International Voices: Grace Arrington ’26 Finds Community and Faith Through Uplifting Connections at APU

by Saundri Luippold

Grace Arrington ’26 exudes a passion for legacy. As the daughter of an Azusa Pacific University alumnus, Arrington strives to pave her own path through her college experience, embrace her Chinese heritage, and continue to grow in her faith.

Arrington’s father, Christopher, served in the Army for 26 years and earned his MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at APU in 2010. He and his wife, who was also in the army for four years, adopted Arrington when she was 12 months old from Jiangxi, China, a few years before retiring and moving to Beijing. Growing up, Arrington spoke both Mandarin and English, gaining exposure to various walks of life, as her family would visit relatives in the U.S. during the summer. Traveling with her two siblings and exploring different parts of the world offered Arrington a broad perspective of others. She cherishes her Chinese heritage as a vital part of who she is. Her mom, Aminta, wrote a book about their journey across cultures, called Home is a Roof Over a Pig.

Living in Beijing and Tai’an, Arrington developed a love for traditions, such as celebrating Chinese New Year, and savoring the unique spices and flavors that make up her favorite foods. She also garnered an understanding of the values that embody Chinese culture. “People in China are very decisive and have plans for what they’re doing and where they want to go,” she said.

When deciding where to attend college, Arrington sought a diverse community where she could express her Asian culture and cultivate friendships with others who felt the same way. Scholarships from APU, along with the university’s friendly and inviting environment led her to follow in her father’s footsteps. Arrington is studying communication management. She enjoys learning a wide range of skills that are applicable in many career paths. Her dream is to become a flight attendant in order to see more of the world. She trusts that God will lead her where she is meant to be.

Arrington’s time at APU has been full of pivotal moments for her growth, especially as a Christian.

“I’ve learned that you should express yourself no matter where you are, and the people who accept you are meant to be in your life.”

Connecting with international students in the Third Culture Kids club (TCK) has offered her a community of individuals who share similar experiences and uplift each others’ stories. Participating in events, such as APU’s annual lu’au, have drawn Arrington closer to the people who enjoy learning about other cultures as much as she does.

Last spring, Arrington was baptized after a Thursday night chapel. Her faith has increased through prayer and community, as she has worked on her spiritual life with those who also seek to learn more about their relationship with Christ. She is going on a Global Engagement trip this summer to serve in children’s ministry in South Korea to continue pursuing God’s calling for her life.

Between staying connected to her family and friends in China and around the globe, cultivating new friendships at APU, and anticipating all the joy and opportunities to come in the future through her studies and goals, Arrington embodies what it means to build a legacy. She celebrates her family’s positive impact in her life, honors her Chinese culture, and is grounded in God’s plan for her life to lead her wherever her heart will shine.

Saundri Luippold ’25 is a public relations intern in the Division of Strategic Communication and Engagement. Saundri is double majoring in Honors Humanities and English with a minor in Spanish. She serves as head copy editor of APU's literary journal, The West Wind, and writes on her personal blog, New Romanticism.