Chasing Waterfalls

Back home in Hilo, Hawaii, I would describe my life as a pond. It was comfortable, safe, but still. Now, distilled water is not bad water, but water that sits too long becomes unfit for drinking, thus ruining perfectly fine water. I did not want to become bad water, so I started to flow into a river by moving to Minnesota and attended the University of Northwestern at St. Paul.

As the days rolled by at UNW, my education widened, my physically abilities strengthened, and my faith became my own. My river was growing wider and flowing faster. Although my river was quite the  improvement from my pond back home, I needed to take the next defining step in my growth. My river needed to go over the cliff of uncertainty into what God had in store for me next, my river needed to become a waterfall. I took the leap and transferred to APU. 

Making the decision to transfer can be the most unsettling yet thrilling experience, it holds all the excitement and nerves as jumping off a waterfall. Here you are, in a new scene with a fresh start. “But Ricky! What about needing to catch up on classes? What about making new friends?” Steadfast fellow transfers! God holds you close, trust Him as you make that leap over the falls. Seek Him and wether you are in Hawaii, Minnesota, or California; He will use your surroundings to help you grow into a powerful river flowing for His glory. I am excited to share the course in which my river takes over this upcoming school year and to grow with you.

- Ricky K

Back to the basics

Hey Everyone!
It’s Mike L. again, back to blog from this summer and now I am also back to share about what I like to call the basics. The freshman dorms is what I like to consider the basics and do not get me fooled for some crazy senior guy trying to relive his freshman year because I am here in a very different role and already learning so many new things with only a month down into school.

I am back in Smith Hall, the all male freshman dorm, where I lived my freshman year to serve as a Resident Advisor and to aid new students in their transition to APU life. This past month has been filled with chaos in all the best ways. The new students have been amazing and it has been such a blessing to get to know them all more while hanging out at some pretty awesome events. Whether it is dodgeball, hall dinner, or hanging out with a different hall on campus, it has continued to impress me how willing this class is to step out of their comfort zone in this transition. They have been making this first month a blast and challenging me everyday.

Even in this familiar atmosphere I have been realizing I still have so much to learn especially now as a senior. This is why I say it has been good to get back to basics to remember how far I have come since my own freshman year. Getting back to the community and support of fellow brothers to help build me up into what God is calling me to be has been exactly what I needed for this season. I couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity and can’t wait to carry out the remainder of the year with these guys.

Blessings to you all and talk to you next time!

- Mike L

'You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.' Surround yourself with people who are doing interesting things, who are thinking interesting thoughts, who challenge you to be better, and who come from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences.”

-John Rohn and Alexix Ohanian

Lazily thumbing through a Sky Mall magazine, I stumbled upon the quote from above. My eyes heavy from a short nap at 30,000 feet left me disoriented when an overly polite flight attendant asked if I wanted sugar with my coffee. Sitting on a plane alone is a funny thing. With elbows touching and earphones in, minimal half smiles and small talk fill the time from one destination to another with strangers. With just a matter of minutes until descent, I rubbed my eyes and took a deep breath.

Memories flooded my mind of moments with my friends from APU, friends whom I now consider my family. As I landed in SMF after an adventurous sophomore year, I thought of my friends who scattered around the country to their respective zip codes, as they do at the end of every school year. FaceTime calls and catch-ups texts just don’t cut it; the countdown begins until we see each other again. Belly laughs, tearful conversations, late night adventures, and dreams happen when I’m with my friends. I love them, and they love me. That is what friendship is, and that is what I have found here. 

I had a solid group of friends in high school… I was nervous coming to APU wondering if I would make friends that were comparable to the caliber of relationships that I had at home. Let me tell you, I have. Everyday I wake up so thankful for the people in my life, and the ways that they shape me, challenge me, encourage me, cry with me, and overall make me a better human. We have traveled the world together- to Tanzania, Korea, and South Africa. We have pulled all-nighters together, we have become roommates, we have walked beside one another through break-ups and new relationships. I have BEST friends. Best friends who see me for me and ask me the tough questions. Best friends who I will walk through life with post-graduation, and that is something special.

The laughter in the photos above is honest laughter; those people make my heart happy. My peeps are the ones whom I want to surround myself with. I know they will be in my life forever, and I thank God everyday for who they are.

-Ryan F

Hello beautiful world! I could not be more thrilled to talk life with you, and share my experiences here at the happiest place on earth in the sunny town of Azusa, CA, {despite Disney World claims}, called Azusa Pacific University. 

