Today on the Engaging Missions Show, our guest, Mateo, comes from the University of Florida. He focuses on equipping students to follow the Great Commission and see the world come to know Jesus.

Mateo was born in Columbia but came to the U.S. with his family at age 10 due to potential conflict in the country. His family faced financial struggle. But because of that struggle, the family came to Christ.

During his college years, Mateo faced a significant loss. God helped him through that season and fueled his desire to see the Gospel spread. Now, he follows the Lord's call to make disciples and send out believers all over the world.

What we talked about

Detailed Show Notes (click to read)

Getting to know Mateo

Mateo’s life growing up

Mateo was born and raised in a large city in Columbia to an upper-middle class family, his father being a well-off businessman. At around ten years old, however, Mateo and his family were uprooted from their home due to political issues and his father’s work, going from a life of plenty to living on almost nothing.

Coming to the U.S. as refugees, Mateo’s family struggled to simply get by as his dad took a job mowing lawns and worked other side jobs just to provide food for his family. This was a humbling experience for Mateo’s parents, who had previously lived with house workers who would take care of tasks such as cleaning and cooking, and were then having to do those same things for themselves. They also had to face a lack of financial stability as income was barely enough to put food on the table week to week, but God gave them the strength to make it through.

God’s orchestration through the hard times

Mateo shares how God used the time of poverty and humility to draw his family to Himself. Through all of the financial struggles and times of not knowing where food was coming from, God surrounded Mateo’s family with believers who would help them by giving them food or money. As his parents saw these believers serve and encourage them, they came to a place of reevaluating their faith and seeking Him wholeheartedly.

Although Columbia is immersed in a Catholic culture, his parents didn’t really know Him or His love. This humbling experience brought his parents to the feet of Jesus, and as they sought Him, He began to change their hearts and actions to reflect His Kingdom. At first, Mateo saw their acceptance of Christ as a form of last resort, but after two and a half years of seeing change and transformation in his parents’ lives, he began to see his need for Christ.

What was a challenging time for you and how did God help you through it?

Entering college at University of Florida, Mateo came as a somewhat immature believer in Christ although he had accepted Christ at 14. While there, he met a girl named Katherine, who was a strong believer, and wanting to pursue a relationship with her, Mateo decided he should get his life together so that he would have a chance with her. As he went to Bible studies with her and got to know her more, he started to grow in his relationship with the Lord as well.

As Katherine and Mateo continued to become closer to one another, they began to plan for marriage. Over the summer, Mateo worked a job in Virginia in order to have enough money to buy a ring to propose, and during that time, a tragic event occurred that wrecked his world. Leaving his summer job to come back home, Mateo took a year off to grieve and process his loss. God used people around him to support him during that time and gave him a verse that reminded him that God knew his heartache and was with him through it.

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” - Psalm 56:8 NLT

Engaging Missions Leadership MInute

Scott McClelland of FX Missions shares about selfish ambition and the damage it brings. Listen to discover what happened during some missions training exercises and what you can do if you have failed similarly.

If you have a question about leadership that you’d like to have answered on the show, email it to

About the ministry

What is your ministry like?

Mateo shares his vision for his ministry, which is to see influential students equipped with the ability to make disciples and plant churches. Mateo works to engage people from all over the world who come to University of Florida’s campus and to lead them to Christ. By doing so, those people from other countries can take the Good News back to their homes and reach places that missionaries struggle to access. The dream is to catalyze church planting movements all over the world, spreading the Gospel to every corner of the world. As the ministry grows and learns, Mateo has been able to rejoice at the fruit that is coming forth from this ministry.

Transition from career to ministry

After Mateo’s season of loss, he wrestled with God and what He wanted him to do. During that time of uncertainty, he worked at a Exxon Mobil, where he saw many believers who were not exactly eager to spread the Gospel at work. After graduating from college, Mateo realized that there was a need on college campuses for the Gospel to be spread and for believers to be equipped to make disciples.

