I grew up in Plymouth, Michigan, which is a suburb of Detroit. I lived with my parents, and two younger siblings. We grew up going to church and Christian school, and as a result I don’t remember a real concrete time when I became a Christian. I really don’t remember not being one. As a teenager, I had a pretty up and down spiritual experience. I would go to Bible camp or a conference or something and be really fired up about reading my Bible or sharing Christ with my friends, but that would quickly fade into life as usual. It wasn’t until I went to college that I really began to grow spiritually on a consistent basis.
I went to Central Michigan University as a freshmen in the fall of 1999. My desire was to be your average college student without falling into all the temptations of drinking and sex and all that “bad” stuff I always heard about college students doing. I didn’t want to leave my Christianity when I went away to school, but at the same time I didn’t want it to be a huge part of my life. The second week I was at CMU, I went to the Cru meeting. The people seemed pretty nice and it was a good time so I figured I would keep going. I met a man who was a Cru staff member named Jason Smith there. He invited me to come to a Bible Study he was leading literally 30 feet from my dorm room. I told him that I would go but really had no intention of doing so, that was one step too far for me. I wanted to be a Christian, but not a disciple. I didn’t really want to live all of my life for God. As time went on and I got to know some people in Cru more, I finally broke down and decided to go to the Bible Study and Jason started to disciple (spiritually mentor), me. Soon that wasn’t all I was doing. I went to the Winter Conference in Indianapolis and it was there that I decided to go on the Virginia Beach Summer Mission, a ten week long campus ministry training program that Cru offers in the summer.
There were about 70 other students in Virginia Beach from all over the country. While I was there I learned how to share my faith effectively and grew a ton in my relationship with God. When I returned to CMU in the fall, I was ready to be a leader in group there. Sometime that fall I remember thinking about the impact that Jason had on my life. I had grown so much spiritually in just a year and much of it was because of him. I started to wonder if I could have that same kind of impact on people’s lives and started to consider joining the staff of Cru for myself.
As time went on and I was doing more and more ministry I started to see that God was able to use me to have an impact on student’s lives just like he used Jason in mine. I also started to see that he had gifted me when it came to ministry. So when it came time to graduate from college it was really a no-brainer for me to join the staff of Cru.