Extreme sports have never been an issue for junior Christian studies major Patrick Muñoz.
“If I could use rock climbing, snowboarding or scuba diving in ministry around the world, that would be awesome,” he said.
Muñoz grew up in Merida, Mexico, where he began his college career. He graduated from the Universidad Marista with a business degree in 2001.
He then hit a crossroad in his life.
“I had to decide between work and college,” Muñoz said. “I felt led by God to go into Christian studies.”
Muñoz’s father had a job offer in the United States in 2006.
“My Dad decided to be in the ministry,” he said. “He is the Spanish pastor at First Baptist Church in Belton.”
Muñoz visited his parents a couple of times before deciding what he felt was the right path for his life.
“I moved to Belton permanently in 2006 and decided to attend UMHB in 2007.”
Muñoz was also interested in athletics as well.
“I chose recreation as my minor,” he said. “I have done camping, adventure racing and rock climbing.”
His next adventure with extreme sports was scuba diving when he enrolled in a UMHB course this fall.
“I have family in Cozumel, Mexico,” Muñoz said. “It’s a wonderful place for diving. I also want to experience cave diving even though it is really dangerous.”
Tom Young is the instructor for the scuba diving class offered at the university and has experience with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy.
“Scuba diving is a new adventure, something to try … and enjoy,” he said.
Muñoz believes scuba diving is a chance to learn how to communicate in a unique way.
“I would love to be able to share my experience with others,” he said. “It really is an incredible feeling. How many times do you have the opportunity to enjoy people in silence? Since you can’t talk underwater, you have to learn to pay attention to people and their body language.”
Patrick, Muñoz’s father, believes the sport is a wise choice for his son.
“Scuba diving is a good thing for Patrick,” he said. “It is a lesson that he will be able to share with others everywhere.”
Patrick Muñoz also created many memorable experiences.
“When we were at the bottom of the pool at 10 feet for the first time, it was amazing,” he said. “I was nervous at first. We had to practice drills on how to retrieve our breathing regulator if we lost it. It was a terrible feeling not being able to breathe. But with the training that I had learned, I was prepared.”
After completing the course, Muñoz will become a level-one diver certified through Scuba Schools International. He will have to complete five more open water dives at the Scuba Divers Paradise dive shop at Stillhouse Hollow Lake in Belton.
“I love when we practice in the pool but I’m really looking forward to the lake,” he said.
Young is also the instructor who will certify Muñoz in becoming a level-one diver.
“I love to see the looks on my students’ faces when they enter the lake,” the instructor said.
Young also encourages his students to continue the use of their knowledge that they have gained from their underwater experience.
“I hope that Patrick is able to use his scuba diving skills in Mexico,” he said.
Young’s wife, Karen, who is an assistant instructor said, “As a matter of fact, Patrick is going to Cancun in December. I’m jealous that he is going. That is a beautiful place to dive.”
Besides enjoying dives in Mexico, Muñoz also hopes to enter the mission field after graduation.
“I want to travel … and be involved with the people of the world,” he said. “I would like to participate with an organization called Compassion. It is an opportunity for people to adopt children across the globe. You help to pay for their education and just love on them. I also want to show the children the love of Christ who do not know him.”
Muñoz also plans to share his experience of scuba diving with the children he meets.
“It would be amazing to be able to teach children around the world extreme sports,” he said. “If I could use scuba in ministry, that would be really exciting.”
He believes his excitement for the future and his trust in the Lord will lead him in the right direction to be able to do so.
“My hope is to please God. In the end, I’ll do what he wants me to do.”