I Want My Life to Count

Surprise phone call starts one Mexico City student's journey.

By Sarah Freyermuth   |  29 . April . 2008
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Photo courtesy Emily Bastine

Pablo Sanchez wanted to make a difference with his life. He just didn't know where to start.

Opportunities abounded among the over 18 million residents of Mexico City where he lives. Still, Pablo searched for better direction.

He asked his pastor. He read a book. Pablo even considered becoming a missionary. Eventually, a vision emerged to start on his campus, amid its roughly 1,000 students. But the task still seemed insurmountable.

Until his phone rang.

Unexpected Phone Call Brings Clearer Direction

The voice on the other line belonged to Emily Bastine, a staff member with Campus Crusade for Christ in Mexico City.

At first, the American's unexpected call confused Pablo. "When I answered the phone, I only heard her strange pronunciation that wasn't from my country," he says through a translator.

But after hearing more of what she had to say, Pablo realized she held the direction he had waited for. Her offer included assistance, encouragement and training for him to begin a student ministry on his campus.

Pablo's vision took on a new form. Fellow students could hear about Christ while he could use his gifts and abilities for God. "I saw it as impossible to talk to the whole school, but I felt that when I talked to Emily, I could complete my mission," he says.

One-time Opportunity Pays Off

Emily's call resulted from a pioneering search for Christians on the campus of Pablo's small dentistry school. The world's second largest city boasts nearly 400 universities and colleges, reportedly attended by over 1 million students.

But, Mexico City's campuses are not as accessible as they are in the United States. "There's security on each campus, and you can't get on without an I.D.," Emily says. Obtaining permission for non-students often only happens once, removing future possibilities. "You get one shot to try and find somebody or you're done."

Accompanied by a group of visiting American students, Emily got through security. The group began conversations with students, asking about their spiritual beliefs and if they knew anyone who loved God. One young lady, sitting alone, said she knew of one guy named Pablo. She gave Emily his cell phone number.

Surprisingly, Pablo did not even know this fellow student who had his number. "Even though it's a mystery for everyone, it's a sign that God wants to do something," he says.

Pablo and Emily scheduled a meeting off-campus for the following day.

Equipped Students Take Ownership of Ministry

The Campus Crusade team in Mexico City offers evangelism and discipleship training opportunities and ongoing support to nearly 70 student leaders, like Pablo, throughout the city. "We love and care for them and equip them to reach their campuses," says Emily.

Passing the baton of ministry serves several key purposes. "If we go on a campus, tell the gospel and no one trusts Christ, the gospel still leaves with us," Emily says. Finding believers already present creates opportunities for growth and dependence on God, not the staff members.

Pablo immediately embraced this vision and encouraged 2 of his friends to join with him. "Now I see that we are the ones that need to work," he says. "This is the work of those who are inside the school."