February 25, 2024

Humans of Gordon- Tom Haugen, College Chaplain

Tom Haugen. Photo by Joy Tang

By: Joy Tang ‘20


Tom Haugen, School Chaplain

“I grew up in a home that only went to church really on Christmas and Easter. When I was in high school, I began going to a thing called Young Life. When I graduated from high school, my Young Life leader invited me to go to a camp. That camp was up in this little part of North Carolina called Weaverville. It was called Windy Gap, the Young Life camp that was there. When I was on that camp, this speaker told me that on my own, there was nothing I could do to earn my way into heaven, and that made me so mad that I didn’t know what to do. I kept asking my Young Life leaders, “there’s gotta be something I can do,” and they said, “there’s nothing you can do on your own.” For 24 hours, I sat with that frustration. That next day, they told me about Jesus dying on the cross and raising from the dead, and that if I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, that He was the Son of God, that I would be saved. They gave me 20 minutes of silence to think about that truth. Under the beautiful starry night in North Carolina on June 21, 1990, I gave my life to Jesus. And at one of the radical, Paul-style conversions, where I was the least likely to come to Christ, and all of a sudden Jesus just grabbed me and I was passionate about Jesus and ministry and drinking up God’s word, I got involved in a bible study, became a volunteer leader with Young Life, and made that beautiful transition into learning about God’s Kingdom. All of my friends, when I had came back home and told them what I had done, completely just pushed me away, “are you kidding me? You’re a Christian now? What does that mean?” But then beautifully in God’s Kingdom, I have so many true friendships now with people that really do accept me just the way God made me.”

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