I was born and raised in central Illinois and went on to play baseball at the University of Illinois for the 2009-2011 seasons. I came to college identifying as a Christian but wasn’t entirely sure how to live that out in this new environment.
I didn’t know about FCA, but I knew I needed someone to help me, so I reached out to a local campus minister. He began meeting with me and though our time together over the years I came to a full realization of the Gospel, started to have a real hunger for God’s Word, and took hold of the mission Jesus gives all Christians to make disciples. In college, this led me to invite teammates to explore Jesus and the Bible, lead some team Bible studies, start gathering people for pregame prayer, and even be a light for Christ with my now wife Julie’s teammates on the Illini soccer team.
Upon finishing my college career after winning the B1G regular season and tournament championships, I was drafted in the 12th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Each season in pro-ball, I’d get new teammates, which gave me the same opportunity to share my faith, invite others to read God’s Word, encourage others who were seeking to do the same thing to all the Spanish-speaking players, and even see God bring some teammates to salvation and be baptized in a hotel pool.
After three seasons, the Lord made it clear that it was time to retire. I went to Charlotte where my wife was playing in her last season and then went back to Champaign to finish the last year of my degree. The Lord ultimately led me to go on staff with a campus ministry called The Navigators that specializes in discipleship. After eight years of serving in the lives of so many great students at U of I with Navs, the Lord has now led me to take my passion to make disciples and help others do the same to join FCA. If I’m honest, in college I was really only involved in FCA because Julie was, but now I’m so excited to get to be a part of an organization that seeks to come alongside coaches, athletes, and community members and impact their lives for Christ in the same way that mine was impacted as an Illini athlete years ago.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”