PUC’s Strings Quartet Serves in Indonesia

By Aaron Baluyot

On March 20-31, 2019, PUC’s string quartet, along with Professor Kim from the department of theology, embarked on a mission trip/music tour to Indonesia. The quartet consisted of Sigrid Panugao, Dale Araba, Carissa Paw, and Aaron Baluyot. Dale and Aaron are current students of PUC while Sigrid and Carissa both graduated from PUC last year. Our main goal was to join in the fundraising concert of one of the adventist schools in Jakarta, Tanjung Barat Adventist Academy (TBAA). The money raised in the concert would be used to help fund the extension of the school.

During the first weekend, we played at MT Haryono Seventh-day Adventist Church and performed in the fundraising concert. During the next few days, we were very fortunate to be able to explore Indonesia. First, we visited Universitas Advent Indonesia, which is Indonesia’s Adventist university located in Bandung, Indonesia. Next, we traveled to Jogjakarta, where we visited Borobudur temple, which is the largest Hindu temple in the world. The next day we traveled to Bali, where we were able to rest at the beach as well as experience Balinese culture.

On Friday, we visited the students of Tanjung Barat Adventist Academy and played at their chapel assembly, where we gave them inspirational talks to keep practicing their instruments and to do their best at everything their hands find to do. The students also expressed their thankfulness for supporting their school as well as for inspiring them and encouraging them. On Sabbath we performed at Pasar Minggu Seventh-day Adventist Church, followed by a farewell potluck for us provided by members of the church. On Sunday morning we flew out of Jakarta, spent a few hours exploring Hong Kong, and finally returned home to the United States. This trip was a blessing to the students but it was also a huge blessing to us as well as we were able to inspire the kids at TBAA and spread God’s love through our music.

After 20 hours of flying and a layover in Hong Kong, we finally made it to Jakarta and received a warm welcome from our friends from Tanjung Barat Adventist Academy.

On Sabbath we played at the MT Haryono Seventh-day Adventist Church, which is the biggest Adventist Church in Indonesia located in Jakarta.

With some of our TBAA friends after church.

On Sabbath afternoon we visited one of the church members, where we played a couple pieces and Professor Kim gave a short talk.

Sunday was the concert day where we joined in TBAA’s big fundraising concert at Theater Pewayangan.

Photoshoot after the concert. The students and faculty of TBAA were extremely grateful for our support for their school.

Visiting Borobudur temple in Jogjakarta, Indonesia.

On Friday we visited TBAA, where we played at their chapel service and gave the students inspirational talks to keep practicing their instruments and to do their best at everything their hands find to do. (The lady in the center is the school principal.)

Group picture with one of the classes after our inspirational talks.

On the second Sabbath, we played at Pasar Minggu Seventh-day Adventist Church. This church is in the same property as the school and is where we played at the children’s chapel the day before.

With the pastor and elders after church on Sabbath.

Interested in pursuing a career in music? Find energy and passion in new opportunities and challenges as you develop your artistic, technological, and entrepreneurial skills to make profound contributions to the future of music. Take courses from knowledgeable faculty who have toured the world and performed in places like Carnegie Hall. Learn more about PUC’s department of music at puc.edu/music and discover how you can start your career in music under their expert guidance. You can also call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with an admissions counselor who can talk more with you about PUC’s music programs and all of the options available to you.

A Look at PUC’s Mission Trip to Kenya

This past spring break, March 22 through April 1, a group of 30 students from PUC went to serve in Kenya on a mission trip, along with several faculty and staff. The group helped with the construction of a secondary school for women and painting a new non-denominational Bible training center, along with teaching Vacation Bible School at a primary school and assisting in a nearby health clinic.

“It was a spectacular trip! I’m pleased PUC provides many opportunities for students to travel to distant destinations, learn about diverse environments and cultures, serve developing communities, and share their love of God with others,” says Dr. Floyd Hayes, professor of biology, and one of the faculty who went on the trip.

What made this mission trip particularly unique was students could also receive academic credit for either Field Biology or Vertebrate Biology, taught by Dr. Hayes, as the African environment offered a wealth of learning opportunities of organisms, species, and ecosystems, quite different from what students were used to studying in Northern California.  

Below, Dr. Hayes shares a few highlights of the trip.

It was a grueling overnight journey by plane, with a brief stop in Istanbul, Turkey. However, we were all excited to be traveling to Africa, which would be a new continent for most of the participants.

After arriving in Nairobi, we traveled on paved and unpaved roads for about eight hours to Mara West Camp, which overlooks the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve, and enjoyed seeing a lot of wildlife along the way. We stayed in comfortable tents surrounded by wildlife and enjoyed tasty meals in a dining room.

On our first day of mission work, we visited a primary school where the Maasai children cheerfully greeted us with songs. The Maasai people were traditionally semi-nomadic cattle herders, but in the past few decades, they have settled into permanent communities and are still building new schools to properly educate their children for life in a modern world.

We brought along with us some books we donated to the sparsely stocked libraries of a primary school and a new secondary school. They need many more books, which we hope to supply more of during future trips.

During the next four days, we assisted in the construction of a building at a secondary school for women that had just opened in January. The new building would include administrative offices, science labs, and a computer lab. We hope to help them stock their new labs with equipment.

We also assisted with the painting of a new non-denominational Bible training center.

A small crew dug a ditch for water lines. I was proud of how hard the students worked each day while working construction and painting.

Each day a small group of students taught Vacation Bible School to a different group of students in the primary school. Students also assisted in a nearby clinic and a few were especially thrilled to help a woman give birth to a new baby. We all enjoyed making new friends with the Maasai people.

Each evening we enjoyed a campfire and an inspirational worship service led by Pastor Vuong Tran.

We spent two full days on a safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, observing Africa’s iconic wildlife including elephants, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, rhinos, hippos, hyenas, jackals, crocodiles, and ostriches. The highlights were a cheetah and a leopard, which are difficult to find.

Interested in getting involved with World Missions at PUC? Stop by the chaplain’s office to talk with Fabio Maia, service and missions coordinator, or you can call (707) 965-7190 or email fmaia@puc.edu to learn more.

Visit PUC This Spring!

Choosing what college to attend is an important decision and one you shouldn’t make without doing a lot of research. What better way to research the colleges you’re considering than by visiting them? We would be thrilled to have you and your family come visit PUC! Take a campus tour given by one of our student ambassadors, sit in on a class, chat with a professor, eat in our cafeteria, walk around the charming nearby towns of St. Helena or Calistoga, AND if you plan in advance, join us for any of the following upcoming and exciting events during spring quarter.

We hope to see you on campus soon!

Special Colloquies

Each week, students, faculty, and staff gather for Colloquy to worship together and create a sense of community and unity. It might be the only time you see some of your pre-med and pre-dent friends! There are two Colloquies in the spring that may be of particular interest to you when planning your visit:

  • April 4, 2019 — Educator of the Year Colloquy, 10 a.m.; See who PUC students voted as the best teacher of the year and learn more about someone who could be one of your future professors!
  • April 8-13, 2019 — Student Week of Prayer, various times; Hear from current students about their spiritual walk and experiences.

For more information about Colloquy, check out the college’s calendar at puc.edu/calendar.

Rasmussen Art Gallery Openings

If you’re interested in seeing some incredible works of art, you won’t want to miss the Rasmussen Art Gallery. Several times a quarter, a new exhibit opens at the college’s on-campus art gallery, which often features students, faculty, and other local artists. The opening reception is a chance to meet the artists, mingle with other guests, and enjoy some tasty snacks while appreciating the talent on display. If you can’t make it to one of the opening receptions, check with your tour guide to be sure to stop by the gallery and spend some time browsing during regular open hours.

  • April 18, 2019 — Opening Reception: Student Art Exhibition, 7 p.m.
  • May 18, 2019 — Opening Reception: Senior Art Major Thesis Projects, 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the Rasmussen Art Gallery Facebook page.

Paulin Hall Music Concerts

PUC’s department of music has many concerts throughout the year at the Paulin Hall Auditorium; all of which are free to the public. The college has several ensembles that frequently perform, and there are usually multiple student recitals each quarter. During spring quarter, there are several concerts we hope you can join us for!

  • May 12, 2019 — Orchestra Concert, 4 p.m.
  • May 19, 2019 — Symphonic Wind Ensemble Concert, 4 p.m.
  • June 1, 2019 — Choral Concert, 4 p.m.
  • June 5, 2019 — General Student Recital, 6 p.m.
  • June 6, 2019 — String Ensemble Concert, 7 p.m.

Contact the department of music for more information; call (707) 965-6201 or email music@puc.edu.

Other Exciting Upcoming Events

There are also several other events happening this coming spring quarter we think might be of interest to you!

  • April 19-21, 2019 — Homecoming Weekend; If one or both of your parents attended PUC, why not tag along with them for Homecoming and hear stories about the college back in the day!
  • June 14-16, 2019 — Graduation Weekend; Join us as we celebrate our graduating seniors!
  • Every Friday night — We invite you to attend our weekly vespers service at 8 p.m. where we worship together as a campus family to welcome the Sabbath.
  • Every Sabbath morning — At 12 noon, we also invite you to our student-led church service, the Twelve, which features student and faculty speakers each week.

Visit puc.edu/calendar for more information about these events.

For more information about visiting PUC, check out puc.edu/visit.

We can spend hours explaining what we think makes life at PUC so unique but there’s no better way than by experiencing it firsthand, so schedule your visit today! Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email visit@puc.edu to get connected with our visit coordinator and start setting up your schedule now.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Fostering your relationship with God is a priceless reason to choose PUC. You will find yourself studying, living, and serving with Adventist professors and peers who share your faith and values. Not only will you receive a Christian education, but you will also develop relationships that will last for eternity. Every member of the Pioneers family cares about each student’s individual spiritual journey, and campus leaders are committed to meeting students where they are on their walk with Christ.

We asked several campus leaders to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the spiritual life at PUC. Here’s what they said.

What worship activities are there at PUC?

There is the Friday night worship program at 8 p.m., which we call vespers. Then on Sabbath, we have the student-led worship service that goes by The Twelve (held at 12 noon in Dauphinee Chapel), in addition to the more traditional college church service at the PUC Church at 11:15 a.m.

During the week there are residence hall worships, where each residence hall will host a smaller, more casual service once a week. Within the residence halls themselves, there are hall worships, where the resident assistants for each floor host weekly worships as well. One such worship is Men-istry, where the men’s residence halls get together and have a collaborative worship experience once a week on Thursday nights. All are welcome and there are games/snacks incorporated into the program.

In addition to all of these, there are smaller, unofficial groups which regularly meet, such as prayer, Bible study, or other outreach groups. Student-led clubs include the Ignite Club, which is comprised primarily of students who have had a history of working in more traditional outreach ministries such as Youth Rush. The Thaumatrope club is a one that focuses primarily on community impact outreach, organizing events such as community clean-ups to promote local involvement.

What service or ministry activities can I get involved with at PUC?

There is a Campus Ministries office, under which the Missions office operates, as well as other ministries such as Homeless Ministries. At PUC you can, if you’re service-oriented, get involved within our local community throughout the Bay Area, feeding the homeless in Clearlake or Berkeley, which regularly happens on the weekends.

For ministry activities, there are plenty of ways to get involved. The Twelve church service is student-run, if you would like to be a part of that, you have ways to do so. If there is a Bible study you would like to start, you have the Campus Ministries office as your guide to help you get that running.

Can I be a student missionary while I’m a student at PUC?

Yes! Students can serve as a missionary for a full school year, or for a few weeks at a time on a mission trip. Usually, there are mission trips held during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring breaks. Talk with the Missions office for more information.

What is Connect Ministry and where might I see them?

Connect Ministry is PUC’s opportunity to share with the community what sets us apart from other schools, our student-led worship experience. Connect Ministries functions more or less out of the Admissions office, sending out student (and sometimes faculty and staff!) worship groups to churches and schools across California. We are always on the go! The mission is to have PUC students, faculty, and staff dynamically serve churches and schools through ministry, such as leading worship, having a PUC guest speaker, and providing youth-oriented spiritual involvement.

Wherever you are in your spiritual walk, you’re guaranteed to find the support and encouragement you’ll need here at PUC.

A Hot Meal & A Prayer: Students Serve the Homeless

Homeless Ministries at People’s Park in Berkeley.

By Becky St. Clair

One Friday night business administration major George Grigsby was serving food for AfterLite, a post-vespers event designed to encourage student fellowship, he was approached by fellow student John Roberts, asking for any leftovers.

“I asked him what he needed them for, and that’s when I learned about the Clearlake Ministry,” Grigsby says.

Roberts was the leader of the ministry at that time, and he encouraged Grigsby to accompany them. The ministry, run by PUC students, provides both hot and nonperishable food, hygiene items, clothing, and prayer to persons experiencing homelessness on the streets of Clearlake, California. This year, Grigsby is the ministry leader, taking around five fellow students with him every other week to connect with anyone they can find.

“It’s getting harder to reach them because the local law enforcement is stepping up their efforts to disperse the city’s homeless,” Grigsby explains. “So instead of the 75-100 we used to serve there, we now see only 15-30 each time, and we have to drive around to various locations to find them.”

When they do connect with someone, Grigsby and his team make sure to inquire about needs they might be able to fill the next time they come. The top three requested items, especially this time of year when it’s chilly, are sweaters, sleeping bags, and socks.

Howell Mountain Market contributes groceries for the Clearlake Ministry team, and Grigsby spends a bit of time each day putting the bags together so it doesn’t add up to one long night of doing it all. Then he and his student team get together and cook hot food, as well.

“This ministry gives me a chance to put myself in a situation where I can make things better,” Grigsby explains. Growing up in West Africa, he felt very deeply the tragedy that occurred when Ebola broke out there in 2014.

“The people I grew up with were suffering, and I couldn’t do anything about it,” he recalls. “If I can’t make a difference there, I will help the people around me. Clearlake gives me a chance to do that.”

As a sophomore, Kevin Martins, junior biology and pre-med major, had seen Homeless Ministries listed in the “This Week at PUC” emails many times, and when he happened to meet the student director of the Berkeley Ministry to the homeless, he decided to give it a try.

“I really enjoyed the experience of preparing and serving food for others,” he says. “They’re usually just there alone and really enjoy having someone notice them and listen to what they have to say.”

When the ministry leader graduated, Martins stepped up and took over. Every other Sabbath the team of around 15 pile into a large van and attend church and eat potluck with the Adventist church in Berkeley. After potluck, they prepare food in the church’s kitchen to serve the homeless in a place called People’s Park. They serve food, talk with the people, find out their needs and make lists for next time they come, and pray with those who are willing.

“When we’re at the church I organize the group to make sure everyone has a role,” Martins explains. “Everyone has their skills and strengths, and we work together well, making sure everything happens that needs to.”

The group typically serves around 50 homeless, but recently new tents appeared at the park, and Martins made notes to prepare food for 70 the next time they came. Once they serve within the main part of the park, they carry plates around to other areas of the park to serve those who didn’t make it to the table.

Martins has participated in an Amen Clinic previously, and it sparked his interest in serving others. He intends to continue doing so even once he starts his career.

“I want to be a doctor because I want to help people in their healing,” he says. “This ministry has helped me see this is, in fact, what I want to do with my life.”

It’s the stories that affect Martins most. One week he met a woman in a wheelchair who had spent many years living in Brazil, Martins’ home. They began speaking in Portuguese, and she shared her struggles with him.

“She explained to me how being disabled makes being homeless even harder,” he says. “Sometimes she is harassed by other homeless people, and once she and her wheelchair were even set on fire. The things she tells me inspire me to keep going back.”

Martins, like Grigsby, says a majority of the requests they receive from those they serve are for basic hygiene items such as toothbrushes and shaving cream, as well as warm clothing such as socks and jackets.

