City Links 2011 was a great success! In total, 44 individuals or organizations participated in City Links by hosting student groups on Saturday, September 17, 24, and October 1st. Over 1250 first year students had the opportunity to serve and get to know their “home away from home”. The mission of of Azusa Pacific University is to develop disciples and scholars and in many ways, City Links has helped start our students on this journey.
Posts Tagged ‘Service’
Part of what we do in the Office of Ministry and Service is to mobilize students to serve in the local community. We offer 13 different ways for students to become directly connected to Azusa and Los Angeles through our office and each ministry as a Student Coordinator that works as a liason between MAS and the community partner to support them and students on campus. I’ve asked each Student Ministry Coordinator to write about their ministry sometime throughout the year to give us a picture of what each ministry is like.
This week – Tatiana Balcazar wants to share about her experience at Our Neighborhood Homework House. Tatiana is a Senior this year and majoring in International Business. She has been working at the Neighborhood Homework House as a volunteer for two years and is excited to be coordinating the ministry on campus this year. Some of her tutors have had a life-changing experience working at the Homework House and here’s one:
“One of my teens was beginning her senior year of high school when I stepped in as SMC [Student Ministry Coordinator]. I watched her struggle and stress over college applications and scholarship opportunities, and watched her cry when she was rejected by APU. But she never gave up. She retook the exams that she needed to get in, and she continued pushing and applying and working. I told her that if I could afford it, she could, and if I could get in, she could get in. To remember that tear-stained face breaks my heart, but I am pleased to say she was accepted to APU and accepted as an Azusa Scholar. Encouraging her and loving her through her pain and hard times was a privilege, and I will never be able to express how amazing it felt to witness her journey.” – Chelsea Burdick
To read about the Homework House and Brittany Fregoso, another tutor, click Our Neighborhood Homework House
The MAS office currently sends around 20 students each week to serve with the Homework House, but there is a need for more volunteers. If this story grabbed your attention and you want to partner with the Homework House – feel free to stop by our office and come see me or Tatiana and we’ll get you hooked up with a time to serve!
Hello! I am so excited to be a part of the Azusa Pacific family as a blogger this year! I graduated from APU with a degree in Theatre Arts and Communication studies in 2005. Since then, I’ve completed a Masters Degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and spent the past three years working as a full-time missionary for an organization based in South Africa. This summer, I was hired as the Program Coordinator in the Office of Ministry and Service and it’s been a blast being back! It definitely feels like coming home!
Part of my job involves mobilizing our students through social media – and mobilizing I hope to do. Throughout the year, I’ll be posting different things about the MAS office and the ministries we work with, as well as the different perspectives of our students in the office.
One of the funnest things we do each year is the Orientation Fair, which was held on September 14th. It was a chance for students, mostly Freshman and Transfers, to get to know our office and the different ministries we work with. Breanne Lamphere, one of our Administrative Assistants wanted to share her perspective on the day with you all. Here goes:
This previous week, APU welcomed over 1,000 first year, transfers and new students alike, to initiate them into the APU family. I had the opportunity to watch this whole process unfold when the ministry fair was prepared. I was able to pass out information on the Ministry and Service Office for students to unveil their passions for others. After the session, the students were invited on the walk to sign up for opportunities on campus and begin to develop their journey at APU. I stood at the MAS information table where I answered many questions regarding service credit requirements, ministry opportunities, and how to get involved. Even though the temperature that day was in the 100’s and just breathing took loads of energy, the students were still walking past the tables and signing their names to gain more information. This is my second year helping at this event and the intentionality of the students to follow their passions gets me excited. It’s that feeling I get when I see other people reveal how they want to serve God that keeps me motivated to do the same. After students started dwindling down, all the flyers were passed out, and sign in sheets were overflowing with signatures, the day ended. This day was just the beginning of my job. Every day I work, students come in with these questions about how to become involved. Countless e-mails are answered, reflections read, and experiences shared that impacted these students throughout the year. I am so blessed to be a part of this process.
Sincerely, MAS student Worker”
If you want to get technical, my run as an APU blogger ‘ended’ over four(ish) months ago when our summer break began. However, after the life changing eight weeks I spent this summer in Tanzania I felt that this post was entirely necessary after talking so much about this trip in my previous blogs.
I don’t really know where to begin, that seems to always be the toughest part about talking about a trip that had as big of an impact as this one had on me. I traveled to Tanzania (South-Eastern Africa) and spent two months there with a team put together by both the Office of World Missions and more importantly, God. (He hand picked this team perfectly, might I add.)
We spent about 5 weeks in Nkungi village where we did work assigned by the village leaders, taught at both a primary and secondary school, installed water filters, distributed food packets, built blocks for a teachers home at one of the primary schools, and loved like crazy on the beautiful kids that we spent endless time with.
