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Christian Union: The Magazine
December 6, 2021

Caitlin Vera Is a Former Marine

By Anne Kerhoulas, Staff Writer

Caitlin Vera didn’t have ministry on her mind when she left home to join the Marines. The eighteen-year-old enrolled in the service as a way to leave a small, rural town and be part of something bigger than herself. 

Today, she wants to be the person CU Martus students at Penn turn to as they navigate what she personally knows to be both challenging and exciting years. Vera was hired as a ministry fellow with CU Martus this summer, along with fellow former Marine Cory Lotspeich, who is Christian Union’s ministry director at Penn.

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Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and raised in Amarillo, Texas, Vera served in the U.S. Marine Corps on active duty from 2010-2014, and then in the reserves for two additional years. Upon receiving an Honorable Discharge in 2014, she began her academic career at the San Diego Mesa Community College in San Diego, where she received her Associate’s degree in Philosophy before gaining her Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. 

1 Caitlin2021Caitlin VeraCurrently working towards earning her Master’s of Divinity with a focus on military chaplaincy at Liberty, Vera felt called to this kind of vocational ministry while stationed in Japan. “The Lord placed a spiritual calling on my heart and now I’m finding I can do nothing else except for ministry,” Vera says. 

Though Vera grew up in a Christian home, she says her faith was mostly knowing “of Christ, rather than knowing Him.” When she began boot camp as an eighteen-year old, she entered into a whole new culture and world. Vera says it was this experience in the Marines that has given her both a heart for the college-aged as well for those in the military. 

“When you’re put in a new situation like [joining the Marines], you turn to what you know and I turned to Scripture,” she said. “My faith was tested throughout my time in the military and after I got out. It showed me the need for love and the gospel in the marines and that’s why I want to go back and serve them.”

Today, Vera is delighted to be mentoring college-aged women at CU Martus. 

“I’m very excited to be working with the women,” she said. “When I was an undergrad fresh out of the Marines, it was very much a hard transition. The school was very secular, I felt alone, had no community, no one to lead or disciple me spiritually. That was a really hard time so I’m excited to be here and help these ladies go through the transition in this phase of life.”

Though ministry fellows wear many hats, Vera most highly anticipates the discipleship facet of working for Christian Union. “I’m excited to be with students and caring for them in the deepest ways; being that person they can come to whenever they need someone to talk to. When you come to a university like this you can kind of get lost or feel like no one cares.”

With the Freshman Welcoming Campaign finished, Vera has begun to form those relationships with students as she gets to know the women in the ministry. 

“I would love to see hearts get bigger and to bring in more students this year. I would love to see revival happen and everyone on campus know who Christian Union is, feel like they can come to talk to us and know who we are,” says Vera. “More immediately, I want to help these believers feel like they have a community and they are cared for and known here—a sense of family, really.” 

Vera married Carlos, also a former Marine, in 2014 and they have two fur-babies, Mort and Winston. In her off time, she enjoys being outside hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and canoeing. 

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