By Drew Larson

“More and More Healed” By Jesus—Antonio’s Story

The spring of 2020 was, understandably, not a good time for most people in the world, thanks to the start of a global pandemic.

But it was an especially hard time for Antonio. 

In 2020 Antonio, a music major at the University of Michigan-Flint, went through two generally universal human experiences: he a) graduated from high school, and b) suffered heartbreak.

In Antonio’s case, that heartbreak was the end of a dating relationship. This caused Antonio to start questioning everything about his life. Coupled with the usual stress of beginning college—and amplified by the restrictions and uncertainty caused by COVID—he sought out counseling for help. 

His therapist, seeing the need for Antonio to have community around him during this tough time, recommended that Antonio connect with a Christian group to build some friendships, and mentioned InterVarsity. 

Antonio had grown up in a nominally Christian family and believed in God, but at that time didn’t have an active relationship with Jesus. “My parents are religious, my grandparents are religious, and I knew about God,” Antonio said. “I grew up going to church all the time. But I didn’t necessarily have faith [in Jesus].”

Captivated by Jesus

Antonio found a contact card for InterVarsity through social media and filled it out. He began occasionally attending large group meetings and Bible studies as a sophomore during the pandemic, then as a junior became a regular part of the chapter. 

During these two years, God was at work in Antonio’s heart, giving him an openness to learning more about Jesus. As he studied the Gospel of Luke in his Bible study, he began to be more and more captivated by Jesus’ example — how he treated people, the things he cared about, the kind of life he modeled and called others to follow. 

Antonio had heard quite a few “calls to faith” in the past two years and never responded, but by the fall of 2021 his heart had changed. When his small group leader asked if anyone wanted to take a next step of faith and become an intentional disciple of Jesus, Antonio said “Yes!”

Then, during an end-of-semester debrief conversation, Antonio’s staff minister asked him if any of his fellow music students were Christians, and Antonio immediately named three people. As it turned out, Antonio knew the spiritual backgrounds of almost everyone in his major. In three years, God had grown him from an isolated, anxious freshman into a socially connected upperclassman who was comfortable discussing spiritual ideas with his peers. He sensed God asking him to start a Bible study for music majors — so Anthony said once again ‘yes’.

Healed by God

The small group, in Antonio’s words, “did not go well at all.” Despite his best intentions, halfway through the semester the group stopped meeting. At the same time, he entered another difficult season personally and began pulling away from his chapter community. 

Still, his InterVarsity friends and staff ministers kept reaching out to him. After receiving an invitation to spring chapter camp, Antonio agreed to attend but had low expectations for how God might meet him in his personal pain and depression. 

“At first I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll go home early’, but I stuck it out,” he said. “And as the week went on, I began to feel more and more healed by God! Being in that space [and] talking to God transformed my worldview. By the end of the week, I felt completely healed of all my past [hurt]. It was an amazing experience.”

Since then, Antonio has re-engaged with his InterVarsity community and continued to deepen his relationship with Jesus through Bible study and prayer.

 “[Before InterVarsity] I knew God was real, but I hadn’t really taken those first steps of faith,” he said. “Now I’m praying to become more devoted to him, watching for him in every day, as many ways as I can.”


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Drew Larson works as a writer on InterVarsity’s Communications Team in Madison, Wisconsin. You can buy his book hereYou can support his ministry with InterVarsity here