Gov. Rick Perry Visits CIU
By Melissa McCutchan, CIU Student Writer
Former Texas governor Rick Perry paid a visit to Columbia International University on
April 7 to address students, faculty, and staff in a special assembly. He discussed his
personal journey of faith, and how God led him to ministry in politics — even though
politics were never part of his plan.
“If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans, right?” he joked.
Perry described how his training in the Air Force led him to pursue a career as a
missionary aviator with Wycliffe Bible Translators. When God closed the door on that
ministry, Perry admitted he felt a deep brokenness.
“God dealt with me [then], and he dealt with me in a pretty harsh way,” Perry said.
“God dealt with me by wadding me up into a really uncomfortable ball, and blowing
that chaff away, and asking me if I was really ready to follow Him. That started a
journey for me.”
Through a series of other events, he pursued a career in politics, which led to him
becoming the governor of Texas — a position which he held for 15 years, making him
the longest-serving governor in Texas history.
“God meant for me to have a ministry,” he said. “I just never knew it was going to be
as big as it is. Don’t ever limit in any way what God is going to do in your life.”
Perry challenged CIU students to help other people get a second chance in life. As a
personal example he noted his support of Texas legislation that he says rehabilitates
nonviolent drug offenders instead of sentencing them to long-term prison sentences,
which has led to the closing of three prisons in Texas.
CIU students were encouraged by the message and challenged in their own
“It was cool thinking that someone who could become the president cared enough to
come to our college,” freshman Addie Allen said. “It seemed pretty significant [that
he was here].”
Perry also met with several CIU student leaders before he gave his message.
“He was very relational with each person he met, and ... he showed a lot of interest
in them as a person,” said junior Anni Jackson, who met with Perry beforehand. “He
Though Perry had to leave CIU’s campus quickly to make other appointments, he left
a lasting mark on CIU students.
“I enjoyed hearing his heart about God working in his life and changing him,”
Jackson said. “It was refreshing to hear someone with so much power and influence
talk about being broken before the Lord [and] moved deeply by Him.”
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaking in