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Spiritual Life

When I was a child, my only reason to go to church was to get permission to do something or to hang out with friends. I didn’t feel the necessity to go to church. My parents were divorced, and my brother and I lived with our mom, who at that time was an Evangelical Christian. She later married a Seventh-day Adventist man, and we began studying the Bible every night with him. We began attending the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I started feeling good in this church and continued going because I really wanted to know God.

When I was in high school, I thought about studying medicine and so, during my senior year, I took medical classes to learn the basics before I started university classes. One Saturday night, after attending an Adventist Youth meeting, we found a similar meeting being held at the same hotel. We went in and listened to a testimony about a preacher’s brother. The brother was about to die, and he said that the person who saved him was an angel sent by God. I started remembering the fives times I almost died and realized that it was God who had saved me each time.

When I got home, I told my parents I did not want to be a doctor, but a pastor. My mom asked me if I wanted to attend Linda Vista, which is an Adventist university in Chiapas, Mexico, or attend one here in the United States, and I chose the USA. My mom’s friend told her about Southwestern Adventist University in Texas which is cheaper than other SDA schools in the US. I told my mom I wanted to study there. She visited the university with my step-dad. They returned and told me about the university and it’s environment. My mom bought my one-way ticket and afterwards bought the rest of the tickets for my family with the same credit card.

At the airport, I was told that my ticket was bought with a fraud credit card and so my ticket was not legal and therefore, I couldn’t get on the flight. My family’s tickets, however, were legal. Something interesting was happening. It didn’t make sense that my ticket was illegal when all the tickets were bought with the same credit card. My mom bought me another ticket to Monterrey and from there I would take a bus to Texas. I arrived at the immigration office, got my permission, and went back to the bus to find out that it had left me and another girl behind. We walked to another corner hoping to find another bus, and we found one that was going to Dallas! We explained to the bus driver what had happened with our bus. He allowed us to get in, and there were only two seats available! Finally, I got to Dallas where my family was waiting for me.

While coming to SWAU, my mom told me that everything that had happened was because Satan did not want me to come here, but God had protected me. She said that Satan knows that God has something planned for me and that is why he tried to prevent me from coming here.

Adrian Francisco Perez Gomez

Dreaded Finals

Spiritual Life

Here they come, the dreaded semester tests. If you are stressed about finals, don't forget to take a breath. Make sure you take time each day to study, but you should also pray to the God of all creation, the One who has everything under control. Ask for knowledge, wisdom, and perseverance. Don't head out to a test without taking a moment to talk to God. If you still need more tips, here are some strategies I found on USA Today:

  1. Review your notes daily.
  2. Predict possible questions. Review old tests, study guides or the course objectives.
  3. Answer questions you didn’t know the first time. If the exam is cumulative and you struggled to master any material, return to it.
  4. Meet with your professor.
  5. Link new information to things you already know. Forming these associations will help you retrieve information later.
  6. Create mnemonic devices, rhymes or acronyms, to help you remember information.
  7. Take short breaks. Your brain can process a limited amount of information and benefits from some rest. Reward yourself with naturally enjoyable activities, such as playing X-box or clicking through Facebook.
  8. Stay healthy. Get some sleep and avoid caffeine. Seriously – your brain with thank you.
  9. Draw it. Create tables, diagrams, mind maps or pictures to represent and organize the information.
  10. Study in a distraction-reduced environment. Turn off your cell phone, TV and email notifications.
  11. Quiz yourself. Cover up your notes and try to explain them. Create flashcards. If you find yourself struggling to remember, try different techniques to learn the material.
  12. If it works for you, form a study group.
  13. Manage your anxiety. By listen to calming music, stretching or breathing deeply, you can avoid stress and release negative thoughts.
  14. Overlearn the material.  When you think you are finished, keep going.
  15. Stay positive and persist, believing that talent can be developed. You can learn material by working hard, seeking help and using effective strategies.

Kylie Kurth

God is my Shepherd

Spiritual Life

Before coming to Southwestern Adventist University, I knew very little of a loving, forgiving God.  Growing up, my father had taught me on weekends,  but I lived with my mother who didn’t want my father leading me in the direction to know Jesus.

I went to a public High School in Fort Worth, where bullying ran rampant. Riding the bus meant being kicked out of the seats, having my hair pulled or having to stand the whole ride home, as I was the very last bus stop. My mom didn’t make a lot of money and spent what little she had on drugs, so I never knew if I would have new clothes for school, food in the pantry, or enough money for essentials.

I knew about prayer during this time from spending weekends with my father, and so with what little faith I had, I prayed a lot. There was always a counselor, a teacher, or someone from the school that would offer money or a way home when I was too afraid to ride the bus, and I never had to ask one single time. God was always with me in those moments, even though I couldn’t see it all that well.

Thankfully, I graduated high school in 2013, in the top 11% of my class. I had no idea if I could afford college, afford to take care of myself, or even find a place to live, as my mom had abandoned the house we lived in, with all three of her kids still living there. I had no choice but to move in with my father. He and I had a very strained relationship but he loved me enough to push me to canvass, to step out of my comfort zone and go to Oklahoma when I had just barely moved in. God knew what he was doing and my heart was warmed. I accepted the challenge, as afraid and alone as I had felt at the time, and packed my things in what felt like blind faith.

Canvassing was a completely new experience for me, one that had allowed me to come to know a God who loved me regardless of the fact that I hadn’t been loved by those who were supposed to love me most. God had allowed me to trust Him daily, stepping out in this new faith I had barely come to fully realize. I met so many loving people: people who were hurting just like me, who needed to know God, needed to see His vast love and forgiveness. God was with me every day, even when I had doors slam in my face, people yelling at me and persecuting me for simply standing at their doorstep. He always led me to someone who needed prayer, to show me that His purpose was bigger than my fears.

His love had shaped me in just six short weeks. In that time, I boldly stepped forth to apply at Southwestern Adventist University. My fears of not knowing anyone, not being accepted or feeling alone were quelled by the absolute trust I had in God as to where He was leading me. Applying to Southwestern was so easy. Everything was worked out in the blink of an eye. Since that moment, I have met so many amazing teachers, friends, and felt safely at home here. It hasn’t been easy, but God has still never left my side. In moments when the future looks hopeless or bleak, God asks us to trust Him, an act that has allowed me to become a Junior Education major.

I came from a place where I felt I had nothing and nowhere to go, but into the arms of my Savior, who knew all along where He was leading me. We all may be walking different paths, but we have the same God, who never changes, but always love and forgives. We can trust Him, with every detail of our lives, even when doing so means, at least in my case, giving up complete control. From what I have been through, I know without a doubt in my heart that God’s way is ultimately better than any plans I could have made on my own.