Burden for Others Prompts Texas Student to Talk About Gospel
Claudia wants everyone -- family and friends -- to know what she knows
Claudia Gonzalez tagged along on an appointment originally planned for Myra, her friend, on the topic of how to be sure you are a Christian.
But it was Claudia's questions that fueled the conversation that day.
"She asked, 'So what does it mean to have eternal life?'" recalls Kalese Houck, an intern with Campus Crusade for Christ at Texas A & M, "and then 'So how does someone begin a relationship with Christ?'"
At the end of their time, the freshman prayed and received Christ.
That was the fall of 2007. Now a sophomore, Claudia regularly joins approximately 50 of her Latino peers in meetings at Destino -- a campus ministry movement among Hispanics.
And changes in her life create a longing within her to communicate the gospel to both her family and friends.
Some Early Struggles
"Before I became a Christian, I wasn't comfortable with life," Claudia recalls. "I had lots of fears and worry, especially about finances."
And even after her decision, it took time and added input for Claudia to more fully experience the truth of the gospel that now she so freely talks about.
Claudia's father had died during high school. "She came into school wanting to be a physicist and make lots of money to send back to her mom in Mexico," says Kalese. "But Claudia came to me one day and said, 'What if God doesn't want me to become a physicist? I am thinking there is more to life than making money.'"
Now, as one with a better sense of what is most important, Claudia says, "I had been living life without Christ, so it took me awhile to understand that, in Christ, my sins are no more. I know that I am now in Christ and I can't get out."
A Desire to Tell Friends
Claudia passionately talks with others about the gospel. "I think people need to know what I know and am experiencing now," she says.
When her roommate Alyssa politely declined to accept the gospel, Claudia remained undeterred. "I felt there was nothing to be ashamed of and that I could now tell it to the rest of my friends and family," she says.
And in the same way that Claudia had come to a spiritual meeting with Myra, Claudia has brought a number of friends to meetings with Kalese. Together they have seen several others embrace the person of Christ.
A Burden to Tell Family
Yet Claudia's greatest burden is for members of her family to come to have a personal relationship with Christ.
"There is something different about a Hispanic family," says Kalese. "There is a close-knit care that I haven't noticed as much in our white culture. So when one person experiences this relationship, they can't wait to make it known, especially knowing their family members might be separated from God for eternity."
On one phone call, Claudia reinforced a prior decision of her mom to become a Christian. On another call to her sister Lucy, she read portions of the book of Matthew -- about the temptation of Christ -- then explained the Four Spiritual Laws booklet, led her in a prayer and Lucy accepted Christ.
During Thanksgiving break, while visiting relatives in the quiet little town of Mercedes, Texas, Claudia was anything but silent about her faith.
When step-sister Rosa Angelica's 5 children left the home for a time, Claudia made the most of a felt opportunity. "I asked her how she was doing, told her about my decision, and then I got the booklet," Claudia says. "She acknowledged that she did not have Christ in her life. I asked if she would like to and she said yes."
Later that weekend, seated on the same green comfy couch, Claudia this time helped her 16-year old sister, Alejandra, to take the same step of faith.
She attributes much of her infectious desire to Kalese: "She has been there for me a lot," says Claudia. "I have come to see that life in Christ is great. There are some struggles, but this is how you do it. She has given me advice and told me to go and reach others."