A Conversation with Fall Revival Speaker Josue Hernandez

By Becky St. Clair

Josue Hernandez is in the middle of his third year of ministry as associate pastor at the Modesto Central Seventh-day Adventist Church. He graduated from Pacific Union College in 2015 with a degree in theology and will begin MDiv classes in January. “I wanted to be a pastor to ensure the voices of young people are heard in the life of the church,” Josue says.

Beginning Oct. 8, Pastor Josue will be sharing some spiritual insights and food for thought during Fall Revival at PUC. Join us every evening Oct. 8-12 at 8:00 in Dauphinee Chapel in Winning Hall, and at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11, in the PUC sanctuary for Colloquy, to hear him speak on PUC’s Student Association’s theme of “Beyond.” Pastor Josue adds, “This theme really resonates with what I believe to be part of life’s most rewarding elements: Our ability to grow, step out of our comfort zone, and embrace the stress and tension that growth thrives on.”

We chatted a bit with Josue to get an idea of the kind of guy he is, and the verdict is he’s pretty great. We look forward to hearing what he has to say for Fall Revival.

You’re still experiencing the “new” of your career; what has surprised you about being a pastor?

In my experience, churches can be very open to new ideas when they line up with a fresh, well-communicated vision of what the church could be. For example, instead of having an extended evangelistic series we offered a one-weekend presentation on the power of hope to our community, wrapped up by a Sunday morning project where we partnered with Rise Against Hunger to package thousands of meals for families who needed them in the Philippines. Seeing the full spectrum of ages, including a few non-Adventist community members, working together toward the same goal was inspiring.

I’ve also led out in a 2-month sermon series called “Messy Church” while preaching in jeans and a t-shirt, purchased a drum set for our church, redesigned our youth room, and launched a teen leadership program. All new projects our church has fully embraced as part of our new identity. This has been a refreshing revelation because it shows churches are willing to step out of their comfort zone to share the Good News.

Tell us about your college years. What was your experience as a PUC student?

I thoroughly enjoyed the three years I spent at PUC. I was involved with SOL Club, joined the soccer team my senior year, and loved being a part of intramurals. My favorite class was beginning Greek (shoutout to Dr. Winkle for making that class such a positive learning experience) because I’ve always been drawn to different languages. I changed my major once from mechanical engineering to theology when I transferred to PUC, but If I had spent a little more time at PUC I would’ve picked up a second major in communications or business.

I had several roommates at PUC. Each one of them very different. I never really had any issue getting used to having a roommate but for some reason, they never stayed the whole year, not sure if it was them or me, except for Timmy Baze who I roomed with my first year—what a brave soul. PUC embraced me as family, so being away from home was probably tougher on my parents than on me. I missed the homemade food the most. My favorite meal in the cafeteria is still Friday morning bliss—biscuits and gravy! To get away from campus, I’d take trips down the hill to In-N-Out, Giugni’s, Sherpa … my mouth waters just thinking about those places! And of course, the back 40! Great place for a hike or a run to Inspiration Point with friends to burn off the calories from the cafeteria food.

What job did you have in college?

My first and only job at PUC (aside from Religious VP for the Student Association) was working for the alumni and advancement office as a student caller to our alumni, keeping them in touch with the latest on life at PUC and assisting with any other projects the office had, including the Maxwell Golf Tournament and Homecoming events.

Life didn’t start in college, though. Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a kid?

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I played a lot of sports; soccer and basketball were my favorites. I also took a couple of years of piano lessons and began playing guitar.

How many siblings do you have?

Many people are surprised when I mention I have a sister, Dalia, who was at PUC during my last two years there. She graduated from PUC with a degree in biology this summer and I’m super proud of her!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I honestly don’t really remember! But I enjoyed playing with fire trucks and legos, so maybe a firefighter or architect.

What was your experience with church and worship as a kid?

