Humans of SWAU
My favorite verse right now is found in Psalm 31:3 “For Thou art my rock and my fortress, therefore for Thy name’s sake, lead me and guide me.” I was behind on so much work this week, I said “Lord, I’m feeling so much pressure.” Whenever I’m under so much pressure I cry a lot, I get really emotional and I don’t know what to do. I opened my Bible to go to Proverbs 31, but it went to Psalm 31 instead of Proverbs 31. I read the verses and fell upon this one. “Lord, you lead me and you guide me, because everyday there is trouble.”
I’ve been SDA all my life, but my parents were Catholic. A man told my dad about the Seventh-Day Adventist church, and gave him Bible studies. He received the light, and that same day, my dad stopped eating meat and stopped doing everything that is not right according to the Bible, cold turkey! My mom actually took a little while to come into the SDA church. My dad would leave the Bible next to her bed and convinced her to read it. She denied it many times, until she was finally convinced to read the Bible. It’s been a blessing because they are my motivation to be closer to God. Even though I grew up in church, when I was little I didn’t see God the way I do now. I thought of Him like a mystical creature or something, like He was some kind of fantasy, something that people were just looking at for hope, that He wasn’t real. When I was 15 years old, we had a Thanksgiving meeting in church. A 17-year-old boy, who was a friend of mine, gave me a Bible study about music. He pointed out that music had a huge influence on your mind. At the time, I was listening to all kinds of music. I think the Lord put me there to open my eyes to the understanding that evil is everywhere. But God is also everywhere. I felt so filled with God after that Bible study that I wanted to get baptized right away, that week. But my parents told me that I shouldn’t make an impulsive decision over such a life changing moment. After I heard that I hesitated to make the decision to get baptizeds. I can see how God really worked in my life. After I graduated from high school, I was going to attend La Sierra University. But my plans were completely flipped. If I didn’t come to SWAU, I wouldn’t have come to Daily Lifehouse Sabbath school, I wouldn’t have developed such great relationships and friendships that I have. It feels like a family, a genuine family here at SWAU. I wouldn’t have had the same experience in a bigger university. Now I’m 19 and just got baptized. I’m so grateful for the plans that God has designed for me.
Growing up in our family, we’re not used to saying “I love you” or showing love through affection to each other. Yeah, we would give each other hugs, and comfort each other when we’re sad and stuff, but I never really said things like “Hey mom, I love you!” or “Hey dad, I love you!” I was always my mother’s right hand even though I was a middle child. My older brother has autism, so he has a mind of a 13-year-old boy, in a 21-year-old body. I would be the mother in the home when my parents were away. So as I get older, my parents were sad because they knew that I wasn’t going to be home to help take care of my siblings. Now that I’m gone, every one has their little world. The Holy Spirit moved me, I wanted to start saying “I love you, and I miss you!” Even though I’m here at SWAU, I think God is still working to connect our family as a whole. I wasn’t someone that would say things like that. So when I did to my dad, he was so very happy. Everyone is starting to say it to each other. I praise God for the transformation in my life, and my family.
"Being homeschooled, I kind of had my own little environment which gave me a very independent identity. A lot of my friends ask me why i'm so confident and I think it is because I wasn't exposed to so many different standards of people. I don't have to be like anyone else, I can just be myself. I think that it may be a reason why I graduated early as well. I was baptized when I was nine into the Pentecostal church. However, my family would switch churches quite often. We were looking for a church that did not show favoritism or just want our money. My family got so frustrated and discouraged that we quit going to church for a year. My mom had a friend who wasn't even a Christian but told my mom that, if she ever needed a church, she should go to a Seventh-day Adventist one. This lady has been a great blessing in my family's lives and was a big reason why my mom chose to homeschool me.This woman believes in God but does not believe in the way that churches are run. During that year she started giving my mom Bible studies and telling her that the Sabbath is Saturday. My mom accepted that Saturday is the Sabbath and decided to give Adventism a try. Our relatives told us, "What kind of a cult are you joining?" Often, my relatives would discourage my family a lot when making decisions; especially about me being homeschooled. I can tell you I would not be here at Southwestern if I wasn't homeschooled. I would have gone to public school and would have been exposed to very different values than I have now. My mom really stood firm in her decisions. I'm really blessed to have my dad, he's really supportive. He would have his siblings tell him, "Why would you let your wife do this or that?" He always defended my mom. I was eleven when I became an Adventist which was about five years ago. I don't remember clearly but I remember being afraid of God. I thought that if I sinned or disobeyed Him I would go to Hell. Recently, I see Him as a personal God, a God of love."
