One of the first people I met when I first arrived on campus in the summer of 2010 was the IT Support “guy.” Based on past experience with IT in other places, my expectations were low. I figured I would pass him my tech gear and he would work everything out. A quick, simple transaction is all that was needed. Ben Regoso’s work ethic reset my expectations and, more importantly, began to shape my own perspective on how to work with others even when the task is “just” transactional.
Ben’s attitude and posture in every “transaction” I’ve had with him consistently involves an interest in me. He offers a next level of caring and curiosity into my story and how my day is really going. When I happen to catch him across campus now, I’m greeted with a warm smile and wave from someone who could have just easily remained a stranger. Getting tasks done can be purely transactional. Yet Ben showed me the value of getting things done while seeking to connect with the people with whom you work.
Ben recently became the tech support manager for our campus. He has spent the last nine years working in tech support. In sitting down with him, I learned he never expected to come back to Andrews University. But through the love of a lady, values instilled by his parents, and providential timing of a car accident and job posting God brought him here.
Read Ben’s full story in Stories of Andrews at Andrews.edu/stories. Thank you, Ben, for demonstrating the spirit of Andrews.
by Jose Bourget, associate chaplain
Heaven came to Andrews from her home country of South Korea and began studying for a biology degree. Acting on conviction she changed her major to education, only to discover the additional schooling this would require was something her family could not afford. So back to biology she went, abandoning her dream of becoming a teacher—for now.
As her decision wavered back and forth between education and biology, she made plans to return to South Korea to teach English for a year and earn money to hopefully return to Andrews and complete a degree.
That’s when a miracle happened.
Read Heaven’s full story in Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories.
Thank you, Heaven, for sharing your story. You are part of the spirit of Andrews.
Jessina Wangui Marenga
A few months ago I met Jessina for the first time. Jessina is brimming with enthusiasm and faith and I want to share the way she lives constantly in the knowledge of the goodness of God.
She calls herself a proud African—African because her mother is from Kenya and her father from Zimbabwe. She has lived in Botswana, South Africa and Kenya. Jessina also calls herself a desert baby, because she was born in a semi-arid region in the hottest year ever recorded. She still loves the heat.
The place Jessina first knew as home was Botswana which is where her parents migrated in the 90s in search of work. Her mother was a nutritionist turned high school educator, and her father a graphic advertisement designer. She remembers Botswana being pleasant and straightforward.
In 2006, Jessina’s family relocated to South Africa. Now came the first new land where the other children looked at her differently because of her darker complexion and apparent accent. However, she still had a loving sister and a caring mother, all she needed, she recalls, to be the happiest child anyone could ask. So it was that until the age of 11, her life was truly blissful, and Jessina lived content in her bubble of school, Mama, Dada, and Maria.
It was then that life began to change and suddenly the child had to become an early adult.
Read the rest of Jessina’s story in Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories.
Thank you, Jessina, for sharing your story with us and for living the spirit of Andrews in your optimistic and hopeful faith.
Meet Bruna Barbosa—one of Andrews University's most brilliant personalities! This story covers Bruna’s transition from “living for comfort” to “living for mission.” Although her journey went through a few awkward turns, she finally found her purpose on the small island of Palau, and this purpose now fuels her pursuit of a speech-pathology degree. Read how Bruna’s decision to fly halfway across the world provided the motivation she needed to find her passion, her purpose and her profession.
Read Bruna's full story in Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories.
Thank you, Bruna, for sharing your story. You are part of the spirit of Andrews.
Michael Polite Associate Chaplain
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Sarah Brockett lives by this promise. However, she did not always have that perspective.
Born in Toronto, Canada, to who she calls “two feisty Seventh-day Adventist Caribbean parents,” she has experienced many ups, downs and several detours. True to the dictum that life is lived looking forward but understood looking backward, she thanks God for blocking all of her selfish goals and giving her what she truly needed. In retrospect, the things she wanted would have led her further away from Christ.
Growing up, Sarah had many lonely and sad days. The divorce of her parents was difficult on her. Her faith in God was becoming increasingly weak and she wanted to leave the church. Finances were a challenge. She was the only one in her family to pursue post-secondary education and that caused added pressure and stress. Failure was not an option. She needed something in her life to go right. She hoped and prayed that she would be able to keep her mind clear enough to make the right decision about college.
And then she visited Andrews University, and her life changed. Read Sarah’s full story in Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories.
Sarah, thank you for sharing your story and embodying the Andrews spirit.