Just a handful of fun tidbits to introduce myself…

1. With loving regards to my Pacific Northwest roots from Seattle, Washington, I contain affinities for the smell of rain, evergreen trees, and snow capped mountain tops.

2. I have immense reckless wanderlust and a spirit for adventure. An open road, 4 feet of fresh powder, a Polaroid camera, a new waxed board, perfect swells, breathtaking views, reliable Chacos, 85 degree summers and out-of-this-world winters make my heart beat a little faster.

3. I believe talks of Jesus and a good cup of coffee is a beautiful recipe for a perfect morning.

4. I admire C. S. Lewis incredibly and deeply revere all his work. There is so much wisdom in his words.

5. I am creatively-minded and love to design. You can catch me doodling on napkins or decorating envelopes often. Photography is a big passion of mine; I love to capture the beauty of this world through a single lens. 

6. I’m a lover of hemp cord, shallow depth of field, mason jars, starry skies, Young Life, pesto-topped foods, stringed lights, fun headbands, Mumford and Sons, hammocks, warm fires, beach nights, Bob Goff, and paper flags.

7. I have a heart for people, and a heart for the Lord. I strive to love others harder and love God even deeper.

With a new skip in my step and brand new everything, I couldn’t be more excited for freshman year at this wonderful school and be able to call this place my home.

New. There are so many “New”s. New friends, new living quarters, new environment, new adaptations, new climate, new professors, new chapter of our lives. Never have so many “news” filled so many “old”.

College is the ultimate adventure, filled with so much unexpectedness and brand new experiences. And I am so ready. I knew coming here was such a God-thing; he wanted me to thrive with a new beautiful setting and find community with beautiful people. APU is such a special place. Even in just my short time here, the incredible atmosphere and people have left such a lasting impression that will go unmatched.  There is so much more to come and endless fun in store, but for now, I leave you with prayers and blessings in whatever adventure you are currently on right now.

I am so ready to embark on this {new} adventure with {new} people and make this place my {new} home.

Blessings in Him,

-Jena P.

Hello again friends,

As I’m entering my second season at Azusa Pacific, I can honestly say I am overwhelmed. Now I know that the word overwhelmed comes with a plethora of negative connotations accompanied with the thought of exhaustion and stress. Although some of that is true, this feeling of being overwhelmed is something that I have embraced and have come to love.

So far this year has brought such a beautiful mix of familiarity and the unknown. Coming back to APU after being away for three months was the best homecoming, but things are just… different than last year. This year feels like going to your favorite restaurant and ordering something different. It still tastes good. It’s just different. I enter this year in a new living area, a new job, and a new leadership position. So although I have come back home to a place so familiar, everything is new. It still feels good. It’s just different.

I know that God has prepared me for this moment, that’s why I have come to embrace and love the feeling of being overwhelmed with all of this newness. In everything that is new, I see God’s hand working in it.

He is going to do some spectacular things with me this year and I cannot wait to share it all again with you.

Here’s to year two!

- Lucy F

4th time is the charm. 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters. Wherever you call me, take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior. 

Hello there! They often say that the 3rd time is the charm but lets be honest, the fourth time around is probably the best! My name is Jackie, and this is my senior year at APU. I am originally from the Bay Area. I love to travel, I am an avid concert goer, a photographer in the making and I love going on adventures that lead me somewhere I’ve never been to. I am on my last leg as a psychology major and leadership minor; getting to this point has not been the easiest journey but it was been worth the challenge. You may ask, what does she want to do after graduation? To be honest, I have no idea! And that is okay because I know God will lead me somewhere I never thought about, a little bit like how I ended up at APU. 

As I enter one of my last midterm seasons of undergrad I cannot help feeling bit nostalgic. 4 years ago, I followed God to where he led me and didn’t look back. To say that APU changed my life is an understatement. Here I have found a community of friends, mentors and faculty that consistently pour into my soul. My faith has been challenged in ways that I did not think were possible, and it continues to grow everyday I am on this campus. I have been forever transformed and I have transformed the lives of those around me. 

Every time I go home to the Bay Area, I can’t help but miss this sunny place that has been my home for the past four years. It still feels like it was yesterday that I was walking into my freshman dorm and meeting the people that I now call friends. I am so excited to share this last leg of my crazy APU journey with you and I cannot wait see what is in store for the rest of senior year.  So hang tight and come with me on this adventure. 