I rarely missed a weekend at church growing up. My parents were intentional about ensuring we had a positive experience getting involved with a variety of church activities such as camping trips, family events, social gatherings, etc. Church is actually where I began to develop a joy for service and fellowship. Worship has been a source of great inspiration for me through all these years and has helped me tap into a clearer picture of God’s vision for my life.

We all have defining moments in our lives—moments we can’t forget and have shaped in a significant way the person we are today. What are two of your defining moments?

The first was definitely transferring to PUC from UC Davis. A lot was happening during my freshman year at UC Davis I had to deal with personally. I was beginning to grapple with who I really wanted to be in life, questioning whether or not I belonged at UC Davis, and dealing with high school relationship baggage. There were times where I felt I didn’t have what it would take to be a successful person on such a competitive campus. If you’ve heard of Impostor Syndrome you understand there are times when we second-guess our accomplishments. We feel if we accomplished something it was because the bar was set lower for us or for any other reason other than our own effort, especially as a Latino.

Transferring to PUC was a breath of fresh air. It reminded me I did belong. My achievements were meaningful and the community on this campus helped cement my identity. I ran for and served as RVP from 2014-15 which turned out to be one of the most positive learning experiences I’ve had in life. I am the first in my family to graduate with a college degree here in the United States and PUC will always have a special place in my heart for helping me get there.

And the second: Accepting the call to be a pastor in Modesto. Taking the next step after college is never an easy thing to do. After spending three years at PUC I fell in love with Northern California. I really wanted to stay close to campus because of all the friends that still remained there. It was a Friday evening before Vespers that I accepted the offer to serve as the associate pastor at Modesto Central. I thought I’d be at peace but I wasn’t. A couple weeks later the leadership team of the Southeastern California Conference reached out to me for a second round of interviews to meet the rest of the team. I began to wonder if I had made the right decision. Fast-forward three years, and looking back I am glad I made the choice to come to Modesto.

The fall after I graduated from PUC was the toughest because I missed the PUC community, friends, Vespers, classes—everything but the homework, ha!—and everyone seemed to be posting about moving back in for the start of the new year while I was in a new place with only a couple of people I knew well, I was thankful to be doing meaningful work with lots of potential. I spent one year out of the three I’ve worked here serving as the interim lead pastor when our senior pastor at the time took a call to a different church. I’ve been challenged to grow in so many areas and the people in this community have been so supportive and generous with me. I’ve made many meaningful relationships with the young people here including several who are now PUC students. I’ve discovered God works out all things for good. Learning to trust the process has given me a new awareness about my own boundaries God wants me to go beyond.

Being a pastor is a 24/7 job, essentially, but when you do find a few moments of free time, what do you enjoy doing?

I put a team together to play in a community co-ed soccer league that plays all year ‘round, and it’s been a blast! I also enjoy a good workout in the gym while listening to podcasts ranging from Revisionist History to the Bible Project, and reading anything by Malcolm Gladwell. And let’s be honest: Netflix after a long day is just icing on the cake.

Where is your favorite place in the world and why?

Anywhere with friends. This year I’ve spent some time in Spain, France, Bolivia, Israel, and Mexico. On all these trips, I’ve gone with different groups of friends and family. Each of these trips has had their challenges but the time spent being present and savoring the moment in front of us while sharing it with people we care about has been priceless. No matter where you go, you are surrounded by extraordinary people. Sometimes it just takes a readjusting of our attitude toward the world to see the opportunities to make meaningful memories around us. Then we pause to realize we are only just scratching the surface and dive deeper into the present.

If you could dream up the best possible outcome of this year’s Fall Revival at PUC, what would it be?

My goal is to remind the students of truths they know deep inside, truths they may have lost sight of along the way, and to challenge us all to go beyond surface level living into the depths of life that await us. The best possible outcome, from my perspective, would be for students to walk away with a better understanding of what it means to be human.

Why do you think events like this are important for college campuses?

