February 18, 2022
When Landon started university, he questioned his faith for the first time in his life. It rocked his world—but you were there for him.
Have you heard that a young adult’s experience at university can make or break their faith? That was Landon’s experience.
“My faith started here in college, and a lot of it is contributed to campus ministry,” he said.
“Are You an Atheist?”
When Landon started school at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Michigan, he wanted strong relationships and a community. Instead, he got sucked into a whirlwind of social activities and parties.
“What did that lead to? Nothing good. Nothing fruitful. Nothing healthy. Nothing that filled me up in any way. It totally drained me,” he said. “Three months into college, you can call it rock bottom. You can call it just a feeling of . . . if this is what college is, I don’t want this.”
Landon didn’t want to give up on college yet, but he wanted to get some space. He signed up for a study-abroad experience and went to Costa Rica, where he lived with a Spanish-speaking family and four other students from the United States. He was hoping for a respite from challenging questions and relationships, but during dinner that very first week, each of the four other students shared that they were atheists. They turned to Landon.
“What about you? Do you believe in God?” they asked.
“Yes,” Landon said.
It was the first time someone had asked Landon about his faith, and he didn’t know what to say.
“I Need to Fear God and Follow Jesus Christ”
Landon couldn’t brush off the conversation. His new housemates drilled him with questions. “It wasn’t just that they didn’t believe in God,” he said. “It was like, they didn’t believe in God and they didn’t want you to believe in God.”
For the first time in his life, Landon was questioning his faith. He felt that God was asking him, “Do you really believe in me?”
So Landon dove into Scripture. He had brought a small pocket Bible with him to Costa Rica, and he started reading. He knew he needed to better understand his faith. He needed to own it.
“The more I researched, and the more I read, I was like . . . God is real,” said Landon. “And if God is real, then I need to fear God and follow Jesus Christ.”
You were there for him.
“Where the Discipleship Happens”
When Landon returned to GVSU’s campus his sophomore year, he asked God for one good Christian friend—and he soon connected with your Resonate partner Campus Ministry at GVSU.
Landon took “the courageous step of saying, ‘I need help knowing how to do this following Jesus thing here,’” said Scott Stark, one of your campus ministers. Little did Landon know that, at the same time, Scott was encouraging each of his student leaders to ask God to show them one student to befriend.
Landon began attending The Well, Campus Ministry’s weekly gathering of hundreds of students. When he connected with a small group through Campus Ministry his life really started to change.
“I signed up on a whim,” said Landon. “The leader kept on reaching out, kept on coming after me, pursuing me, pursuing me, pursuing me. I finally ended up coming [to the small group], and it was just like the weirdest experience of ‘Wow this person really cares for me.’”
“Without You, Campus Ministry Wouldn’t Be Here”
Landon’s faith grew exponentially from there, and Campus Ministry remained a central part of his life at university.
“The life groups are where the discipleship happens, the real growth happens,” he added. “Meeting other guys who are in a similar spot as me, similar background, been in the same stuff, and now we’re here just trying to follow the Lord, trying to live a holier life.”
Landon found his first real mentors through Campus Ministry, and eventually he began to disciple and mentor younger students. He even served as a student leader and intern.
Landon recently graduated from GVSU—but his story is just beginning.
“My testimony, it starts here. The cool thing is that it doesn’t end here. Campus Ministry’s goal is to send us out,” he said. Landon is committed to sharing his faith and living it out in discipleship with a supportive faith community. He’s connected to a local church too.
Campus ministry is about “equipping students here and now with tools to do ministry and to be active disciples of Jesus here—and then continuing on into the next season of their lives,” said Scott.
Thank you for helping this ministry thrive! You made a big difference in Landon’s life and testimony through your support, and he says thank you. “Without you, Campus Ministry wouldn’t be here,” he said.