-Jackie B. 

Sometimes you don’t realize what you need until you have it.

This weekend for me was filled with rest, rejuvenation and re-kindling.

Every now and again, a change of scenery paired with a change of pace is necessary. I had the opportunity to spend this weekend with my best friends from APU, in a cabin on Lake Arrowhead.

Spending time in the most picturesque location, with the highest caliber of friendships, reminded me of how faithful God is. God met me where I was at, and provided for me in just the ways I needed. The weekend was filled with necessary and true rest, laughter-filled games, carefree kayaking, home-cooked meals, and encouraging conversation.

I am learning to savor each moment fully, because there is such richness in the present. Rather than spreading myself thin, I am learning to pause and not allow days to pass me by. Time inevitably seems to go by so quickly, but in creating space to rest and to practice thankfulness, my eyes are open wide to the beauty that is all encompassing in my surroundings.

 Take time to simply be,

- Kristen P

Get to Know Me
Hello and welcome! I’m honored that you’re taking time out of your day to learn about me. My name is Shawn and I’m very blessed to be able to have this opportunity of showing you the APU experience. 
I originate from a little place in California called the Bay Area, you may have heard of it. I’m a history major with the ultimate goal of becoming a history teacher; but I constantly battle with the thought of changing my major to one of my other interests. I love all things art and animals, especially dogs, photography, and dog photography; my main passion is being an extremely poor dancer. I’m only joking of course, I’m a phenomenal dancer. My actual passion is bringing joy and making the people around me laugh. Aside from my love of humor, I have a great love for my Lord Jesus, hence the reason I’m here at APU. 
I’ve come to love the community of brothers and sisters found here in Azusa, and feel overjoyed to be able to call it my new home. The acceptance that I’ve received from my peers has been phenomenal and abundant and I can’t thank the Lord enough for that. I know that my time here will be full of exploration and self-realization. 
I hope that you can really get a feel for what APU is within my writing this year, and that you can see what it has to offer. I look forward to showing you the college world through my eyes and journeying with you together through this blog!
Be seeing you,
- Shawn T

Get to Know Me

Hello and welcome! I’m honored that you’re taking time out of your day to learn about me. My name is Shawn and I’m very blessed to be able to have this opportunity of showing you the APU experience.

I originate from a little place in California called the Bay Area, you may have heard of it. I’m a history major with the ultimate goal of becoming a history teacher; but I constantly battle with the thought of changing my major to one of my other interests. I love all things art and animals, especially dogs, photography, and dog photography; my main passion is being an extremely poor dancer. I’m only joking of course, I’m a phenomenal dancer. My actual passion is bringing joy and making the people around me laugh. Aside from my love of humor, I have a great love for my Lord Jesus, hence the reason I’m here at APU.

I’ve come to love the community of brothers and sisters found here in Azusa, and feel overjoyed to be able to call it my new home. The acceptance that I’ve received from my peers has been phenomenal and abundant and I can’t thank the Lord enough for that. I know that my time here will be full of exploration and self-realization.

I hope that you can really get a feel for what APU is within my writing this year, and that you can see what it has to offer. I look forward to showing you the college world through my eyes and journeying with you together through this blog!

Be seeing you,

- Shawn T

     Hello! My name is Millie and I would like to introduce myself. I am currently a Liberal Studies major as I want become an elementary school teacher, however, my love for writing and literature has tempted me to change it to English. Wherever I end up, I am positive I want to teach and I know that APU has the resources to help me in this decision. 

     I knew I was going to attend APU after touring it my Junior year in high school. I toured the school reluctantly because I thought it was too close to my home in Orange County, but after visiting the campus, I was sure it was where my future would be. The vibe and community here is like nothing I have experienced anywhere else. Everyone here has the same passion to grow in their relationship with both God and with others. This school highly emphasizes belonging and what that looks like as a community.

     I love to seek adventure in the ordinary. Whether it be hiking, exploring new cities, or just finding something to do on campus, I strongly believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have already had such great adventures since my arrival and I look forward to sharing them with you! 

