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October 7, 2020

Alpine, TX | Stephanie Van Wyk

McCray running through one of the obstacles as part of the training program for the Border Patrol Academy
McCray completing an obstacle course during Border Patrol Academy’s training

Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumnus, Ryan McCray, recently fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a federal agent. After six months of intensive training with the U.S. Border Patrol Academy, McCray graduated and began his first day on the job last Monday, September 28.

“I really believe it was the favor of God to really get me through the whole situation,” said McCray. “There were a couple of times where I sat and got ready for a test and asked God, I said, ‘God, could You help me with it because I can’t do it on my own.'”

The Border Patrol Academy is widely regarded as one of the toughest law enforcement academies in the nation with 940 hours of rigorous instruction. McCray’s six months of training (interrupted with a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak) included three months of Spanish; knowledge of the law, firearms, driving; and a physical fitness test. Out of the 57 initial candidates in McCray’s class, only 33 persevered and graduated from the academy.

“It was challenging. It really challenged me in my faith,” he said. “To keep pushing forward, especially amid COVID, I really had to deal with that.”

The circumstances of COVID-19 resulted in an abrupt pause for the academy’s training program, and during this three-month hiatus, McCray struggled. He questioned whether he had made the right decision and if he was truly following God’s plan for him. However, as he presented his doubts to the Lord and sought after Him, he felt peace. He ultimately decided to press forward, and through the strength of his faith, he made it through the program.

McCray (right) with fellow Border Patrol Agent, Antonio Cartenga
McCray (right) with fellow Border Patrol Agent, Antonio Cartenga

Today, McCray is happy to announce his role as a federal agent with the U.S. Border Patrol in Alpine, Texas. His responsibilities include dealing with immigration violations, tracking illegal groups, and border monitoring. As he considers his future career as a federal Agent, he looks forward to the humanitarian side of law enforcement. In a position that deals with human trafficking, illegal entrance, and smuggling, McCray wants to use this job’s opportunities to impact others as an insurer of safety and a refractor of Christ’s light. Many challenges come with such a job, but McCray feels that God has put him where he needs to be.

“I think that with God putting me in this situation, I’m able to impact a lot more people through English or Spanish…that is my hope that I’m able to just be a good leader and put people in good situations, not only out in the field but even other agents that I’m around. You never know what somebody’s dealing with-I think that SAGU prepared me to minister to people in conversations.”

McCray spent a total of six years at SAGU: four as an undergraduate in which he received his bachelor’s in Human Services in 2010, and two as a graduate student in which he received his master’s in Organizational Leadership in 2012.

He described his time as one of his life’s best experiences and as a “God-driven” experience. Whenever he felt intimidated by the rigors of university life, he remembered that God had led him there and would help him succeed in what he had been called to do.

As a member of the football team, he learned lessons in selflessness, sacrifice, and humility. McCray says he received a lot of positive influence from coaches, professors, and students. Role models such as Coach Godding and President Bridges taught him through example what it means to be a good leader, a good man, and a good father.

“I think they gave me the template to better myself as a man, and even giving me the opportunity to come play football, it really was a great experience for me and helped me do different things that I otherwise wouldn’t be afforded to do.”

McCray believes that SAGU equipped him with the mental tools and discipline needed to pursue his federal agent career. As he looks to the future, he hopes to advance his career in the agency with goals to one-day lead the agency at a high level.

As a leading Christian university, SAGU educates and prepares individuals who want to serve Christ and others. SAGU helps students discover and develop their God-given callings in a Spirit-empowered, learning community.

We believe in affordable tuition, made possible in part through the financial support of donors who embrace the mission of SAGU and the importance of affordable, accredited programs to train Christians for leadership in ministry, business, education, and service.

Most majors are available in-person in Waxahachie, TX, and online through a wide range of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

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