I think they really help to recalibrate our purpose and vision in life. They inspire us to be the best version of ourselves and remind us of truths about ourselves and our relationship with the Divine we often forget with all the things vying for our attention.

If you’re interested in chatting with Pastor Josue about his talks or just about life in general, feel free to catch him after the Revival meetings or even stop him along the sidewalk. He’s on-campus all week and happy to chat with anyone who’s interested.

Welcome Back to PUC!

The summer months can be fun, relaxing, productive even; however, once September comes, we really start to miss having students running around campus. New Student Orientation was a blast and we have had so much fun spending the first week of the school year getting to know each other during classes and tons of fun activities.

The #RockDoc PUC president Dr. Bob Cushman and his rock. This is a fun new place to snap a quick pic and keep your eye out for new rock-designs throughout the year.

The Student Association team praying for the new school year during family orientation.

Off to the Alumni dinner!

The class of 2022 playing games and getting to know each other their first night at PUC.

Pancakes with your professors! A fun way to get to know the people who will teach your classes over a yummy breakfast.

PUC’s student-led praise team spreading God’s word through song.

The welcome back party was a great time to get to know each other and to find which clubs you want to be a part of!

We just want to say a huge WELCOME BACK to all our students and wish everyone a fantastic school year.

Service: A Lifestyle

By Megan Weems

Editor’s note: In July, over 200 college students and recent graduates, including many from Pacific Union College, traveled to Brazil to participate in a new volunteer program from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency to help build the Adventist Technical School of Massauari (ETAM). Below, recent PUC graduate Megan Weems shares her experience on the life-changing trip.

This summer, I was fortunate to embark on a journey along the Amazon River to a small village called Nova Jerusalem. On this boat, in the midst of nowhere, I was reminded of the attributes of service. This was not a solo mission but one that included 200 plus other college students or recent graduates, like myself, who decided to use two weeks of their summer to do something out of the norm. We were on our way to help finish building a K-9 technical school that needed a little extra tender loving care. The work included: cutting and putting up siding, laying and grouting tiles, painting, varnishing, and cleaning up the classrooms, library, and student dormitories.

I have served as a long-term missionary as a fifth and sixth-grade teacher in Fiji and also volunteered on other mission trips. On this particular excursion, I came with a sense of urgency and persistence to get the building project done. Having witnessed on countless occasions that if the project was left incomplete, it may never get done, and the children would be the ones who suffered. It was quite reassuring knowing that ADRA Brazil and ADRA Connections, a new volunteer program operated by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, had produced a flawless plan keeping everyone involved and working through the entire trip. The huge group of North Americans and Brazilians worked effectively and cohesively to do exactly what we came to do in the Amazon: provide an infrastructure for education that would offer technical skills, and most importantly educating children with eternity in mind.

Every morning, volunteers greeted each other with the phrase, “bom dia,” or good morning in Portuguese, and yelled from boat to boat that worship was starting. We’d awake from our rested slumber in our hammocks, which swung in unison on the boat’s top deck during the cool, breezy nights. Our workdays began when the sun rose and set, and later that evening, we’d end the day with worship. The work was hard, sweat was plenty, there were a few complaints about the heat, but regardless, there was nothing but smiles, singing, and laughter.

What makes me nervous with mission trips is that people are coming from many different backgrounds, which sometimes means learning to adjust to a new work ethic and understanding of the work we are required to do. However, my worries were put at ease as each boat was assigned boat leaders and interpreters who stayed with their boats from start to finish of the mission. On our boat, we were blessed to be led by an amazing couple, Julianna and Diego, who had finished their missionary work from another village in the Amazon as a nurse and boat technician. Both spoke very little English yet the interpreters from the University of Sao Paulo were so helpful to explain what they said. Even though we didn’t speak the same language, Julianna and Diego set a clear example for our group that whatever the task is, whether big or small, we do it with the love of God.

