I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity that I have received in continuing higher education at New Hope Christian College. I came to attend New Hope with many years of ministry experience under my belt, but I felt that enrolling was the first step to a major transformation in my character that has now allowed me to fully grasp God’s calling in my life for the better and for the future.
At first, I came to this college with just the simple understanding that my calling was to become a pastor. What kind of pastor, one might ask? Not sure. The most probable situation was for me to dream of becoming the next most successful Hispanic-American pastor in the Northwest. And so, I would sign up to serve anywhere that I could to begin the learning process. I attended my classes, served where I was assigned to be, and volunteered in the areas of my passions: music and administration. I had never once thought of myself as a missionary and would often find myself purposefully skipping out on missionary work and fundraising events that my previous church would hold. It was something that I continuously told myself that I had no part in. I supported missionaries and their work but admired them from afar.
I believe the Lord has a sense of humor because my freshman year I took the course The Mission of the Church, a class that I will never forget because of how it began to spark my interest in contextualizing the Gospel to the various communities that pertain to me and how much of an impact it has in the world that I am currently in. Alongside Exegetical Practicum, these two courses began to redefine the way that I understood the mission of the Church and what my role is in it.
My previous college experience allowed me to jump from a freshman straight into my junior year, which was the year the coronavirus pandemic began and affected the global community. We launched a church amidst the pandemic, and I was fully immersed in newer opportunities to continue exploring God’s calling for my life, one of which was the chance to start up New Hope West’s very first Spanish translation ministry and Spanish LifeGroups, pioneering them and building them from the bottom up.
I have a strong sense that God is calling me to launch our Spanish-speaking campus for New Hope West. To develop it and see the leadership baton handed off to someone that God will rise up for the work needed to be done in the Hispanic community here in the Eugene-Springfield metro area. That will be my trial run to planting churches—translating resources and content, ushering and developing kingdom culture, and contextualizing the Gospel in a graspable and understandable manner for the target audience. Having that experience will launch me towards planting churches across South Korea, as I respond to the call in my heart to spread the gospel in East Asia. Saying yes to the Lord in this area of my life has generated opportunities for me to learn to say no to other things. Pastor Wayne Cordeiro recently taught the interns about understanding the fact that our passions are not our calling, but our passions complement our calling!
I’ve been given more opportunities to step into my role as the Spanish LifeGroup leader and pastoring the growing Hispanic community at New Hope West. Also getting more involved with third-party ministries like International Christian Fellowship by InterVarsity at UO, allowing me to connect with international college students and their first encounters with the Christian Faith. This has given me an insight into what sharing the Gospel looks like with non-believers from Asian cultures and backgrounds. I’m so thankful to God for giving me these opportunities in meeting folks from around the globe and for teaching me how to walk as a man of faith amongst them and witnessing in a fashion that meets my newfound friends where they’re at.
Written by student, Chris Vasquez