Last January, as I sat on my bed and sketched out my goals for the year, I kept coming back to one simple and scary fact: I was just days away from co-leading a missional community (MC) at the University of Texas at Austin.

I wasn’t sure what that meant. I’d spent the previous semester meeting with the leaders of other MCs. I admired them and their love for people. I listened to their stories of reaching out, of rejections, of salvations and baptisms. They were amazing. {I was pretty sure they had the gift of evangelism.}


It had been clear to me since Kindergarten that I did not have any sort of gifting for evangelism. I had no desire to preach on a street corner, knock on doors, or pray for a stranger at a gas station. I was not called to the bush-bush of Africa. Sharing my faith did not come naturally to me; in all honesty, I was perfectly content to have my own little relationship with Jesus as long as no one bothered me about it.

But then God nudged me toward the idea of a missional community, one that reached out to not-yet-believers in the sciences. The MC took shape as I found others who shared my heart. And I was faced with a terrible fact: my little non-missional self was going to have to be…missional.

I don’t know how to do this. I’d spent my life zoning out of every sermon I’d ever heard on evangelism. {After all, I wasn’t one, right?} Yet here I was, and I was panicking. “God, I don’t know how to do this!”

I felt like He asked me one question in response: What do you know how to do?


I knew how to pray, at least, I knew how to pray better than I knew how to be missional. {Prayer was how I’d gotten myself into this mess in the first place.} I figured that was a decent place to start.

Prayer #1: I knew that I would never make an impact on people’s lives if I didn’t care about their salvation. So I prayed that I would care. I asked God to give me His love for my fellow students, because without that, this whole missional thing was a bust.

He changed my heart. Drastically.

Now I needed the opportunity to get the dialogue started. I prayed that God would open the door for spiritual conversations. Prayer #2.

People started talking about religion almost every time I was around…and I froze. I didn’t know how to have these conversations. I didn’t want to! Whenever someone brought up something spiritual, I waited desperately for a shift to something less volatile. Like homework.

Prayer #3: God, give me the boldness to engage in the conversations You’re so great at starting.

Yeah, He answered that prayer, too. With this kind of success, I added something else to my prayer list. I didn’t want to just have spiritual conversations, I wanted to have conversations about Jesus. I prayed that Jesus would come up in conversation {in a respectful way}. Prayer #4.

Less than a month later, my physics friends and I spent a good five or ten minutes discussing the historical Jesus and how cool He was. I was stoked! Pray for something, see it happen. Pray for something, see it happen! Living missionally was so much fun!

Which brings me to the present. What am I praying for this semester? Salvations.

It’s gonna be awesome.

melodyvaladez200x200Melody Valadez is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, where she majors in physics and co-leads the College of Natural Sciences Missional Community under the guidance of Campus Renewal Ministries. She is also the author of Those Who Trespass, a novel for young adults that blurs the line between secular and Christian fiction.