Directing His Steps

Connor

The theme of senior Connor Torre's story can be told in the one realization he has faced continuously the last four years: "God is directing my steps."

Originally from California, Connor thought he would surely go back. However, he visited DBU after applying to three other colleges. He went from indifferent about DBU to urgently enrolling to the school and to a Stonehouse living arrangement late. "God has shown me even then that he's going before me," Connor said. "He prepared my way before I even set foot on campus. Through so much uncertainty, he's been faithful."

Connor initially pursued nursing studies, but that path changed. He remembered feeling crushed his junior year, but he very soon came to peace with realizing that God was redirecting him to another passion that has been even longer in the making: missions. "After going to the Lord in prayer, I decided on my own that nursing school was not for me. Even when I thought I wanted to be a nurse, it was all about medical missions for me."

Connor formerly studied nursing with a minor in intercultural studies, and now his minor is his major. His new advisor, Dr. Mark Alexander, assured Connor that every skill he had learned up to now would be used on the mission field later."God's not going to waste your experiences. He's going to follow through with you," Connor recalled. "That was overwhelming reassurance."

Connor's experience in missions' trips spans from Uganda to a project with Habitat for Humanity, to the DBU-offered Beach Reach trip. But perhaps the most impactful trip Connor experienced was one he took to Ecuador through DBU. Not only did he learn to serve the native people, but he also learned to serve his team through lovingly leading, teaching, and sometimes even rebuking in the wisdom he learned from his intercultural studies professors. "My responsibility was first, leading by example," Connor said. "Second --with love, truth, and grace -- I had to explain cultural assimilation versus superiority. There's so much to learn from other cultures. I have to be careful to make myself the least interesting person in the room so I can propel conversation and connection with someone else."

Torre is currently an RA at the Westchester apartments, and his philosophy of serving his international students there holds just as firmly. One of the apartment residents he is responsible for is a Japanese student with whom he bonded after a routine moving process turned into a spontaneous invitation to share a native Japanese meal. "Food's a big thing for me," Connor said, smiling. "I love trying new foods, plus intercultural hospitality." Connor has since strived to enlist a theology of the table: to take the dichotomy of host and guest and level them into equals. "After all, didn't Christ do the same thing for us?" Connor said. "I have a huge passion for people in that way. I don't know how my experiences are leading up to the mission field, but how easy it is to connect with someone over what home is like for them, just sitting at the dinner table together."

Connor holds that sharing the Gospel is not confined to the podium or one single cultural mindset toward sharing it. To him, there are times to preach, and then there are other times to sit down and question, banter, and foster a relationship. "I understand that leadership ought to be emulated not just by what Christ has done, but what Christ has called us to do," Connor said. "There is something to be said about the servant leadership that DBU is all about. Christ came to be a servant that we might ultimately serve. I don't ever want to look past a person to preach."

Connor is propelled by that kind of love and grace that DBU faculty and students showed him during his season of uncertainty when he would go home every weekend so discouraged. "But I've moved forward, and I love where I'm moving now," Connor says. "My story at DBU is one where I can tell you: God is directing my steps."

Written by Jordan Jarrett

Jordan Jarrett is a member of University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.

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