Both ministries accept donations toward supplies as well as donations of time to prepare and/or serve. Since not everyone has cooking skills, they invite those who do to contribute their skills to serve others. Whether it’s helping prepare the food or delivering pre-cooked meals, both ministries welcome contributions.

“These ministries give us a chance to see beyond ourselves,” he says. “The present need of others isn’t someone else’s problem, it’s everyone’s problem. And if we don’t know what’s going on around us, we can’t help.”

Hygiene kits or supplies for them, clothes—especially socks, gloves, hats, and coats—and money toward gas and food are always appreciated. Anyone who wishes to accompany the groups to Berkeley or Clearlake can reach out to Grigsby and Martins for a schedule and instructions. Drivers are also needed, as two current drivers are graduating this spring. Although worship credit is available for this ministry, both Grigsby and Martins encourage student participants to focus on the serving rather than the credit.

“The purpose is to take a look at your life and realize all you have and how you can give from that to those who don’t have,” Grigsby says. “If you can help make a difference for someone not doing as well, you should. It’s the selflessness of giving and what you learn from the experience that is most important.”

A new part of this ministry that Martins would like to start is bringing musicians to provide live music for the people as they eat. If you play an instrument and are interested in being part of ministry in this way, let Martins know. If you are interested in contributing to either of these ministries in any way, contact Grigsby at gggrigsby@puc.edu or Martins at knmartins@puc.edu.

“We’re so fortunate, and we need to give whenever we get the chance,” Martins comments. “This is that chance.”

Editor’s note: The following is a list of items needed the most by Homeless Ministries. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving cream, shaving razors, sanitary pads, soap bars, deodorant, tissues, wet wipes, towels, and other personal hygiene items. Food, clothes, and cash donations are always greatly needed and appreciated. 

Q&A with Winter Revival Speaker Aren Rennacker

By Becky St. Clair

Aren Rennacker is currently the youth and college pastor at the Calimesa Seventh-day Adventist Church. After graduating in 2007 from Sacramento Adventist Academy, Aren went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in PR and journalism from PUC in 2011, then his master’s in theological studies from La Sierra University in 2017.

One of four kids, Aren has myriad stories from his childhood, during which he dreamed of winning a spot on an NBA team.

He will be speaking during PUC’s Winter Revival, Jan. 22-25, and his theme is “Authentic.” We caught up with Aren so we could all get to know him a little better (how did he go from basketball star to youth pastor?) as we prepare to receive his insights on authenticity and God next week.

Why did you choose “Authentic” as your theme?

It’s such a unique time to be alive right now, and particularly to be in college. Students are forming their identities in the midst of a lot of distrust, competition, pressure, and confusion. These can all contribute to misunderstandings about oneself and what it means to be human. My hope is for one week, we can practically examine the journey of growing as a child of God, and how that actually is meant to allow for more authenticity in our lives, not less. I truly hope our time together is engaging, practical, and genuine to the students’ experiences.

What was your experience with church and worship as a college student, and how has that affected your life today?

Friday night vespers at PUC were always a highlight. I spent most Sabbaths with Kidz Reach, a group that mentored at-risk youth in Napa. Also, the religion classes were outstanding. Truly, the entire spiritual environment at PUC helped me grow in a lot of ways and led me into pursuing ministry. I remain grateful to this day for the teachers and leaders I had as guides during those years.

What’s something that challenged you as a young adult, and how did you handle it?

At the end of my freshman year, I was asked to take a year off to serve as the youth leader at a local church. At that time I still wanted to be a sports journalist and had no desire to be a pastor; however, I felt saying “no” would upset God.

I met with a mentor of mine to process the decision, and he helped me see God was not for me or against me based on my decision, but both “yes” and “no” could be the right or wrong answer based upon how I chose to spend the next year. That took a lot of the pressure off and helped me see God in a healthier way.

I decided to return to PUC that year recommitted to serving God on campus. And, what do you know, by the end of that year I decided I wanted to pursue a career as a youth pastor instead of as a journalist.

