NY Jets player, Rider graduate, discusses missionary work

Lauren Roberts

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David Nelson, New York Jets wide receiver, gives a talk on his journey knowing God and his missionary work in Haiti in the Clark Student Center Comanche suite March 26.Photo by Lauren Roberts

David Nelson, New York Jets wide receiver, gives a talk on his journey knowing God and his missionary work in Haiti in the Clark Student Center Comanche suite March 26.Photo by Lauren Roberts

Christian sorority Sigma Phi Lambda hosted a talk from New York Jets wide receiver David Nelson in the Clark Student Center Comanche Suite, March 26. About 40 people came to see the Rider High School wide receiver and University of Florida graduate gone pro speak about his missionary work in Haiti.

“It’s awesome that he took the time out of his busy schedule to come and talk to us about his journey getting to know Jesus and his missionary work in Haiti,” Kari Goen, senior in nursing, said. “If it’s a success we would love to do this again.”

Nelson said he had a day off and wanted to return home to speak with students about his work in Haiti and how he “learned to say yes to God.”

Goen brought Nelson to MSU because she attended Rider High School along with Nelson. Goen said she saw photos of Nelson’s time in Haiti on Facebook, so she sent him a message asking him to share his work with her sorority, Sigma Phi Lambda.

Goen said, “I sent the message and I didn’t expect for him to get back to me. When he did he said he could either send paperwork or he could come up himself and speak. Since it was over the break we didn’t know how we were going to get the room but we were going to do whatever we could to get a space for him to speak.”

Although Geon said the talk was arranged on short notice, she wanted students outside of her sorority to hear Nelson’s story.

Before Nelson gave his presentation, Desmond Jombe, freshman in computer science, said, “I was interested in his story and wanted to see what he had to say. Maybe I’ll be inspired.”

Nelson started his organization I’mME a year-and-a-half ago and began visiting Haiti in 2012.

“When I was in Buffalo each time the opportunity would come up to visit Haiti I would say no,” Nelson said. “I went for selfish reasons. I went because it looked good as a football player to say I went to Haiti and saved lives.”

He said it wasn’t until he saw a 4-year-old alone sitting below a collapsed building that the trip reached him.

“I was holding a Clif Bar in one hand and a bobble toy in the other and asked him if he wanted the Clif Bar. He said no. I asked him if he wanted the toy and he said no,” Nelson said. “At that point I was like, ‘What do you want, an Xbox?’ I had the translator to ask him what he wanted and he held out his arms and said, ‘hold me.’ He wanted to be loved.”

Nelson said he loved kids and he wanted to have a place for the orphans to go and live like a family rather than in a box with 100 kids and seven care takers, thus his work in Haiti through I’mME focuses on creating a family.

Shaela Kobs, sophomore in nursing, said, “It’s great to hear about his trip to Haiti and how he came to believe in God as a football athlete. I wanted to get more information about serving as a missionary not just in Haiti, but how I could apply it locally.”

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