Freshman Theology major
"I didn't even know about Seventh-Day Adventists until this past summer. I got baptized when I was ten but then I left the church. I remembered who God was and who Jesus was but I never really prayed or went to church much. High school came, I started drinking and smoking every single week, then every single day. Parties happened every weekend. It got to the point that I brought these things to my home. I started smoking and drinking not because it was a social thing but because I needed it. My mom tried to give up drinking. She would tell me, "Hey i'm giving it up!" Yet a week or so later alcohol would be back in her life. Without my friends I would've failed high school. God was watching out for me every step of the way. Even though I didn't know it, He gave me the right people to be around. My grandma was the reason why I was a Christian growing up. Yet, when we moved away from her, we all fell apart. When my friends headed off to college, I decided to take a year off. The questions that always seemed to be on my mind were: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? I still smoked every day but I wanted to know the answers to my questions. I wanted to know where I was supposed to be. My family encouraged me to play football. They said I had a talent and I should use it. So I asked God about it. In April, I went to a seminar that had answers for the questions that I had been asking. The seminar speaker was actually a student from Southwestern. Besides Jesus, he is probably my greatest friend. He is the person who brought me to Christ. God's timing is perfect! The seminars were held in a church across the street from my mom's work. So every day after work, she would walk across the street and go to the seminars. My mom actually gave her life to Christ as well. She tried to get sober again, this time not on her own strength but through Christ's. Christ cleansed her! A week before the seminars I had been fired from my job. God had a plan. Since I was fired from my job, I had nothing better to do, so I went to the seminars. The power of God is just beautiful! I want to do this for the rest of my life. Traveling and sharing God's love as an evangelist preacher. I'm really thankful for my mom. She had worked all by herself to take care of three kids. She looked for satisfaction in a bottle of alcohol but now, she finds her satisfaction in the word of God."
"I'm writing about this for the next issue for Status. I guess something I've been meditating upon is Ephesians 4:1-3, what is the calling that God has given me? In all lowliness and gentleness, long suffering, and bearing love for one another, God brought to my attention the part about long suffering; it literally means, suffer for long. To me that captures my attention because if you look up the definition; it means that to not be easily entangled in anger, or trial and tribulation. I believe that God not only calls us in our own major, because that's not enough, He also has a call for us in our trials. He gave me, gave us, a role, a purpose in tribulation, that has been going on for years. Reflecting Christ's character in every way of our life is what He wants for us. I believe through trials; he wants us specifically to build our character. See, building my character is not just for myself, but for the people around me as well, my family and my friends. He wants us to reflect on how we can be a better daughter, person, student and friend. Not just by saying, "I'm praying for you." But specifically seeking the person's love language because you care for them. I really would like for everyone to, if possible, take time to pause and meditate on what God really wants you to do with your daily life."
Brian Garcia- Freshman (Theology)
"I had to go through the worst moments to get to the best ones. After falling so many times in life and seeing God’s work on my life I can say that he made me different and because of that, I feel that I can fit in anywhere. Because of my testimony a lot of people can relate to me. I think that God let me go through all the worst things because he knew that I could handle it. I came here because I felt moved; I wanted to know more about the person that saved me the person that loved me even though I didn’t know who he was. I want to tell everyone that they are loved, even when you feel dirty, when you feel worthless, he loves you. I want people to know that there’s hope."
"My self-worth isn't determined by what people think of me, but rather is rooted in a loving Christ."
Freshman year at SWAU, "my relationship ended as quickly as it began. I remember crying myself to sleep at night, wondering why I wasn't enough for him. Though it was painful at the time, this situation pushed me to go out, meet new people and create meaningful relationships with the people around me..." During Freshman year, Xyza joined a small group called First Light. The love of Christ through His words and the people she encountered in the small group moved her to become a leader for First Light in her Sophomore year. Xyza is currently a Junior business major at SWAU. She is also the Financial VP for Student Association.