What were you like as a kid?

I was the youngest of four and I’m sure I acted like it. Fortunately, my mom and siblings were patient and helped create a great childhood for me. Sports were my passion, and I always wanted to be watching, playing, or reading about them. Reading the sports page in the newspaper every day helped cultivate my love for writing, and obsessing over the Sacramento Kings helped me acclimate to taking losses. Despite that, I was a generally happy kid who enjoyed school and loved my family.

What is your favorite food to eat?

My favorite food category is ice cream. (Is that a category?) Seriously, though, if I were to have one plate of anything, it would be my mom’s French toast. She’s the only one in the world who can make it her way.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I still enjoy playing basketball, and I’m hoping to play some while I’m up at PUC. I’m currently in the middle of several good books, including Under the Overpass, an account of two guys who chose to become homeless for five months to better understand what others experience. But my favorite free time activity is spending time with my girlfriend, Paige, which usually means a game of Uno, an episode of The Office, or a bowl of acai. Better yet: all three.

What are some items on your bucket list?

This is a timely question because I turn 30 this summer, meaning I should probably do some life reflecting. Some of the things I’ve done are travel the U.S., work at a job I love, and see the Giants win the World Series (three times). I’d still love to run a half marathon, write a book, and star on Broadway. Dream big.

What would you say is your main goal for Winter Revival?

My ultimate goal for the week would be for those listening to be willing to process or wrestle with at least one new idea or perspective they hear. Living within a faith community can often numb us to yet another message (myself included), so if any student or staff actually feel something they hear is worth consuming and thinking over, perhaps even discussing with a friend, I’d be honored and grateful. I simply long to be a small part in the journey of growth for anybody who will allow me to be.

If, in the course of said discussions or ponderings, a student has questions or just wants to connect with you about things, how can they reach you?

I would love to talk in person while I’m on the hill, or they can reach me at asrennacker@gmail.com.

Get to Know Pastor Rufo, PUC’s New Chaplain

Joining Pastor Rufo in ministry to the PUC community is wife Anna, daughter Madison, and son Jadon.

By Becky St. Clair

Pastor Kent Rufo has accepted the call to be PUC’s new chaplain. He will be moving his family from Illinois over Christmas break and will begin serving the campus in January. During his 13 years of experience as a pastor, Rufo has served as lead, youth, and associate pastor, chaplain, Bible teacher, collegiate ministries director, and missionary. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Southern Adventist University in 2000 and then completed his MDiv at Andrews University in 2004. Rufo has experience leading prayer and Bible study groups, visitation, counseling, and outreach, among other ministry activities. He is currently serving as lead pastor at Downers Grove Adventist Church in Illinois, where he has been since January 2017.

We caught up with him as he begins figuring out the logistics of their cross-country move and says goodbye to his current church family, and now introduce to you: PUC chaplain Kent Rufo!

Tell us about your childhood. Where did you grow up, and what was life like there?

I grew up in northwest Ohio, in suburbs south of Toledo. My father is from the Philippines, yet the town we moved to was predominantly white. Originally the neighbors weren’t so sure about having an Asian next door, but as the years went by we made some really good friends in that neighborhood. So I’m excited to be moving to a place known for its friendly community and look forward to getting to know our new neighbors.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid I wanted to be an NBA player. Being that my father is 5’6” and my mother is 5’4” my odds of becoming a professional basketball player were small. Growing up it was assumed I would go into the medical field, preferably a doctor of medicine. I had thoughts of medicine until college.

When did you first feel the call to become a pastor?

I don’t know if I really “felt” the call to ministry at first. I knew I wasn’t going to medical school but wasn’t sure what was next. I prayed for a “fleece” and 3 people said I should go to the Seminary … all in the same day. I went. I never interviewed with a conference yet one person from Mountain View Conference called me to ask if I’d like to teach and preach. They were looking for a bi-vocational pastor who could teach full time and minister part-time in a college town. Until this day, I have no clue how he got my name. Since I accepted that call, the Lord has clearly opened up ministries for me and my family.

