Felix Martin del Campo Jr. was a Hispanic kid born in East LA.
After growing up in California’s central valley he became a dentist and has since used his training to have an impact for Christ around the globe.
While he says he’s as surprised as anyone to see what the Lord has done over the past four decades, he has simply responded to God’s calling by aiming to live a life of faith and obedience.
“Looking at my life backward it’s been very interesting, and I couldn’t have planned it. It’s been one step at a time and obedience … through God’s grace stepping forward and doing it.”
He attended USC for his undergraduate work and then committed what some would consider the unpardonable sin: he switched from USC to UCLA. As a Bruin in 1976 he graduated from the UCLA School of Dentistry.
While at USC in 1971, he attended a Bible study and it was there he met John MacArthur. The two have been friends ever since. It’s a short list of those who have given the TMU president a filling and a root canal and Dr. Martin del Campo is on it.
Dr. Martin del Campo joined the board for The Master’s University in 1992 and has served faithfully for 26 years.
In addition to MacArthur, Dr. Martin del Campo has treated Franklin Graham and his father as patients. It was through Graham that he began serving on the board with the international aid organization Samaritan’s Purse. An arm of that organization is World Medical Missions which sends out 800 doctors around the world in an effort to relieve long-term missionaries on furlough.
In 1970, Dr. Martin del Campo went to El Salvador on his first short-term mission trip with Samaritan’s Purse. Over nearly 50 years he has gone on mission trips to Vietnam, North Korea, Cambodia, China, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Liberia. He’s been to Moldova every year since 2005.
“Dentistry has been a tremendous way to get in the door all over the world,” he said. “It’s been unbelievably interesting for me. … I just want to do what we all should be doing, that is use my vocation to serve the Lord. I never thought that it would be an entrance into ministry.”
His specialty is designing and setting up state-of-the-art mobile dental clinics. North Korea and Siberia, among other countries, have benefited from such ministries.
Most recently, in 2016, Dr. Martin del Campo set up a clinic in Papua New Guinea. “We brought in three chairs and built a complete dental suite as modern as anything in California … complete with digital X-rays.”
He still holds his dental practice in Visalia, Calif., but shuts down for two weeks at a time to go all over the world to serve the Lord.
“Over 42 years I haven’t let any life event be an excuse to prevent me from the ministry,” he said. “You need to just go out in faith and do it or you’ll end up 42 years later and have never gone. God has been faithful.”
Practicing dentistry around the world has provided Dr. Martin del Campo a captive audience to hear testimonies of God’s work in his life. “For the glory of God I want to tell people how He has been faithful and how He’s done more than I could ever expect. It’s by living a life of faith.”
When he’s not asking someone to “open wide,” he enjoys dabbling with photography. Over the past few years he’s learned how to shoot landscapes and says he enjoys that very much.
He said he appreciates TMU’s commitment to Scripture, as one of the few faithful schools left that still teaches a literal six-day creation. “If you mess it up at the beginning, you mess it up at the end,” he said.
“In working with students over the past 30 years I’ve gotten to meet many students and I’ve been so impressed with the level of education here and have been blessed by hearing their testimonies,” he said. “I’ve seen the influence of The Master’s University around the world.”
He has been married to his wife, Janet, for 46 years and has three children, all of whom graduated from TMU. His daughter, Christina, is an English teacher in Camarillo, his daughter, Beth, teaches Pilates in Santa Clarita and his son, Michael, is a clothing developer for the clothing brand Stussy.
“The thing I love personally about the University is that all three of my kids have benefited greatly from their education at Master’s,” he said. “I’ve seen firsthand the impact that the school has had on their spiritual lives.”
The Master’s University exists to train students with the same missional mindset that is a hallmark of Dr. Martin del Campo’s life.
“I made a pledge to the Lord that if I make it to my 60s and I’m still not living on the street then I’m happy to tell anybody about my testimony about living a life by faith and how God has been faithful to provide,” he said. “My plan was not to make money. My plan was to be obedient to God. Even though money wasn’t the main goal, God has blessed me with opportunities I could never have imagined. … And I’m still here.”
In looking back over his life and career Dr. Martin del Campo’s humble nature shines through.
“A guy from east LA, raised in a small town in central California led this incredible life. How does this happen?
“God is faithful.”