Future conservationist gives life to Christ through BCM


Ben Johnson, Staff Writer

Mark Roof, a maritime studies major who wants to work with dangerous reptiles, gave his life to Christ during his time learning how the Baptist Collegiate Ministry operated. 

As a freshman and non-Christian being introduced to BCM, Roof saw the love and kindness that other Christians showed him even though they had contrary beliefs. 

“I came here as a non-Christian, and because of the people I kept coming back,” Roof said. “They just kept talking to me about who God was, and even though I wasn’t a believer, they still loved me and didn’t judge me for who I was.”

After a few months of continuing to participate in BCM and their campus-wide events, Roof decided he wanted what everyone he met had – Christ. 

“Eventually, I wanted the same sort of love they had,” he said. “So, I became a Christian because of that.”

Mark’s story is interesting, but his story would never have happened had he not moved to Florida from Maryland at the beginning of his sophomore year of high school or wanted a college that was “away from home but not too far.”

“I considered PSC at first, but I have one right next to my house – so I would’ve still been at home,” he said. “UWF is only like 45 minutes away from home, so I decided to go for it.”

UWF was the right choice in Roof’s eyes, not only because of his salvation but because of the college experience and the friends who now surround him.

“Before college I didn’t really have very many friends, and the friends I did have were not the highest quality,” Roof said. “A lot of them were partiers, so they were fun to be around but weren’t the healthiest to be around.”

He said that while having more friends is not the most important, having friends is much better than the alternative, and his new college friends are healthier than the few high school friends he was once with.

Roof said that meeting his high-quality friends had everything to do with his involvement with the Christians at BCM and their willingness to connect with the campus. 

“I had no friends here before [BCM], like I knew absolutely no one,” he said. “So, everyone here is just very loving and welcoming – just very genuine people.”

All the people and friends from BCM have changed Roof’s view on life and the purpose of doing anything in life.

“[BCM] changed my whole outlook on life, I guess,” he said. “Before I really didn’t have a purpose, I guess. Like I didn’t know why I was doing what I was doing. Now everything I’m doing is to glorify God and bring people closer together.”

“It’s a much more meaningful way of life,” he added.

Roof said he’d use this newfound purpose of glorifying God while pursuing a career as a conservationist for dangerous reptiles like crocodiles, venomous snakes and monitor lizards.

“I want to teach people that they’re not evil monsters out to kill us every chance they get,” he said. “But I want to show them the beauty of God’s creation.”

Roof will continue to pursue wildlife conservation by obtaining permits to own the many dangerous reptiles he hopes to house, as well as learn how to properly handle and care for such animals. All for the glory of God.