What I saw in Julianna and Diego’s leadership is the type of leadership I pray that God instills within me. They were great at recognizing the strengths of the group, while they delegated, set expectations, and exemplified hard work. I didn’t need to speak the same language to recognize a person who gives 100 percent to every task, but I was very humbled and inspired by Julianna and Diego, and the service they showed.

Another couple left an indelible impression on my heart that I will remember forever, Don and Elaine Halenz. Don and Elaine actually accompanied my group from Pacific Union College, but it would be my first time meeting them. This couple, both age 83, and married for 60 years, decided to come on this trip, very aware of the trip’s extreme destination. They have been intermittent missionaries throughout their lives and here they were with all of us 20-somethings in the field again, working hard and never asking for any modifications. Never once did I hear them utter a complaint! I was incredibly humbled and inspired by Don and Elaine because they stand for everything I hope to be and live for when I am their age. Both of these couples, however, embodied what I believe true service is.

In essence, service to me is not a single action, but a lifestyle. It is a daily choice that leads up to multiple times making an intentional decision to be the best version of yourself in order to improve someone else’s existence. It is in everything we do, whether we are in the comforts of our homes or in a land far away from anything familiar. It is intentional modeling of Christ-like love continuously and consistently from moment to moment. I was incredibly blessed by my short-term experience on the ADRA Connections trip, and was reminded of the service I hope to exemplify all the days of my life.

Read more about the Amazon trip on Adventist Today.

10 Tips for Your First Quarter at PUC

Help make sure this is you graduating in four years! (And yes, those are tortillas!)

If you’re getting ready for your first quarter at PUC, here are 10 suggestions to help make the transition from high school to college as smooth as possible.

Don’t stay in your dorm room

Try your best not to be a hermit and spend all your time in your dorm room. It can be intimidating to go to Student Association events or a Pioneers Athletics game, or just hang out in the Campus Center, but try to get out of your comfort zone a few times and put yourself in places where you might make new friends.

Find your ideal place to study

Research shows studying in different locations can help with your retention of what you’ve studied, so it’s a good idea to find several places you feel you can focus.

Need some ideas of where you can go? Check out our “Great Places to Study on PUC’s Campus” blog post!

Meet with your professors

Make a point of stopping by to visit with your professors during their office hours. Don’t feel as though you’re imposing on them—they’re literally required to have them! Talking with your professors regularly can help them get to know you too, which will also be helpful in a few years when you need a recommendation from them!

Take advantage of on-campus resources

There are some awesome resources available to students at PUC. The Teaching & Learning Center offers free tutoring for most General Education classes and also has a writing lab. The Counseling Center provides students with career counseling, personal counseling, and testing services. Our gymnasium, known officially as Pacific Auditorium but more endearingly called “The Covered Wagon,” also houses a fitness center, weight room, and pool, all of which are free for students to use.

Learn more by reading our “Five Departments Every Student Should Know” blog post!

Talk to people in your classes

It can be scary to walk into a classroom full of people you don’t know, so make an effort to talk to students seated near you. This can have two benefits: you can potentially make more friends, and you can have a buddy to rely on in case one of you misses class and share notes with.

Find ways to get involved

This isn’t to say you should force yourself to do something you aren’t truly interested in, but find your own way of getting involved on-campus. Participate in your weekly dorm worship. Join a small Bible study group. Start a praise band. Think about running for Student Association office or for Student Senate. Join one of the 25 student clubs!

Interested in joining a student club? Learn more by reading our “So Many Clubs, So Little Time!” blog post!

Balance your life

While it’s obviously very important, there’s more to college life than school and homework. A lot of being successful in college is learning how to manage your time and finding the right balance between studying, your social life, and activities to help you relax and destress.

Which leads to the next point …

Develop a routine

Try to develop a routine that works for you, and then do your best to stick to it. Start your morning by studying your Bible or reading a quick worship thought. If you have a break between classes, go for a walk at the track (and bring flashcards if you still need to cram for a quiz!). Make a deal with your friends to have dinner together at the Dining Commons every evening, or at least once a week.

