For Leo

Jeff, Walter and Leo at Camp Brett-Endeavor
Jeff, Walter and Leo at Camp Brett-Endeavor

One of the strongest motivations for ministering to college students is my own story, and that of one of my dearest childhood friends, named Leo.

I met Leo during a pivotal time in my life happened when I began to work for a gospel-centered summer camp for inner-city kids called Camp Brett-Endeavor.  It was there that I discovered how working for the Lord and letting Him live through us is 1) what we were created for, and 2) the genuine source of fulfillment.  I worked there for 6 summers, and I never felt so alive.  During that time, I made several wonderful friends, including Walter and Leo (pictured with me here).  These guys helped me grow in my faith as we worked together to introduce young people to Jesus, and we had a ton of fun!

Leo and I lost touch when he went off to college. He was a brilliant kid (got only 1 wrong on the SATs) and he signed up for the dry dorm on his campus so he could stay away from the temptations of the world.  When we caught up again years later, though, he cited his college years as what got him into partying which led to prison and the loss of his faith.  He was back living with his folks and trying to hold down a construction job.

I got to connect with him for a while and we had some great discussions which gave me hope for him as he began to clean up his life (and even prompted this apologetics article), but months later he died from a drug overdose.  What a waste!  Leo was one of the 59% of Christians who fall away from God when they get to college.  This Fall, pray for the thousands of Freshmen looking for friends on their new campus.  We’ll be there.

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