Outside the weather is gloomy. Summer has given way to a cold and cloudy fall day, yet my office is filled with exuberance and joy. Christian Guana-Jarrin, an MDiv student here at Andrews, was one of the first two missionaries to serve Cuba after 55 years of doors being shut to long-term Christian missionaries. He has been sitting across from me for the last 30 minutes testifying to what God has accomplished in his life and in Cuba over that past year. Christian’s face is beaming as he explains the acronym CDAR to me. “C” stands for committed, and “dar” means “to give” in Spanish. CDAR, meaning “committed to give,” is the name of a ministry that Christian started and organized while serving in Cuba. He, along with a group of young believers, began a ministry of giving time, relationship, physical goods and, most importantly, the light of Scripture to the local Cuban people. Christian’s eyes get wide and the excitement in his voice rises as he tells me about the container of blessings which he had the privilege of getting organized and distributed at the end of his year of service. Family and friends from Sydney, Australia, assisted in filling and shipping this container of blessings with an immense variety of much-needed supplies and sent it to the region where Christian was serving. The Cuban people are under rather strict rations, and most are surviving on very little. But as Christian became a local, he and the CDAR ministry prayed fervently for the container of blessings, as they knew the likelihood that the container might be confiscated by the government was high. He recounts the sheer gratitude and boost of faith he received when God protected the container and it was finally in the hands of the local Cuban people. As the supplies were distributed to those in need, Christian witnessed lives being changed a nd hope rising more and more in the lives of many for the glory of our awesome God! To read more of Christian’s story, visit andrews.edu/stories. Thank you, Christian, for letting your story be part of the Andrews story, for showing us an example of compassion, service and the heart of God. You and your story are part of the spirit of Andrews.
Newton W. Hoilette
A few weeks ago, I spent some time on the phone with an alumnus and former Andrews University administrator who truly exemplifies the best of Andrews. I ended the conversation feeling even more passionate about what I do because if I was to summarize his life story, it is about passion: passion for people, passion for Adventist education, passion for making a difference in the lives of students, passion for the gospel. This story is about a young boy who grew up in Jamaica determined to be a doctor. He ended up being a pastor and evangelist, then a dean of men, dean of students, academic dean, then a neuro-psychotherapist, a chronic pain management director, then a vice president for Student Life at Andrews University. Newton Hoilette’s legacy at Andrews includes enhancing faculty/staff recognition awards, the current New Life Fellowship, the Socrates Project and his vision for a “gymnatorium” which would facilitate multiple activities. Even more than that, his legacy is in the changed and enriched lives of the students he served. Please discover more of his encouraging and inspiring story at andrews.edu/stories. Thank you, Newton, for your example to all of us of how to live the Andrews values and enrich the stories of others.
Jennie A. Pineda
One of my favorite Bible stories is when Jesus fed thousands of people. There are a number of fascinating moments in this often-used children’s story. For instance, what Jesus was sharing was so remarkable that people would stick around in spite of the most basic logistical consideration being unresolved: how they will be fed. Then there was a sound thing. Jesus was speaking to such a large crowd without any sort of electronic amplification. Most preachers today not only want good audio support, they also have preferences as to what kind of microphone to use: lapel, over the ear, handheld, etc. Jesus spoke, and people could just hear him. Finally, this boy is inserted into the story. There are several things to point out even though he is only mentioned as a “boy with loaves and fish.” I wonder what the boy’s day started off like. Did he plan to be a significant character of an amazing story that would be shared for thousands of years? What instructions did his mother offer to position him to be ready to be helpful to the Teacher? We don’t know. All we know is that a need presented itself and this boy was available. Being available allowed God to shape his journey, multiply his gift and bless thousands of people! Ale Pineda found her way into my Andrews story because she made herself available to impact this community. In this recent Hispanic Heritage Month, she stepped up, filled in the gaps and persisted to ensure a meaningful experience that inspired others. She used her gifts, and God used her to shape our narrative and multiply the blessings to this campus community. I invite you to read Ale's story at andrews.edu/stories. Thank you, Ale, for allowing your story to be woven into our story by sharing your gifts.
Most people assume that distance education students are, well, studying at a distance, removed from campus by thousands of miles. Tanya Thomas is testimony to the fact that distance education students can be close by, members of our campus community.
Tanya is an online student working to complete an AS in general business with a Certificate in ministry (Christian discipleship) and a BA in religion. She also serves as administrative assistant to the chair of the Department of Public Health, Nutrition & Wellness, is one of the founding ambassadors for the Share Your Andrews Heart initiative, and has been helping to teach children’s Sabbath School at Pioneer Memorial Church.
While Tanya may study her online courses here in Berrien Springs, she shares two of the most important traits of most successful online students no matter where they are located—persistence and a firm belief in a better future. When Tanya shares her story, her words are infused with the spirit of the apostle Paul and built upon the firm belief that she can do all things through the Savior who strengthens her. God has provided her with strength to face the challenges of being a single parent. He has provided her with the skills to manage responsibilities at work, and He provides encouragement as she works on improving her education. Tanya knows who is the source of her strength and the promise of her future. I invite you to read Tanya’s story in Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories and be inspired by the evidence of God working in her life.
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