Plan your class schedule wisely

Keep your past history in mind when planning your class schedule with your enrollment counselor. If you’re not a morning person, avoid 8 a.m. classes, if possible. If you struggle with staying focused for long periods of time, maybe don’t sign up for those four credit classes that meet twice a week for two hours! Being aware of what works for you and planning accordingly can only help set you up for future success.

Editor’s note: If you still need to register for classes, or have questions about your schedule, get in touch with your enrollment counselor! Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email enroll@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor.

Try something new

Lastly, don’t be afraid to try something new. Take an art class. Take a language class. Play an intramurals sport you’ve never played before. By stepping outside of your comfort zone, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to grow and perhaps discover something new that you enjoy.

Your first quarter of college is going to be full of new people and new experiences, but try not to worry or feel overwhelmed as New Student Orientation approaches. You will find your place here at PUC, and develop your own network of friends and support. Get ready for your best year yet!

“Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?”

Photo Credit: Karina Oliani

By Yuliya Belikova

Going on a mission trip was one of my New Year’s Resolutions. It was something I wanted to do just to say I have done and maybe receive a different view of the world that everyone who has been on a mission trip keeps talking about. I was dreading the day of departure and wanted to get it over with. This was something out of my comfort zone, but that is why I needed to do it.

This journey was only 10 days long but it taught me so much more than I could have learned in years. It expanded my heart to love the way I didn’t think I could. Building those relationships with the kids and the locals, hearing their stories, their everyday lives, and having real conversations. One of the things that I admired about the kids is when they asked you about your life they actually cared and wanted to know more about you, with no hint of jealousy. They genuinely wanted to get to know you, respect you, and love you. These are the people that our society talks about as if they lack the “important” things in life, but in my eyes, they have it all and even more than we do.  They may not have the materialistic things of this world, but they have the most important thing in life, a developing relationship with God that is not forced, and the relationships within the community and each other. It made me realize how shut out we are to making new relationships with others, but in reality that is what keeps us alive.

Going on this trip has taught me the simplicity of life and the importance of relationships. Putting away your phone and getting up early, actually listening to another person’s answer when you ask the generic question “how are you?” These may seem like small and little things that others take for granted, but for me, it changed my perspective. It would have taken me years to develop this mentality, but here I am after 10 days. You may not believe me or won’t be able to fully understand the emotion until you go through it too. This is why I 100% suggest doing this at least once in your life. The relationships that were made on that small island of Mana were made for a lifetime. Now I can point to that small island on the map and say, “I have a family who lives here and I can’t wait to go back and visit them soon.”

PUC: A Place I Found My Spiritual Talents

By Jamal Armstrong

My name is Jamal Armstrong and I am a super senior social work major. Yes, I have been in college for five years. As I come to the end of my undergraduate career, I have become retrospective about how much I have grown at PUC and how I have been able to leave an impact. PUC has taught me many things. From learning to truly have my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ to how to manage my time better, I learned it all at PUC.

Coming here in September of 2013 after living on the East Coast for the previous four years was exciting for me. I came to college as a wide-eyed 18-year-old freshman who was simply excited to come back and live in the state where I was born. I like to consider myself an outgoing person so it didn’t take a long time for me to begin making friends and coming out of my shell. One thing I quickly became involved in was praise music. I absolutely love singing and I consider it a huge honor to be a vessel for Christ as I let Him use me to help lead out in praising His name. In a sense, I went through the ranks. I started out being on praise teams meant for smaller worship services and made my way through to leading out vespers and church. I recognized God gave me talents to lead in praise and I dove headfirst into that. Understanding I have talents the Lord gave me and having older worship leaders such as George Tuyu and Jason Decena to help mold me as a worship leader are things I am grateful for.

