Justin LaGasse is on a mission

The Winter Garden resident has taken a semester off from college to participate in a mission trip that allows him to share God’s love with students across the country.

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Justin LaGasse believes so strongly in the mission to share the gospel of Jesus with college students that he even took off a semester from his own college studies.

The Winter Garden resident is a firm believer in Christ and jumped at the chance to travel as a volunteer with the Circuit Riders missions outreach team. The mission of the Circuit Riders is: “Save the lost, revive the saved, and train them all!”

“This is an incredible opportunity that God called me to and, in obedience, I have committed to,” LaGasse said. “I (am) a part of establishing connections and leading college-age students in salvations at each and every college that we visit.”

LaGasse, who plays keyboard, learned about the program while visiting with a friend in a coffee shop in Orlando. When he learned the organization needed keyboardists on the tour, he prayed about it and submitted his application and video.

“I said, ‘God, I don’t know if I want to do this,’” he said. “But … I got a call like three weeks later saying, ‘Hey, listen, we’d love to have you on the tour. When can you come out?’”

He quit his job, halted his college studies at the University of Central Florida and moved back into his parents’ house prior to the start of the tour.

“We are funded by donors, and it’s 100% a volunteer position in every way,” LaGasse said. “It’s very difficult to do; it’s something you have to give your life up to and have faith your funds will come.”

His first day with the Circuit Riders was Jan. 15, and he has been leading worship on keyboards with the band. And although he signed up as a musician, he shares the gospel in other ways while with the organization.

LaGasse is about halfway through the two-month “Carry the Love” tour with the Midwest team, which has taken him to colleges in several states, including Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota. He is traveling with mostly young adults and a few program elders.

“The mission is just to set people on fire for Christ,” LaGasse said. “We share the gospel, we see salvation, but we want to see people on campuses and in schools and in the workplace sharing the gospel. … We host a night where we worship and we send out a message. This year’s tour message is God is Love. That’s the main focus. … There are lot of people seeking love. Love is the cure for evil. … We believe you can’t understand love if you don’t know God, because God is love.

“I find a lot of power in that,” he said.

When he returns to Central Florida next month, he will need to decide on his next move. He could return to UCF and continue his studies in sports medicine — but there is a movement called The Send in Missouri that he’s interested in working with for the summer.

“I don’t know if I’ll continue (college),” he said. “Sometimes I think about getting a degree — one day when I’m old. I want to live a full life. I want to always look back and say I spent most of my time doing what I want to. … I think I’m more fulfilled when I have something to do.”



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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