You served as a missionary in Korea for two years; what was something significant you learned during that experience?

Easy question: The importance of studying the Word! My Korean counterpart had just graduated from the Seminary and shared Bible study tools. I will forever be grateful. I also had the chance to read the Great Controversy and the Desire of Ages (twice). It transformed my life. I also learned about the power of prayer.

So how much Korean did you learn?

“Chogum.” That means ‘a little.’ Every day I remember less. I was never fluent but I could get around.

Your passion in ministry seems to be young people. What inspired that?

Actually, I feel the way God created me was with “strengths” in relationships. I’m not a big-show personality and I believe in authentic relationships. I think I’ve just felt I can be honest with young people and that seems to connect. This drives me. I also believe we have not challenged our young people enough. When I was growing up it was enough to just “keep our kids Adventist.” Obviously, that wasn’t enough. I have a passion to see a group of young people study the Word, pray with huge results, and change their worlds.

Speaking of keeping young people in the church, tell us how you plan to be a part of that effort by working with the young people at PUC.

Jesus was not about keeping people in the church. In John 6 he actually says something he knew would make many leave his side: He wants to challenge people, young and old, to commit to his cause. It means sacrifice, but it also means to expect God to do powerful things through them. I’d really love to see how students take hold of a vision and run with it. If the Spirit is leading, it CANNOT fail.

What made you decide to accept this position and come out here to California?

My wife is still asking me this question. She said she would NEVER move to California. Seriously, though, it is the calling to minister to collegiate-age students. Empowering students to start impacting their community now, rather than after graduation, is one of my main passions.

What are some methods you use to stay in tune with what young people need and want in their spiritual lives, even as times change?

Listening. That’s really it. I can’t keep up with everything new: methods, pop culture, media. The principles of scripture transcend time and changes. Most of what I can do is listen. Oh, I do like to read about ministry models, too, but they are not my “gospel.”

What is one of your favorite spiritual quotes and why is it meaningful to you?

One of my favorite Bible verses is John 16:33 which states, “I have told you these things so that in me you might have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I love this verse because it reminds me that no matter what my world looks like he’s already won!

Outside of scripture, one of my favorite authors is Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. He states, “God is either of no importance, or of supreme importance.” I think the world is looking for authentic Christians. The reason people are turned off by Christianity is that there is a lot of hypocrisy and mediocrity.

What are some books you recommend to young people?

Outside of the Bible, I’m a believer in “The Desire of Ages.” I love that view of Jesus. As for the power of prayer, I recommend “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson.

Tell us about an important spiritual mentor you had as a young person, and how their mentorship has influenced your own.

To be honest, when I first became a Christian, my biggest spiritual mentors were other college students: Chris Bullock and Teofilo Matos. They prayed for me. They showed me how to walk with Jesus. This all stemmed from our friendship and desire to change the world around us. I think that is why my heart is in Christian community and challenging the status quo.

How can the community you serve (that’s us!) support you and your family as you strive to support our students?

Gift certificates for a local massage therapist. Ha! Just kidding.

I think my family is just looking to be part of the community. Oh, both my wife and I worked as baristas at a coffee shop so we do like some good coffee every once in a while. (Hint, hint!)

Tell us more about your family!

My wife, Anna, is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She graduated with an elementary education degree but doesn’t feel full-time teaching as her calling. She’s been a teacher, teacher’s aide, administrative assistant, assistant community service coordinator, and a rockin’ wife. It’s important to her to be involved, but only behind the scenes.

My daughter, Madison, is 10; she loves people and wants to be around them at all time. My son, Jadon, is seven; his shell is a little harder to crack, but once he opens up—especially about superheroes—he slowly warms up to people. My wife is like my son.

What are some of your hobbies and interests? What will we find on the walls of your new office on campus?

I’m not really the biggest decorator, but I love being Filipino so you might find a Filipino flag. I do like sports and to work out. I am a Cleveland Browns fan, too. Go Cleveland! (Hey, a Cleveland fan is a loyal one, though we don’t win too often.)