From a young freshman to a seasoned super senior, I have learned the best thing I can do as a follower of Christ is to be absolutely honest and open with how I praise Him on stage. People can see right through someone who is just going through the motions just as well as they can tell when someone is being genuine. For me personally, it is easy to be genuine because I consider myself a very introspective person. I like to know where I’m at mentally, physically, and emotionally and I like to know where I can improve. As I have grown up the past five years, I can honestly say I have learned to let others help me rather than rely on myself, and more importantly, I have learned how to rely on God. There will always be ups and downs in life but with God leading my life I know I will go far. As I get ready to set sail from PUC, I leave knowing my purpose in life and to always rely on God.

Randy Ramos, Your Student Chaplain!

By Becky St. Clair

This week we caught up with Randy Ramos, student chaplain here at PUC. Randy grew up in Southern California and chose PUC because he wanted to stay in the state, but wanted to stretch his wings a bit, too. By all accounts, it sounds like he made the right choice. We talked to Randy a bit about his spiritual journey, his experience at PUC, and the hopes he has for his future. Without further ado, we introduce to you Randy Ramos!

What led you to choose a theology major?

It’s definitely a calling. To be honest, I never wanted to be a pastor and didn’t see myself as one. I actually wanted to do physical therapy—something I’d planned on doing since fifth grade. Then I came here and I realized my calling wasn’t to the medical world, but to minister to people in a different way. To help them find spiritual healing. Just taking the basic theology classes started to build my passion for looking into scripture to see how God views us.

Growing up the focus was more on how we view God, and ultimately what I’ve come down to in the last four years here at PUC is how God views us is shaped by how we view him. If we view him with anger, we’ll see him as an angry God. Scripture says he loves and wants us. Studying theology and diving into the Bible has reshaped how I view God, and I want to share that with other people—I want to help them find their own view of God that gives them peace and joy.

Tell me about your job. What kinds of things are you responsible for as student chaplain?

Well, along with the Student Association’s religious vice president, I’m in charge of spiritual life on campus. I want to make sure people on campus are doing well and their spiritual life is going well. If they’re struggling, students can talk to the campus chaplain or myself, and since I’m closer to their age, it gives me the chance to minister in a different way. I also create and lead Bible studies. I see the importance of small groups in building relationships, because that’s how Jesus did it with his small group of disciples. Although they didn’t quite catch on during his ministry, they finally got it when He ascended. It was then they realized the importance of a closer relationship with Christ. I want to see that model grow here at PUC, too, by urging through small groups the importance of rediscovering who God is in our lives.

So, what is it you love most about your job?

First, that I don’t see it as a job. It’s a passion, and what I’ve truly been called to. When those two become one—a passion and a calling together—it just doesn’t feel like work. This is what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life: Care for people the way Jesus cared for people and the way He cares for us now. I also love the opportunity to build relationships with people, watching them grow spiritually. My first roommate didn’t want anything to do with God. He had a lot of doubt. Throughout the year I spent as his roommate, I never preached the Gospel at him, or told him what to believe. I built the friendship first and then we began opening the Bible and praying together. Eventually he opened up, asking me to pray for him and his family. Our close friendship started it all. I love creating opportunities for more relationships like that to take place here on campus.

Just because you love it doesn’t mean it’s easy, right? What do you find challenging about being a student chaplain?

Getting people to see your vision. Sometimes you can do a lot of motivating and planning, trying to inspire others to see God loves them, and He is moving in their lives. Sometimes the response is, “meh.” Sometimes they don’t want to see it. Sometimes it can be sad seeing people not tasting and seeing the glory of God, but everyone has their own spiritual walk. Being patient with others’ walks is hard, too. We can all grow and move forward, but it takes time. It took time for the disciples; for example, Peter denied Jesus but if you look at Acts you see the Peter who now gets it. What Jesus told him to do he’s out in the world doing. It just takes time.

Since you mentioned spiritual walks, can you tell us a little bit about your own?