Because of his difficult experiences, Mateo knew fully the fragility of life, which motivated him to spread the Gospel with urgency. Although there was never a “divine call” in which God clearly said, “Do campus ministry,” God did draw and prompt him to stay. Mateo saw the need, realized he could fill it, and decided to do so

How God moved in the Dominican through college students

Mateo took a trip with some college students to the Dominican Republic for four weeks. On that trip, in four weeks alone, 41 people came to know Christ, and those 41 went out and led 13 others to Him. The trip taught the students how to better disciple those around them and how to plant churches

Focus on YOU, the listener

How to see the marketplace as ministry

Mateo shares some statistics of how many people in the U.S. are unwilling to come to church or church events, which reveals the need for marketplace people to spread the Gospel in their work places.

“You are in the trenches, and the people that are around you desperately need Jesus, and if you just look around you, you will see that people are drowning in life, going through the motions.”

“They live to work, and they don’t know the joy of knowing Jesus.”

“Wherever you’re at, God has strategically placed you just so that you might tell those around you about His Son and what He did for us.”

“Share your story. The world needs it.”

“You are in a strategic place to reach those who are far from God.”

What does “uninvitable” mean?

Uninvitable people are those will patently refuse to attend any church service or church-led event, even when invited by a friend or neighbor. Although there are many people who have no desire to come to church, there are plenty who are open to hearing the Good News and are in dire need of Jesus.

How should believers in the marketplace engage people from other nations?

“The mission is here!”

“Just by sharing a meal with people, you might be able to develop a friendship that could lead to a new believer in Jesus.”

Internet and book suggestions

Parting advice

“Make the most of every opportunity; know that there are people far from God all around you...don’t take it for granted.”

Contact info

Questions, Topics, and Times

  • [00:28] – Introduction
  • [01:28] – Finding Christ through a season of humility
  • [06:02] – How God used struggle to draw him near
  • [10:19] – What was a challenging time in your life, and how did God help you through it?
  • [21:31] – Leadership minute
  • [23:51] – Equipping students for the spread of the Gospel
  • [30:35] – Transitioning from engineering to ministry
  • [34:50] – God’s movement in the Dominican Republic
  • [39:04] – How to minister in the marketplace
  • [41:49] – What does “uninvitable” mean?
  • [44:32] – How to reach the nations at the workplace
  • [46:58] – Internet resource
  • [47:57] – Book recommendation
  • [48:51] – Parting advice and contact information


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iTunes Reviews

  • Great missions interviews
    by Caleb from United States

    Bryan has some great mission interviews on his podcast with missionaries who are on the front lines serving the Lord.

  • Great interview with Brent B.
    by Marfoof from United States

    Enjoyed hearing about YWAM...have some friends who participated in YWAM as well as a daughter-in-law. Their ministry is great!

  • Such a need for this!
    by Micpreeeb from United States

    What a great idea for a podcast. SO many will be blessed by this...from the missionary to their supporters to the people they minister to. Excellent.

  • Great listen!
    by JoeDaddy1138 from United States

    Interviews are very informative and an easy listen. Engaging Missions' ability to offer insightful questions to paint a picture of the opportunities and challenges with the mission field will help shed some light on what God is doing worldwide.

  • author
    by TC Avey from United States

    You'll be blessed by listening.

  • Uplifting
    by Brian Ambrose from Australia

    Always challenging and encouraging

  • Thank you
    by Biznice Marketing, Inc from United States

    Incredibly relevant podcast, doing mission work! Great interviews and thank you for doing this. As a Christian on a mission it can be hard when you feel isolated. We are not alone! Thank you for reminding me of this.

  • A Missionary Must Hear
    by silas2mongolia from United States

    I found this podcast by accident while I was searching for another. After listening to just one episode, I was hooked. Each episode is encouraging and challenging in all different kinds of ways. As a missionary, I have been really encouraged by the different stories of people giving their lives for the sake of Christ. I think absolutely that every missionary should listen to this, but also any believer should as well.

