Arielle Leake: Growing in Confidence and Boldness (Legatus Christi Recipient)
It was my pleasure, on behalf of the staff of our Ratio Christi club at UNCW, to present Arielle Leake with the Legatus Christi award in May 2021. I’ve personally known Arielle and her family for several years prior to her enrollment at UNCW through the homeschool community in Wilmington. She attended her first Ratio Christi club meeting while she was a dual-enrolled high school student, and I could immediately see that she was a thinker! While initially a very reserved individual, Arielle grew in confidence and boldness during her time at UNCW to the point where she was our most consistent leader in campus evangelism. This past year, she served as our RC club’s president, and was an incredible ambassador and spokesperson for RC. I can honestly say that Arielle is one of the most intelligent, responsible, disciplined, and kind college students I’ve ever met, and I pray that every Ratio Christi chapter director could be blessed with an Arielle! This fall, she will attend law school at Liberty University where she intends to concentrate on constitutional law and, upon graduation, fight to defend our eroding religious liberties. – Tom Jaski, Chapter Director – UNCW
When did you come to Christ as Lord and Savior, and how did that come about?
I am blessed to have grown up in the church and understood the gospel at a young age. When I was about 5 years old, missionaries were speaking at my grandparents’ church and it was then that I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. I have been on my sanctification journey ever since and I made a public profession of faith through baptism when I was around 8 years old.
How did you become interested in apologetics, and how did you get involved with Ratio Christi?
My exposure to apologetics came from my parents who understood the importance of knowing what you believe and why. I read several apologetics books throughout middle school and high school, heard several apologists speak and attended a Summit ministries student conference. Through all of this, I discovered the importance of apologetics and a passion for studying it. Since I am from Wilmington, I have known our current chapter director, Tom Jaski, and his family for several years and they invited me to a few of the UNCW RC meetings while I was finishing my senior year of high school. I fell in love with the chapter and the ministry and I knew it was exactly the group I wanted to plug into during college! I loved the fact that RC was focused, not only on learning apologetics to strengthen your faith, but learning it for the purpose of evangelism.
What impact has your Ratio Christi campus ministry had on your walk with God and your personal ministry?
It is hard to put into words the immense impact being involved in Ratio has had on my life. Looking back over the last few years, I have grown more in my faith and understanding than any other time I can remember. This is largely because of the influence of everyone in Ratio who has taught me, challenged me, and encouraged me. If you had told me three years ago I would be spending time every week approaching students on campus and having evangelistic conversations with them I would have been terrified and I never would have believed it. God has used this ministry in a big way in my life!
What is this RC chapter like?
From the first time I attended a meeting, I was drawn to the chapter. Not only were the people involved extremely knowledgeable and willing to tackle any conversation, but they truly cared about building relationships, and were also a lot of fun! Our RC staff genuinely care about their students and serve them well. It has been an amazing community and I have made some lifelong friends through my time in the chapter who have sharpened me and encouraged me in my faith. It has been an honor to serve and grow alongside them as we work out our sanctification and use every opportunity to spread the gospel.
What were some of your favorite areas of involvement with your local RC chapter?
I honestly loved it all but some of the highlights would have to be campus evangelism, our women’s intentional group, sponsoring our local apologetics conference, and hosting events like our abortion debate between Dr. Mike Adams and Dr. Willie Parker.
What does your Legatus Christi award mean to you?
It has been an honor to serve as a club officer and student President for our chapter. Receiving the Legatus Christi award means more than any other academic honor I could have received. It is a testament to how the Lord has worked and continues to work in my life. I pray that he will continue to use me as an ambassador of Christ to point others toward the gospel.
How do you envision taking the apologetics you have learned through Ratio Christi into your future endeavors?
For Christians, apologetics both strengthens our faith and enhances our ability to have difficult evangelistic conversations with everyone in our sphere of influence. Knowing the reasons behind what I believe and the evidence for the truth of Christianity has had a huge impact on my life and the lives of those around me. The gospel is the only hope for a dying world and we have evidence that it is true! My ability to articulate the rationality of Christianity is something I will continue to improve as it provides the foundation for every interaction.
What are your short and long-term career/ministry/mission plans?
In the Fall, I will be attending law school to pursue Constitutional Law and serve God in that area. I want to be instrumental in protecting and promoting the value of every life that God has created. I also want to work to protect free speech which aids the spread of the gospel and allows ministries like Ratio Christi to continue reaching students and communities.
Would you consider coming back to work with your RC chapter, starting one at another school, or working with RC in any other capacity?
Absolutely! I hope to stay involved with Ratio Christi in some capacity throughout my life. I have seen the impact a group of people devoted to Christ and loving him with their mind—as well as their heart, soul, and strength—can have on a campus and I pray that Ratio will continue to have that impact around the nation!
What would you say to other students who might be considering getting involved in Ratio Christi, whether they be skeptics, seekers, or believers?
Getting involved is one of the best decisions you can make! Whether you are a Christian or not, we want to come alongside you as we all ask the important questions of life and search for the truth. We want to hear what you believe and have discussions so that, in the end, we both arrive at the truth. For believers, it is important to know the reason you believe something. Faith is not meant to be blind but based on evidence and Ratio is a place that can point you to the overwhelming evidence for Christianity. It is also important for believers to be in a community; and Ratio, while not a replacement for a local church community, is a great source of community!