praise Him. What a way to end 2015!
I just wanted to thank you all again for your continued support and prayers. I praise God for your partnership with Ratio Christi. God bless you all.
Glory to our God,