Sammy receiving one of many awards for his service on campus.

Sammy receiving one of many awards for his service on campus.

I have to admit that when I first met Sammy, he was not someone I was intending to meet.  He was a “package deal” of a student I wanted to disciple who was the leader of House on the Rock (HotR), our Black Campus Ministry at Northwestern.  Since I typically disciple students in groups of 2 or 3, I asked the HotR leader to pick a friend he’s like to grow closer in authentic spiritual friendship.  He chose Sammy.

Thus I sat in my typical booth at the student center, and there I met the two of them.  As I led them through the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134), I could tell that Sammy was trying to determine if I was worth his time.  He was already a campus celebrity of sorts, and this smooth Miami man didn’t know what to think of yours truly, a Wisconsin farmboy transplanted into Chicago.

But over time, Sammy and I began a deep friendship.  At the end of his sophomore year, Sammy volunteered to leave his fellowship of comfort, House on the Rock, and take over as the leader of La Fe – our Latino Fellowship at Northwestern.  La Fe had some outstanding godly and faithful leaders, but we’d yet to see it really take off.

Sammy, with his no-nonsense, yes-we-can attitude, and outstanding networking skills, and his deep love of Jesus and sharing the gospel, helped build La Fe into a solid Jesus-centered ministry that is known throughout the entire Northwestern Latino Community. The director of Latino Affairs has invited me to serve in special events because of my relationship with Sammy, and now other La Fe students.

Sammy is not one to give praise lightly. He’s received the highest honor awarded to a graduating senior in his class for his contribution to the Northwestern Community. He’s been voted the top president amongst the presidents of the Greek system at NU.  In a thank-you note to me, he wrote, “I know I wasn’t sure if two strong minded men like us would get along at first – you know I had my doubts. But I can honestly say that meeting with you has contributed more to my spiritual development in the last few years that I will never forget.”

Sammy has a passion to serve as a doctor in Haiti, to embody and proclaim the gospel there and to bring healing to a broken place.  He has caught a greater vision to serve his people, and bring God’s goodness to a dark place.

Northwestern students are very gifted, but it often takes someone who can unmask the giftedness and help them further worship the giver who gave them the gifts they’ve been given, and call them to steward their gifts for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

Would you pray for me as I continue to help gifted students realize their gifts are not just for themselves, but for the building of God’s Kingdom?

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