People who travel to Israel often come back changed in some way. For one CUAA student, a study abroad visit to Israel brought about the very best kind of change.

Alonzo Johnson, a December 2022 graduate in sport and entertainment business, was raised in a Christian home in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He has always loved the Lord, but after enrolling at CUAA to play football, his faith began to grow in new ways.

During his freshman year, he became close with his REL 100 professor, Rev. Daniel Flynn, who encouraged Johnson to go on the annual Israel trip he leads. But it never seemed to work out until this January.

Getting baptized was also something he’d been meaning to do but kept putting off. It didn’t feel urgent Johnson said. “But I don’t think I understood the true importance of it, and how much it means to someone to be truly saved by the Lord and be accepted into His Kingdom.”

It was Johnson’s father who first planted the seed of getting baptized in Israel, but it wasn’t until Johnson himself arrived in the Holy Land that the idea started to take root. A phone conversation with his parents was key.

“They were telling me things that the tour guide already told me 30 times that day, and I thought it was funny,” Johnson recalled. “But, and I don’t know why, when my father said it, it just hit differently.”

So he talked with Flynn, and the next morning, in the presence of dozens of fellow students, including two other football players—along with his parents in Virginia via Zoom—Johnson was washed in the Spirit in the cold and cleansing waters of the Sea of Galilee. On the phone, his father sobbed with joy.

For Flynn, it was a confirmation that God is always at work. “Even today, I’m still emotional about the moment, and I do thank God for the ministry of the classroom,” Flynn said. “Who would have ever thought that five years after we met in a freshmen religion class I would now stand with my friend Alonzo and have the gift of baptizing him.”

Want in?

Study abroad opportunities, such as Johnson’s Israel trip, are available at CUAA. For more information, click the link below.