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by Madison Vujnov, Class of 2017

Cody Walter works for Providence and gets to do two things he loves: baseball and pastoral care.

During the fall semester of his senior year at Providence, Cody was presented with an opportunity to be the assistant coach for the baseball team. However, if you asked Cody what his intentions were for life before coming to Providence, he would have told a completely different story.

Cody’s original plan was to go to another school to play baseball. The places he looked at had more established programs; however, he ended up at Providence and was the first recruit to sign on for the brand new baseball program. At times it felt “a little bit all over the place and out of order, but it was still a great experience.” Being on the inaugural baseball team for the school was a rare opportunity, but Cody was frustrated at times. Providence didn’t have on-campus facilities, and the home baseball field is 10 minutes away from campus. But despite that, the new program has turned into something great.

God was also giving Cody more than a college education and a new baseball program at Providence. At Providence, Cody met the love of his life and soon-to- be-wife, Carissa. Cody said, “My motives for coming to Providence were not primarily baseball. I wanted to be a pastor after I was done with college and go to seminary. But I did not think I would meet the person I plan on marrying someday.”

Through all of that, God was placing Cody on the track he intended for him all along. Cody found himself in a place where he learned more in the two years at Providence, than the two years at community college. Yet, there were still plenty of times when Cody was puzzled by the road God had placed him on. Cody recounts a time during the fall semester of his senior year when he doubted his baseball career at Providence. He knew that playing baseball was not in his plans after college, so why not just hang up the jersey and get life going? Uncertainty and frustration made him want to move on. However, President Belcher reminded Cody about his goals. Cody finished senior year with a rekindled love for playing baseball and his appreciation for Providence’s small size, which used to terrify him. In the experience, he created close relationships with the faculty and staff. One of his mentors, Chuck Ryor, his athletic director and pastor, offered him the position as assistant baseball coach for Providence. This turned into a mentorship that will last a lifetime.

Cody encountered other surprises at Providence, including an unexpected bond with a Biola assistant baseball coach. While on the field, Cody talked with Biola’s first base coach over a whole range of topics on numerous occasions. Cody, after being offered the assistant coach position, heard that the coach on first base was applying for the head coaching job at Providence. Little did they know that their conversations on the baseball field would turn into a co-worker relationship. Today, Trevor Davidson and Cody have a partnership and friendship that lends itself to going to church together every week and leading the baseball team both physically and spiritually.

In regards to his team, he enjoys the opportunity as a baseball coach to talk about baseball, life, and Jesus with the guys. In this sense, Cody combines his two loves: baseball and ministry. This ministry gives his life meaning and is the reason to wake up in the morning. Cody’s goal as a Christian baseball coach can be summed up as: “To grow up men that will be Christian leaders one day.”

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