My Freshman Year with the Bible and Christians on Campus

David Baldez

David Baldez

It was Friday night, and I was sitting on my bed in my dormitory at the University of Texas at Austin. The hallways were unusually quiet because everyone was out and about. What was I doing? I was reading my Bible. Strange thing to do on a Friday night you say, especially at the University. But it just so happened that semester, as a freshman, I had fallen in love with reading my Bible. It wasn’t always that way. In fact, just a few months earlier I remember sitting on my bed at home in Houston wondering what this book was about. I remember reading through the gospel of Luke and understanding the basic narrative but not much else. The Bible was for me, as it probably is for most people, one of those books that you respect, want to understand, and even make plans to read–plans that you never quite get around to. Things changed for me, however, when the week before my freshman classes started I ran into a staff member with Christians on Campus. He invited me to a Bible Study the first week of class, and like most freshmen who sign up for a million things their first semester, I agreed to come.

I distinctly remember sitting on a bench on the second floor of the CBA waiting for the Bible Study to begin. I was flipping through my NIV study Bible, mentally jotting down different questions that I wanted to ask. I wasn’t sure what format the Bible Study would be in, but I figured since it was a Bible Study, I’d better have some good questions. Turns out, I didn’t say much during the actual Bible Study. They were covering the children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, and at the time I wasn’t very familiar with that story, so I kept silent. Afterwards, I hung around to talk to some of the guys. Michael, understanding my inquisitive nature, offered to meet me at a time outside the Bible Study to answer all of my questions on Fridays in the courtyard of the Architecture school by the West Mall.

That time proved to be invaluable to me. It was there where I got a chance to ask all of my questions about the Bible. Why did God allow man to be put in front of two trees? Why is there evil in the world? Why do people suffer? What’s the purpose of our human life? These are the questions that exist in many eighteen-year-olds. I pretty much knew that my formal education would not answer these questions, so it was on me to find the answers to these questions. Week after week, Michael patiently took the time to answer all of my questions. Gradually, he began to explain to me what this book was about. Soon I was voraciously reading through the New Testament along with some other spiritual books that helped open the message of the New Testament to me.

A few months later, I was carrying my pocket New Testament around with me everywhere on campus and reading it. Today, I can still walk on campus and point out the spots where I read my Bible as a freshman. The places are memorials to me. UT may never know about them, but I know and God knows. They are part of my spiritual history. They are a sweet reminder to me of my years as a Christian on campus. Today I am a thirty-something who is busy with all kinds of responsibilities, including a wife and a kid. To this day, I still read my Bible and enjoy having fellowship on the Word of God, and I have to credit that habit to my freshman year when Christians on Campus helped me fall in love with the Bible. I’m grateful for the time I spent with the club during my five years on campus.