     - Millie R

          My name is Josephine and I am really bad at opening lines. I was born and raised in Southern California, specifically in good ol’ LA. My hobbies include traveling, reading, and blogging (duh). This is my sophomore year at APU and also my first official year as a Journalism major and Photography minor. Last year, I was convinced that I was supposed to be a business woman, but unfortunately that didn’t turn out so well. I’m more of a creative individual and I have a blog, so journalism was a good choice, right? I also grew up taking pictures of everything thanks to my lovely Aunt, so photography also seemed like a good fit. In case any of you wanted to know, I’m also a member of our university’s Handbell Choir, which is even dorkier than it sounds, but my goodness is it a blast. 

          This year, I have the amazing opportunity to be an Alpha Leader. For those of you who don’t know what an Alpha Leader is, we are the people who walk you through orientation and through the first ten weeks of your time here at APU. We host weekly meetings and take a class together called Beginnings which helps with your transition into college. I was here at school three weeks before the semester began to train for this position, but it was such a blast. One of those weeks, all 170 people that are a part of the Orientation and Transition Office (OAT) took a week long trip to San Francisco. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what went on during our secret mission to SF, but I can tell you that it changed me and helped me grow in my faith more than I expected it to. I expect to have loads of adventures with my Alphies (P.S. Alphies are the first year students I have taken under my wing), so be ready to hear all about them. 

          APU has become my home and my refuge. Even though I grew up a few miles down the freeway, I constantly craved being back at APU during the summer. The people here have helped shape me in a way that I never though possible. The amount of love that my friends and professors have poured into me is unreal and there is never a day where I feel as if I’m truly alone. 
- Josephine J

Who am I?

This seemingly simple question has been at the very root of my time here at APU. It is a question that everyone must grapple with, and sometimes, it feels as if the weight of it may crush you entirely. I’ve come to the conclusion through the help of my social work classes on human development, personal experience, and the knowledge of my peers, that this is normal. 
It’s actually more than just normal; this process is fundamental to our growth and development. I am a junior at APU this year, and I was recently reflecting on my freshman year with a professor I had in my first semester here, and have again now. He actually called me out after class to talk about my writing and challenge me to grow and develop some areas of myself academically that I had not thought about, and most certainly make me nervous. But this is just the thing; we need those around us to call us into our God-given identities, to push us and help us set high goals that we may be refined. 
APU was not actually in my plans when I was looking at colleges. But God led me here, and in that process, I have become more myself than I could have ever anticipated. I am forever grateful for the professors, classes, mentors, and friends here who have called out the gold in me and been gracious enough to walk with me through the process of so many questions and uncertainties. 
I encourage you to embrace the questions, uncertainties, scary thoughts and stressful moments—you never know what is on the other side! Be open to God changing your plans. Be open to those in your life who can call you into who God has made you to be! God loves the process, and He loves walking through it with us. 
-Cora J

Who am I?

This seemingly simple question has been at the very root of my time here at APU. It is a question that everyone must grapple with, and sometimes, it feels as if the weight of it may crush you entirely. I’ve come to the conclusion through the help of my social work classes on human development, personal experience, and the knowledge of my peers, that this is normal

It’s actually more than just normal; this process is fundamental to our growth and development. I am a junior at APU this year, and I was recently reflecting on my freshman year with a professor I had in my first semester here, and have again now. He actually called me out after class to talk about my writing and challenge me to grow and develop some areas of myself academically that I had not thought about, and most certainly make me nervous. But this is just the thing; we need those around us to call us into our God-given identities, to push us and help us set high goals that we may be refined. 

APU was not actually in my plans when I was looking at colleges. But God led me here, and in that process, I have become more myself than I could have ever anticipated. I am forever grateful for the professors, classes, mentors, and friends here who have called out the gold in me and been gracious enough to walk with me through the process of so many questions and uncertainties. 

I encourage you to embrace the questions, uncertainties, scary thoughts and stressful moments—you never know what is on the other side! Be open to God changing your plans. Be open to those in your life who can call you into who God has made you to be! God loves the process, and He loves walking through it with us. 

-Cora J

"All great achievements require time."
-Maya Angelou

The Changing of Seasons

Saying goodbye to my parents was hard. Two years ago my family and I stood on the curb outside of Smith Hall, my parent’s car packed… but this time I was not going home with them. With a deep breath and tears in his eyes, my dad embraced me and told me he was proud of me. Fanning herself in an attempt to not let the water works flow, my mom smiled at me and reminded me that she was crying because she was happy. Happy for the memories that were going to be made. Happy for the ways that my faith was going to be stretched. Happy for the life-long friends I was going to meet. Happy for the adventure I was about to embark on and the undeniable growth that I was about to undergo.