  • Great podcast
    by Country_chick4 from United States

    This is a fantastic show that I have shared with all my mission minded friends. It is terrific, uplifting, thought provoking, and interesting. I have been greatly blessed and benefitted tremendously from listening to this podcast!

  • Interview with Scott McCelland
    by Steve the horn player from Australia

    Thanks Bryan for this encouraging interview with Scott McCelland

  • Great interview, Great ministry.
    by pagaentzy from United States

    Every episode is intriguing. The Thanksgiving episode was both heartwarming and challenging. Thank you for sharing. God bless you, your interviewees, and your listeners.

  • Great resources and stories
    by oldsow from United States

    Bryan has a relaxed style, quick humour, and "engaging" style. Every week there is different guest who is serving in a different capicity in missions. You get to hear from vetrans who have spent decades in the field to students who are about to embark on their first journey. They represent a wide spectrum of missional work and church backgrounds. Their testimonies are encouraging and thought provoking. They also add in very helpful tips for missionaries, potentiaonl missionaries, or mission supporters.

  • Bryan is a great interviewer
    by Androwlew from United States

    Not only is the content of this show wonderful to listen to, Bryan makes it easy to want to listen to it as he is a great listener and has intriguing questions. I listen to many podcasts, and some of them the podcast host can get in the way of the narrative trying to be told. That is definitely not the case with Engaging Missions. Bryan finds a good balance between asking the right questions, getting the interviewee to go deeper on concepts they know well but the audience doesn’t, and allowing the interviewee to tell his/her story. It’s a fine balance to find and he does it well.

  • Great Podcast!
    by octavehigher from United States

    Great Podcast!

  • One of the best
    by SteCIr from United States

    One of the best podcasts I've listened to. Audio quality is superb, the interviews are engaging, the content is challenging, and the website content is very helpful. Very professional.

  • Bryan is a fantastic host
    by This is Rammy from United Kingdom

    I've only recently came across Bryan's podcast but I found the content to be very refreshing and thought provoking. He not only makes you question what you're doing to benefit others but also what you could do more.The guests he interviews are varied and that helps to keep the content feeling fresh.Thanks Bryan, keep up the great work.Lee

  • Great stories and inspiration!
    by Daniel J. Lewis from United States

    Bryan does a great job of pulling inspiring stories from his guests. Not only will this motivate you, but I think it can help open your eyes to the wide field of Christian missions work.I think you’ll learn how to better pray for missionaries, recognize how you can support missions work, and discover opportunities to participate yourself!

  • Great Podcast
    by Cobbled Together from United States

    Great interviews with those on the forefront of missional thinking. Thanks for doing what you are doing!

  • Fantastic Podcasts on Disciple Making Movements!
    by C Huckaby from United States

    Found these podcasts because of their amazing collection of interviews with leaders of church planting and disciple making movements! Keep up the great work!

  • Stop By Here for Consistent Encouragement
    by jph356 from United States

    It’s no secret that there are more podcast shows out there than we could ever listen to, so from Day One on iTunes, we have to start filtering all the options to find the “diamonds in the rough.” I feel that Bryan’s interviews with missionaries are at the forefront of cutting-edge podcast ministry. I am deeply encouraged by his ministry of missionary stories and mission education. May God bless you, Bryan, as you continue to serve the LORD and bring him glory!

  • Great source
    by J bo from United States

    It is such a great source to be able to hear and learn about missions from missionaries. Very helpful tool for missionaries to share what they are up to and how they are serving Christ.


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It just seemed like every single person that would come around us to help us was a follower of Jesus. Click To Tweet
God has kind of given us that unique time, really, in history when God is bringing the nations to our universities in America. Click To Tweet
God has given us a doorway to the places we can’t get by sending their students here. Click To Tweet
Not enough people were willing to stay back and continue to do the sending. Click To Tweet
Share your story. The world needs it. Click To Tweet
You are in a strategic place to reach those who are far from God. Click To Tweet
The mission is here! Click To Tweet


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