Of course! I came here knowing what I’d been taught, and knowing how God views us. I came feeling really guilty about the things I’d messed up in the past, and believed God to be extremely angry with me. During my first year here I started really looking into the life of Jesus, and I discovered He’s the mirror reflection of the Father. It was at that point I saw the Bible in a whole new light, realizing God actually really loves me. Loves all of us. That really shaped my spiritual journey. Now I can look back at my worst days and see God there, too, just loving me.

I’ve grown a lot here at PUC. I’ve come to realize church isn’t just a service on Sabbath. There’s so much more to it than four walls and a roof. Church is a broken community coming together for healing, and to accept the love God is always there to give. That has shaped a lot of how I’m going to go into ministry, understanding how God views me.

Growing up, I was afraid to ask the hard questions. “Who is God?” “Does he even exist?” “Does He even love us?” It was so hard because I was afraid people would shut me down. It wasn’t until I was about 16-years-old when I started realizing what was happening in my life had a reason. I started trusting God and walking with Him of my own accord, and really believed He had a plan for me. When I came here to PUC, I realized the same struggle was going on with people around me, too—there were other people asking the hard stuff I had asked. When we came together we were asking these questions, even in Bible studies I attended. It was so relieving to know I wasn’t alone in my questioning and doubt.

Last year I took a class called “God and Human Suffering.” That was a tough class. For one assignment, I wrote a paper called “A Theodicy,” which was basically a defense of God’s character. In that paper, through my own testimony, experience, and scripture, I looked at people who have died in my life and asked, “Why?” Why did my 10-year-old cousin die? Why did my high school friend die? I wrestled with my faith, and ultimately, it came down to this thing called sin. And it sucks. But God sent His son to overcome it, to give us life. We’re not going to be obedient to death, but Jesus was. That’s why He says He’s the way, the truth, and the life.

PUC is a place where asking questions is okay. It’s a place where you’ll find spiritual leadership to help you find the answers and point you to the true God. I keep going back to the fact if God allowed Job to ask these questions, we can do the same. God won’t be hurt by our questions. What it really comes down to is do you trust God?

You’re graduating this year and heading out into the world with your absolute faith and trust in God, and a solid education. What will you do with it?

That’s the big question, isn’t it? My ultimate goal is to pastor, whether that’s through chaplaincy, teaching, or other ways. It doesn’t have to be at a church. I want to lead a group of people as we move together to build leadership and empower the next generation. This has been my calling and I feel it’s the calling for the rest of my life. Giving my life to ministry was a huge step in my life, and I don’t plan on ever looking back.

How do you feel your time at PUC has helped you prepare for both your career and other aspects of your future?

It’s the experience here. Through the worst days, I feel that’s where I’ve learned the most that’s helped me prepare to relate to people who are struggling. The best way to relate to people is through experience and testimony. Even my good days are a testimony, as I can share with someone who’s struggling that better days are coming. What has really prepared me is not just classes and education, but experiences I’ve had here on campus.

You were recently given an award. What was it, and how were you selected?

Oh man, I was so surprised to learn I’d been been selected for this award. According to the email I received, the Charles E. Weniger Fellows student scholarship is awarded to students who exemplify positive qualities and characteristics in campus leadership. I’m honored to be selected for this award, as it tells me I have been effectively allowing Christ’s character to shine through me. I can attribute this only to allowing Jesus to lead the way in my life.

If you could give all incoming freshmen one piece of advice, what would it be?

Just one? Haha! Seriously, though, I think I’d most want them to know it’s okay to ask the hard questions—they will allow you to grow. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to struggle. Out of that, something beautiful happens. I’m speaking to myself, here, too. I was afraid of failing and struggling, but out of that, in Ecclesiastes 3, the Bible tells us God makes everything beautiful in its time. There’s a season for everything. It’s okay to go through the hard stuff, because He’ll be with you every step of the way.