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Mitch Macello, 26, recently moved from Pittsburgh to Williamsport to work with the First United Methodist Church, directing its college outreach program. He believes he has been called to help students, through faith, battle through the trials of college life.
"I see this as a wonderful opportunity to build a community," Macello said.
"I don't want to just shake people's hands and send them on their way. I want to live a Christian life along with these students - be there in their failures and their successes," he said.
Macello recognizes that college students have reached a pivotal time in their lives. No longer living with the rules set by their parents, many students find it difficult to rectify a Christian morality with the American perception that college is a time to explore every option.
"It's become accepted in our culture that you need to make poor choices in college in order to get the 'real' experience. Then later in life, you'll buckle down and be responsible," Macello said.
"Then you're 45 and you have all these things that still make you happy - kids, house, dog, car - but still feel empty, so you begin to seek faith. What would it look like if a person could recognize that they need faith at 23, and continue on that path for a lifetime? How much more powerful and meaningful would that path be?" Macello asked.
Macello, who has worked with campus ministry for about four years, was inspired by a mentor he had as an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University.
"I had a mentor my last year-and-a-half of college, with whom I was able to ask tough questions, like 'How am I supposed to feel about this part of the Bible?' " Macello said.
After some time working together, Macello's mentor thought he was ready to begin ministering to other students on campus. But Macello wasn't so sure.
After much praying and contemplation, he agreed to attend a nine-month program that would prepare him for campus ministry.
"But there's a saying that God prepares the called, he doesn't call the prepared, and I took heart in that," Macello said.