Then we spent about 2 weeks in Singida Town where we worked at a childrens community center where food was distributed to the children that couldn’t afford it (in exchange for them being educated). We had the blessing of constructing a playground which was unheard of there and also repainted and fixing up the entire building. The other 1 week of the trip was spent in travel time and debriefing on a safari.
I think that the most present things that God taught me during that time was that (1) fears are petty when compared to life lessons that can be learned. We think our fears are justified, until God uses those fears to bring himself glory. (2) Statistics on poverty, lack of clean water, hiv/aids, prostitution, and disease are REAL, not only are their faces behind them but there are stories and names behind them. (3) Love and grace speak infinitely louder than words. Just because you can’t speak fluently in a language doesn’t mean your impact is less valid. (4) Stepping out of your comfort zone is always worth it. (5) The Holy Spirit is as as REAL and ALIVE as God and Jesus are, pray for the Holy Spirit to work through you because He most definitely desires to and WILL. (6) We cannot be strong and we cannot spread God’s perfect love without the power of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Seek it.
Basically, the point of this post is not to boast about what I was blessed enough to do this summer but rather to encourage you and to point the glory to God and let you know that He has great things in store for you! A year ago I would have never imagined that going into APU God would call me to this mission trip and this mission trip would lead to so many convictions and blessings. Trust God and trust that His plan is infinitely greater then your own. Allow your life to look differently then you thought it would.
Also, while I know that world mission trips are obviously not in God’s calling for everyone, I DO encourage you to seek out Focus International mission trips at APU and see if God is calling you to one. We are all called to be missionaries, some in their hometowns, some in Azusa, some in other states, and some globally. Seek out where God has called you as a missionary.
A side note: If you are a new freshmen at APU, WELCOME. I cannot explain my excitement to see so many new faces around campus and to finally have campus filled after 3 weeks of Alpha Leader Training! I encourage you to seek out ministry opportunities at APU and pour yourself into others. One of the greatest things about APU is being handed so many options to serve others and glorify Jesus Christ.
And if you are reading this blog as a prospective student, I encourage you to do the same, except where you are at. Google away and search opportunities to serve and love on others. Trust me when I say that it is worth every second. Bringing glory to God, and purpose and joy to yourself.
God bless you all.
Next weeks marks finals week, and the last week of my freshmen year of college. The days keep going by faster and as much as I am excited for what next year and my entire future will look like, I find myself wishing time would somehow go by slower.
So here marks my freshmen year in a nutshell:
Move-In day almost felt like it was straight out of a Hilary Duff movie (and I love Hilary Duff movies). Absolute madness, but one of the best days of my life. My stuff was moved in in no time and meeting my roommate was priceless.
My Alpha Group I met shortly after moving in and I had absolutely no idea what an alpha group even was. Come to find out, APU definitely prides itself on the whole Alpha experience, with a very good reason to. In the beginning, being with a group of 8 strangers was awkward (predictably), but by the end of Alpha I found myself wishing it would never end. Now I am going to be an Alpha Leader myself next year and could not be any more excited about it! It is one of the many ways that they help you transition easily to college life and meet new people you might not ordinarily meet.
Being an ambassador this year was the first commitment I made when I arrived at APU. It gave me the opportunity to host prospective students multiple times per year and be a part of All-Access weekends. It was such a blessing being able to see people fall in love with APU as I have. I cannot explain how many smiles and laughs I had during those weekends.
Being a part of Young Life first semester was an experience I will never forget. I made priceless friendships and was able to serve God in the most amazing way. It was a new opportunity for me to put myself out there and love on high schoolers that were open to the Gospel.
Then, as God led me to no longer be a part of Young Life He led me toward being a part of the Office of World Mission’s Focus International mission teams. I found out at the beginning of second semester I would be going to Tanzania. I cannot explain how much God has been real to me through being able to be a part of this mission team. It has been without a doubt, one of the biggest blessings of being here at APU and I haven’t even left for the trip yet (it is in three weeks, crazy!). I never in a million years thought I would ever be going to Africa, it was never in my plan. But I realized that almost everything I have been changed by at APU was not originally in my plan. God’s plan is so much greater.
My hall in Trinity, Fourth South has been a huge part of my experience at APU as well. I have made so many life-long friends and I have learned so much by being able to live on my own and be a part of such a great community.
Last, but definitely not least, the courses that I have taken at APU so far have honestly changed my perspective on education altogether. I have had professors that changed my life because they changed my perspective on things in ways I never knew possible. Also, being a graphic design major, I am finally able to take design and art classes and it has been so much fun! I cannot explain how great it feels to finally be able to be educated in what I love. Also, words cannot do justice for how great of a blessing it is being educated by Christian professors. Each class (yes, even p.e., math, english, etc.) works faith and Christianity into its curriculum, which is amazing.
