Witness by Felipe Saer, Junior at The University of Central Florida
Earlier in this semester I felt a deep call from the Father saying that he wanted to transform me, and specifically to transform me into the man that He intended me to be. I didn’t know what he would do, or the way that he would reveal himself to me… but I knew He was at work within my life and within my heart whether I accepted it or not.
A month into the semester I was actually confronted by one of our missionaries here at UCF and had mentioned of this men’s trip to North Carolina, and how we would work hard at farms and grow in brotherhood. It sounded tempting and like something different, but I didn’t know if it was truly something for me.
It wasn’t until we were drawing closer to the deadline of registering for the event that I asked the missionary to send me some details of the event so that I could fundraise and talk to people about this trip. And he managed to send me a schedule of the previous trip that had been made the year before.
I remember the first thing I noticed when reading that sheet…and it couldn’t have been any clearer… “Achieving Manhood in Christ”.
At that moment I didn’t know what to think except to answer the call that Father had sent me earlier in the semester... “Son I want to make you into the man I have intended you to be.”
And without much hesitation I said, yes. And I gave this yes, because I knew that the Father wanted to do something special within my heart something that only he could do in me through the presence of being with other men and serving Him during this one week.
During my trip to North Carolina I was fortunate enough to meet true men of Christ. But one in particular goes by the name of Jason Craig. It wasn’t his farmer fit or his bush like beard that made him a man, but it was something more. And this something more was this constant desire to serve his family, serve his vocation, and those around him through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I remember one of the days when we're out in the farm. And I remember after working out in the fields, having dug up holes and made fences we were having lunch. And our lunch for the whole week consisted of a handful of pretzels, one apple, and a Pb &J sandwich. To say the least this was not enough for me. But this one day I remember Jason coming out and joining us for lunch, and he pulled out one apple and a small jar of peanut butter. And I remember his kids being with him and they were also hungry. And what he did next just put me straight.
He cut this one apple into small slices, placed a bit of peanut butter on each and handed one slice to each of his kids before he, himself having one.
I remember saying…WOW…this man is a clear example of what it means to be humble.
And there I sat complaining about my peanut butter, complaining that it wasn’t enough, that I wanted more. And on top of that whining about my back hurting and my knees aching.
I remember Jason telling us earlier that day that there were times when he would wake up, and he would either be sore from the day before, or would be so tired that he just wanted to stay in bed. But deep inside he knew better that he had to wake up, he had to take care of his farm and his family. In doing so, he was serving his family, and serving in the most beautiful way possible which is through love and the ability to sacrifice one’s own desire for the sake of another. This being his family and the vocation that the Lord had called him to.
I also remember one night in which we had a prayer meeting and it was freezing cold and all the other groups decided to stay indoors but our group leader decided that it would be best if our group went outside and just spoke. And he said…
“Men, you are probably wondering why I brought you out here”.
And we all stayed quiet, because it hurt to talk, but he said,
“We are here to get uncomfortable”.
All too often as men we get lazy. We become complacent and get comfortable, but the truth is that we need to learn to be uncomfortable, we need to be shaken every now and then to grow into this deeper relationship with our Lord and ourselves, because otherwise we become lukewarm. And when we finished talking he closed by saying, “This is an obvious example of what it means to be uncomfortable.”
This whole trip, my whole relationship with Christ has been a constant, yes.
This yes, to Him allowed me to be in contact with 35 other men who I know call brothers. This yes, to answer to the call of achieving manhood in Christ, opened me to a truth that is hard to see because unfortunately our society tries to define what a ‘real man’ is.
What I came to realize is that a man who seeks full maturity in Christ is a man who is on fire for the Lord, it is a man who doesn’t give 1/3 of his heart to the Lord, but instead gives ALL of it. It is man that sacrifices, that is vulnerable, that is a leader, that is willing to be uncomfortable, and most importantly that loves the way that Christ loves.