I think I was 19 years old when it happened.
I was up at a Christian Camp in the mountains, with my soon to be wife and hundreds of my closest friends. The place was packed because that particular year, we had someone speaking to us who was unlike anyone else we had ever heard way back in 1978.
His name was Tony Campolo and he was to become a larger than life figure for me.
Throughout the weekend Tony weaved a call to serve the poor with Jesus call on our lives, admonishing us to do something great for God with our lives.
I remember one person shared with him that she wanted to be a doctor in the nice suburban area where she had grown up. Tony looked right at her and asked why she would want to do that when she could serve the poor and make a real difference. "There will always be plenty of doctors to serve the haves" he said, "why not help those who can't get to a doctor?"
She was devastated by his challenge.
I was stunned.
For the first time in my young life, the Gospel made practical sense and I made the decision that weekend to give my life to missions and serving the poor.
Almost 15 years later, in 1992, along with a friend, I founded Adventures in Life Ministry to do mission work in Mexico. Add another 20 years on that, and today, the majority of our work in Mexico is centered in the state of Oaxaca, the second poorest state in the country.
There is no other way to say this... I am a missionary because God used Tony that weekend and over the years to touch and call me in ways I never expected.
At the end of that conference where I first met Tony, he shared his now famous "It's Friday, but Sunday's Comin'" sermon.
I think it's appropriate today on Good Friday to take a listen and reflect...