I think that everyone that knows me would know how much I would attest to APU being the greatest decision I have ever made. This year has been a crazy whirlwind of a year, but I have grown so much as a person and as a follower of Christ that I wouldn’t change it for the world.
If I were to give advice to incoming students at APU it would be to put yourself out there and do things that you never planned on doing. Enjoy living in the dorm while it lasts, because if you make the most of that experience, it will be one of the best experiences of your life. Don’t stress out, be excited for this year to come. And whatever you do, during the school year even though school can be stressful and overwhelming don’t let it get you to the point where you stop enjoying being here. Going to college is not forced, it is a privilege. Be excited, because a year from now, your life will be so different! The way that the community works here, and the way that God is present here, is enough to change your life alone.
Lastly, I want to say THANK YOU to all my readers for taking the time to keep updated on my experience here at APU! I appreciate it more then you’ll ever know!! If you have any questions feel free to comment and I would love to answer you! God bless.
One more month of my freshmen year. The last time I will ever be a freshmen… in my life. Crazy. This year has seriously flown by faster then I ever thought it would. I feel like I just got here, move-in day seems like it was just yesterday. By far, it has been the best year of my life. I have met people that I can’t imagine living life without. I have met people that have inspired me, encouraged me, and shown me what it means to pursue Christ with all of your being. There are people that I can never repay for the way that they have poured into my life. I have grown as a person, and even more so I have grown in my relationship with God. The way I have experienced God while being here is extraordinary.
It is insane to think of how originally APU was not on my rater of colleges at all. I had a whole different plan, but this was God’s plan for me. And it is infinitely better then any other place I could have ended up. This is my home now, these people are like family. This community is like family. For some people, picking a college is all about the city your in, or the look of the campus, or how great their food is, or even how good the school name will look on your resume. While I would fare to say that there are so many schools that rank better at those things then APU, I would also fare to say that in terms of community and the people, APU ranks number one. I could never imagine myself anywhere else, surrounded by any other group of individuals.
Besides school ending next month, I have a little over one more month until I leave for my mission trip to Tanzania. It is surreal at this point. The way that God has opened doors for this trip, prepared me and equipped me personally for this trip, and bonded my team is just so amazing. It has been a true testimony to how God will get you somewhere if He really wants you there. God really wants me there. If I ended up at any other place, I would not be going on this mission trip in a month. And that in itself is just a weird thought. This mission trip IS where I am supposed to be, and APU got me here. I haven’t even been on the trip yet and I already cannot imagine my life without it.
One more month until I move out of the dorms. Oh boy, that’s going to be a sad day. I will miss spontaneous trips to ‘The Hat’ or ‘Donut Man’ or ‘In-N-Out.’ I will miss beach days with my hall and waking up at 3AM to pillow fights outside and girls screaming in the hall (I know, weird thing to miss right?). I will miss Monday night cramming into a room and watching The Bachelor. I will miss constantly having my door open and never being able to get homework done because people walk in every 2 seconds. I will miss moving my mattress into other rooms and having sleepovers. I will miss spontaneous dance parties and movie nights. I will miss getting ready for GYRAD and walking into the bathroom every morning to see the whole bathroom filled with girls getting ready. I will miss spending hours on end in the study room during finals, but never having a dull moment because there are 10 other girls studying in there too. I will miss never having to be alone, unless I choose to be. I will miss sitting out on Trinity Lawn doing homework on a beautiful sunny day. I will miss every single thing about living in the dorms, it was hands-down one of the greatest parts of my freshmen year. Some of the girls on my hall will be my friends for eternity (seriously).
But there are so many things to look forward to:
- I am going to be an ALPHA LEADER next year, which I could not be any more excited about. I am so blessed to be able to pour into the lives of incoming freshmen. I can only hope that I influence the lives of my “alphies” as my alpha leader influenced my own.
- Next year I will be living in an apartment with two of the girls on my hall. They are some of the most caring, encouraging, and fun girls I have ever met. I can’t wait.
- My schedule of classes for next semester…. THREE art classes. So stoked.
- Spring Semester I am planning on studying abroad (either South Africa, England, Italy, or London!)
- Much far into the future… my Junior year… I am going to pursue being an R.A. for the freshmen in the dorms.
If you are going to be a freshmen at APU next year I have one piece of advice for you… GET EXCITED. Your life will be changed and will look nothing like what it does right now (in a good way). You will grow, learn, experience things you never imagined you would, and make friendships that will last a lifetime. Looking back, I enjoyed high school, but college is a new level of enjoyment.
If you are not going to be a freshmen at APU next year, GET EXCITED ANYWAYS. Be in prayer about where God is leading you, be pursuing Him, and rejoice in all that you do have right now.