Let me tell you… all of those things are still happening. 

The minute my parents began their journey home, I began a journey of my own. College. When I sat on my target bed sheets in room 102 my freshmen year, I wondered “what now?”. Then and there I decided that I wanted to have an arms open mentality to my college experience. What I mean by that is I wanted to experience anything and everything I could… to move away from the safe harbor of comfort and truly liveLittle did I know the experiences that would unfold before me. APU has been a platform for me to already do and achieve more than I ever thought was possible. I chose APU three years ago, and I continue to choose APU everyday. With that said, change is not immediate, it takes time. It requires days of utter joy, and sometimes moments of doubt and confusion. Through and through I would not want to experience my change anywhere else. 

As you step into a new season of looking at colleges, consider what you want your degree to mean to you. APU encompassed what I wanted mine to be, and it continues to be that. Understand that achievement takes time, requires faith, and demands excellence.

Leave your arms open my friends. 

-Ryan F

Perhaps

Perhaps this is the moment you have been created for.

I have recently been contemplating the word perhapsPerhaps is indicative of great possibility, the brink of something beyond what we are able to currently comprehend.

As I continue to navigate what this year will entail, I am most excited to enter in, engage fully, and be surprised. Prior to coming to APU, I craved control and constantly held tightly onto relationships, titles and expectations. In reflecting on the ways I have been challenged in growth, I recognize that now I stand, with arms wide and heart abandonedopen to receiving whatever and whoever God may purposefully place in my life for such a time as this.

I am okay with not knowing, content without concrete answers and satisfied without solutions tied up in a bow. I have seen the beauty of wrestling with hard-to-digest truths and navigating through the struggle with people who are willing to sit in the silence, hold my hand and journey together amidst the unknown.

Wherever you find yourself, may you be challenged to remain, with hopeful expectation. To remain in uncertainty with arms open to possibility, though it may be uncomfortable— yet confident that God has begun a good work in you, and has you exactly where you ought to be. Perhaps He will surprise you, beyond what you could ever imagine.

May you find peace and grace as you remain,

-Kristen P

APU is big on traditions.

As a freshman RA (Resident Advisor), I have had the distinct privilege of participating and being in the forefront of many of APU’s widely held traditions. Within the freshman dorms, a big annual tradition is an evening filled with themed-dancing called: Street Meet.

At Street Meet, the RA’s of the various dorms dress up and perform a choreographed dance for the entire freshman class. This year, the theme for Street Meet was Dance Dance Evolution, where we went through the evolution of dance, starting in the 20’s and continuing through the 50’s, onto the 70’s and 80’s and finishing the evening with music and dancing from the 90’s to the 2000’s.

Leading up to Street Meet was filled with much anticipation, so it was thoroughly enjoyable performing and seeing the dance rehearsals pay off. The Residence Hall I am an RA in, Adams Hall, was assigned the decade of the 50’s; so my residents and I went thrifting the weekend prior to Street Meet, where we adventured and had the opportunity to be creative in orchestrating outfits corresponding to the 50’s. 

I have been recognizing how significant these little moments are in allowing others and myself to be silly, to go out of our comfort zone, and to appreciate and embrace memories that comprise experiences as a whole.

Enjoy your day friends,

-Kristen P

APU Take 3. 

I am very thankful that here at APU, chapel is a weekly requirement. I find that chapel becomes a place of refuge as I am able to set the chaos aside and focus on what matters the most; Jesus. On Friday, a pastor from Long Beach spoke on how we sometimes wait for God to do something in our lives or speak to us about the next step; but how it is in the going, the movement of our lives that He grows us, shapes us, and changes us. She encouraged us to not be afraid of the difficulties and impossibilities, but to reach out and let Him fill us, change us, and transform us. In the movement He gives us the next step, He never leaves us hanging, but sometimes we have to take steps forward into the unknown to hear the next direction, to further lean and trust in Him.  

Even though we are only a few weeks into the semester, I am already amazed that this is my third year here at APU. Already my semester is packed; I find myself having to schedule out all of my time, making good use of multiple calendars. I have already felt overwhelmed, intimidated, and tired… and it is only week 4! 

And so, I was able to be at peace and rest, knowing that God is with me. It is such a blessing and encouragement to be in a community where you are challenged and refreshed in your faith on a daily basis. I would encourage you to check out our chapel schedules (maybe even watch one online!) HERE

Blessings,

-Cora J