Why the Hispanic Student in Cru May Not Want to Start Destino
Recently, I was reading some resources that had been created to help staff and students launch Destino movements on their campuses. One of the strategies mentioned for launching a new Destino movement was to ask Hispanic students in your Crusade movement to help start it. While I think this is a fine model, there are some thoughts I had about it that I wanted to share here.
Having been one of those Hispanic students involved in a Crusade movement, I know what my response would have been if a staff person had asked me to start Destino. I would have flatly said, “No.” It wasn’t that I didn’t care about reaching more people. The gospel changed my life dramatically, and I loved to share about Jesus with anyone that would listen. The issue was that I hadn’t embraced my ethnic identity yet. Most people in Crusade didn’t even know I was Hispanic or at least had never thought about it. At that point in my Christian life, my desire wasn’t to draw attention to how I was different, but rather to be the same. I wanted to fit in, not stand out.
It wasn’t until much later after coming on staff with Crusade that I showed any interest in embracing my own ethnicity. Once I started down that path though, I quickly knew I wanted to be involved full-time with reaching Latinos for Christ.
I share all this to say that I wouldn’t have been ready as a student to launch Destino. But one thing I do wish someone had done with me in college was help me start on this journey of exploring my ethnic identity much sooner. I wish someone had told me that it was ok to be different. That God often used people’s bi-cultural identities to do amazing things throughout history. Looking back, I know that there was also an element of shame connected to my cultural heritage. I needed to acknowledge it and get to the root of it in my life. This was a part of my story that was neglected in discipleship. In retrospect, that makes me very sad.
So if there are students in your movement that are ethnic minorities, my encouragement to you would be that before asking them to go launch a contextualized ministry, first enter into their ethnic identity journeys. Find out where they are in this process. Wherever the student is in their journey, they will need someone to come alongside them in it. Maybe like me, they won’t be ready to go there yet. That’s ok. You can pray for them in it.
Maybe they are already living as a bi-cultural person and in that case they might be ready to go start a new movement. Bi-cultural students need help as well navigating that tension of living in between two different worlds. It is challenging to fit in two cultures but never really feel like you fully belong to either one. That student needs a lot of prayer to stick it out in that tension and see it as a blessing.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore the fact that they are different. Recognize it. Celebrate it. Remind them that God chose this for them and there was purpose in it. Who knows, maybe you are in their lives “for such a time as this” to help them embrace who God made them to be so that they can be used to the fullest for his kingdom work.
Resources to help in entering into this journey :