Hyun J. Kwon
Today I had the wonderful opportunity to discover more of the story of one of our faculty, Hyun Kwon, chair of the Department of Engineering & Computer Science. The conversation left me inspired, reminding me yet again of the amazing faculty who work at Andrews University.
Hyun was born as a second child among three siblings in South Korea. Her father was a police office, her mom a full-time mom. She was a high achiever academically and after attending an elite science track high school, she continued to the prestigious Korean Advanced Institute of Technology (KAIST) with a full governmental scholarship. She chose engineering to study because in that area math and science are applied to bring positive change to society.
It was while pursuing her PhD at KAIST that Hyun visited the U.S. and it so impressed her that she decided she wanted to come and live here at some point. It happened sooner than she expected; Hyun transferred and was soon on her way to complete her PhD at the University of Louisville.
Up to that time in her life Hyun had been focused on academic and professional success. She never had many Christian friends in her circle in Korea and still thinks that if she had stayed in Korea her ego would have become so big she would not have needed God! And so started her Exodus experience: Leaving her country, crossing the ocean and facing difficulties that come with that kind of transition.
Read the rest of Hyun’s story in Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories. Hers is a story that is part of the spirit of Andrews.
Chad rhythmically taps on my desk, mimicking the sound of the native cultural drums, as he chants the song the Alaskan elders sang on that spring day in 2013. I hear the conviction in his voice and see the passion in his eyes. Chad, a native Alaskan himself, had not lived in Alaska since he was 10 years old. After accepting God’s call to pastor a church in Togiak, he arrived back in Alaska on a six-seater prop plane in fall 2012. He recounts he had not heard the song the elders sang that day since he was in fourth grade and recalls that at the beat of the drum, hot tears streamed down his face as he remembered his Alaskan roots. This was the day he realized that God had prepared him especially for these people and these people especially for him. After the elder fathers finished their demonstration, Chad asked them if they had known a lady named Malania Bennett. The elders fell silent, looked at him intently and said, “Who did you say?” A flood of responses he never expected flowed from their tongues. “She took care of me when I was little,” “She held my first child,” “She was like my older sister,” “She was like my own daughter.” “She was my grandmother,” Chad said. “I had heard that she used to come to this village and fish, but I had no idea you would remember her.” On this Alaskan spring day, in the year 2013, Chad understood that God was a good steward of all things. He recognized that unbeknownst to him or her, his own grandmother’s life had paved the way for him to share the Gospel of Christ with the people of Togiak. To read Chad’s full story about his experience in Alaska, visit Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories. Thank you, Chad, for making your story part of the Andrews story. We are better because you have shared. by June Price, chaplain
Wol Bol Wol
“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.”
As Seventh-day Adventists, the fourth commandment is core to our beliefs and values. It’s a call to Sabbath rest that suggests that the Sabbath is the great equalizer—our employees and the foreigner find rest just as we do. The Sabbath rest dismantles hierarchy, social class and nationality. And it is within this context that I bring you the story of Wol Bol Wol, an Andrews University student who came to the U.S. as a South Sudan refugee—he was one of the “lost boys of Sudan.” At the age of 4, Wol was a shepherd. At the age of 6, he witnessed the plundering of the village where he lived with his uncle. Eventually he took refuge in Kenya. Wol was a refugee and a stranger. He is now a son of Andrews and a stranger no more! Wol’s story demonstrates the spirit of Andrews. Read his full story (and others like his) in Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories. Christon Arthur
Sitting in my office I have a box. In it are the written prayers from student leaders that were part of the 100 days of prayer for me and the provost after we assumed our new roles this fall. The box is a replica of J.N. Andrews’ trunk that he used when he first left for mission service. The proportions are exactly 50 percent.
What is particularly unique is that the materials are almost all taken from Lamson Hall bedframes. The individual who made the box so carefully is one of our valued staff, Harold Schmidt. This story is his story. It is also the story of what makes this campus rich in its diversity and history. And it is also the story of the deep connections amongst us.
Harold comes from Argentina. But his heritage is from Europe. On one side of his family is immigrant George Riffel, first Adventist lay evangelist to Argentina, who had no idea that only an ordained pastor could baptize the 50 converts he made. On the other side is the Schmidt family who ended up in Argentina when his grandfather, 8 years old, was sick and couldn’t get on the ship to Canada. And then there is the influence of J.N. Andrews, who was a missionary to Argentina from a distance.
All three threads amazingly connect together on the campus of the Adventist university in Argentina, which became the first center of Adventist work in that country. And yes, somehow this all connects back to Harold and this box in my office.
Read Harold’s story and others like it at andrews.edu/stories.
Thank you, Harold, for living the spirit of Andrews.