Born and raised in San Antonio, I grew up in a home that knew about God but didn’t know Him personally. I thought a Christian was just being a good person and going to church on Sunday.
I set foot on a college campus hoping to make good grades, get a good job in my field and make good money so I did everything to make that happen. My identity and worth were in my accomplishments and success. I studied, volunteered, shadowed, and did all the extracurriculars, and clubs to make my resume look perfect. Going into my sophomore year of college, I had good grades, good friends, and a good family, my resume was perfect, but I was miserable. I felt unsatisfied and empty. I tried to fill that emptiness by filling up my time, with boys, with more friends, with anything but nothing worked. I found myself ending a relationship, starting a new part-time job, and a new school semester but that void in my heart was still present. I knew there had to be more and that I was missing something, but I didn’t know what it was.
A few weeks into my sophomore semester I started going to a small group with Chi Alpha. These girls welcomed me, and genuinely cared for me in a way I never had experienced. Being around them, I knew there was something different! They seemed joyful and fulfilled and the way they talked about Jesus like He was a close friend left me curious. I went to every small group, every chi alpha service and every church service determined to find out what made these girls different. I began to realize that it was Jesus that made them different. I saw that through Jesus they had a purpose, identity, joy, and love and I wanted that. One Sunday in October of 2015 in a church service I made the decision to surrender my life to Jesus. Later that night alone in my bedroom closet I cried out to God desiring to be His friend and for Him to fill the void in my heart and He did. Since that day I never looked back! Jesus became my friend and my everything. All I wanted to do was spend hours with Jesus. I fell in love with the Bible and couldn’t stop reading it. He gave me purpose, and joy and I felt like a whole new person. “The old is gone, the new is here!” as 2 Cor 5:17 says. I really let go of my old life, a life centered around me and my accomplishment because I knew it wasn’t worth it and began to live a new life in Christ.
A few months after giving my life to the Lord, I began to feel a call to ministry. I knew that Matthew 28:19-20 was a command for all believers, and I wanted to give my life to fulfilling it. After graduating I joined a Chi Alpha staff team and served there as a full-time campus missionary. After serving on staff for a few years, I felt the Lord leading me and my now husband Reese Hallmark to come to UT Arlington to join a team of 3 others to start a Chi Alpha on the campus of UT Arlington. God really is the only thing that can satisfy us, not money, people, or materialistic things but Himself. In Him, we can find true joy, peace, and identity.