Lights in the Darkness

For Navigators Caroline and Nate Daman, one of the greatest thrills of ministry is watching fruit grow from a spiritual seed.

“Back in 2012, Nate and I came to the University of Massachusetts to relaunch the Collegiate ministry,” Caroline says. “We had two EDGErs, Joanne* and Mary, joining us, and we knew only five students on campus.” 

Generations began with simple lawn games that led to genuine spiritual conversation.

Lights in the Darkness | The Navigators Collegiate Ministry | Happy friends chatting at home, having friendly talk

“A freshman named Ana stopped by and talked with us for more than an hour,” Caroline says. “Through church connections we also met Jill*, a Christian freshman, who became a key leader. We also met a few other women—Joanne, Ana, and Mary. Jill became a key friend for Ana, who became a Christian in 2015 on our Spring Break trip. Ana went on to lead our ministry on campus before passing the reins to Laura*. Laura met with Kristin and they co-led a Bible study. As a grad student, Kristin took Susan* under her wing and helped her grow her faith as a freshman college student. Susan went on to be a student leader at the University of Massachusetts. It’s Life-to-Life® discipleship, intentionally investing spiritually from life to life … to life!”

The Damans have a front row seat to the transformation God continues to bring to countless lives.

“I get so excited thinking about Mary now leading the ministry at University of Maine, married and as a young mom, her kids almost exactly the age mine were when we all arrived at the University of Massachusetts,” Caroline says. “She got an up close and personal look at what it was like to minister as a mom. Ana’s continued walk with the Lord after college graduation is also a great encouragement to me. And most recently, Laura helped Kristin get connected with a church near Boston, where she is discipling a small group of teen girls while she also begins her career. I love seeing her continue in her faith while also pouring into other young women.”

Mary continues to see her experience with Life-to-Life discipleship bearing fruit.

“Life-to-Life discipleship is what Jesus used to initially draw me into relationship with Him, and what He used to call me to work with The Navigators,” Mary says. “Women have invested in me by not only reading Scripture and praying with me, but also telling me about their struggles, teaching me how to make friends, inviting me for a spontaneous lunch after church, and teaching me to drive stick shift, giving me a full and beautiful picture of living with Jesus in the context of community. Becoming a disciplemaker myself was a big realization that God could use me. The girls that I have met with while on staff have become family.”

Ana calls her discipleship experience with Caroline “one of the most meaningful relationships of my college and adult life.”

“Caroline watched me accept Jesus as my Savior,” Ana says. “She spent years pouring into me, praying for me, and showing me what it looks like to be a child of God. I was now her sister in Christ. I went from hearing about how God was working in Caroline’s life to sharing experiences of God working in both of our lives. God brought Caroline and me together eight years ago, and we’ve always stayed in touch. Life-to-Life discipleship looks very different post-college, but our relationship has been strengthened by God and I am thankful.”  

Kristin also treasures the gift of discipleship with Caroline.

“Caroline has been with me through my darkest days and best days,” Kristin says. “Life-to-Life discipleship has led to places I could have never dreamt of, friends I would have never met, and milestones and accomplishments I would have never thought possible.”

While the Damans stepped down as campus directors in 2019, and are now Navigators Neighbors staff in Amherst, Massachusetts, they watch with joy as the generations continue to multiply.

“I get excited about reaching women in New England—Massachusetts specifically,” Caroline says. “The Northeast can be a spiritually dark place. By reaching the students here we can impact Massachusetts as a whole. We, and the generations God births through us, are a light in that darkness. God has used the little I have given to have a much further reach than I could have dreamed.”

Please pray for our Navigators Collegiate staff across the country as they disciple the next generation of light-bearers. Pray for a spiritual awakening in the Northeast, and across our nation, as generations of disciplemakers are born.

*Names changed


  1. I got involved with the Navigators while I was a grad student at UMass. I was there from 1977 to 1982, going to school and then working at Amherst College. The Nav staff really helped me grow in my faith since I was a new believer. The DiFelices and Stoltes were on staff there, and we still stay in touch. This article brings back memories. I’m glad God is still at work at UMass. It was spiritually dark when I was there.

  2. Thanking God for this group and others investing their time and energies and sharing the love of Christ in New England.

  3. So wonderful to hear of God’s blessing at UMass and in Amherst! Our young family moved there in the summer of 1971 to open several Nav campus ministries in the Northeast. We brought recent grads from Midwest campuses as our workforce and saw God’s blessing in the short year we were there before moving overseas. Praising God with you and continuing to pray for good seed in a difficult environment.

  4. I am thrilled to hear of spiritual generations at UMass! My husband and I ministered together as singles in the 70s and knew first hand about the “darkness” you spoke of. Al and I married and opened a ministry at Rutgers before going overseas. Amherst has always held a special place in our hearts!
    God’s richest blessings onnyou!

  5. It is good to hear about laborers working in the Northeast. I have heard it is a difficult spiritual climate.

  6. Praying for these young men and women. So thankful for them. They are spiritual leaders of our nation in college campuses. The Lord’s protection be over them. May this time of incertainty open doors for them to proclaim the Gospel to the spiritually lost.

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