Melissa Moore: Finding My Voice through “Faith Hope Love”
Although the decade after graduating from Azusa Pacific University didn’t go exactly according to plan, Melissa (Dowdy) Moore ’11 is living her dream. Moore is the host of the “Faith Hope Love” show on Spirit Radio in Visalia, Calif. “I dreamed of being on the radio as a kid, but I never thought it could actually happen. I was a bit of a nerd and lacked the courage necessary,” she said. “It was only over time that God gave me the opportunities—many of which were at APU—to slowly build my confidence, to trust in Him that whatever He called me to, He would make happen.”
Originally from Cambria, Calif., Moore attended church as a child, but it wasn’t until high school that her faith became her own. “One day it just hit me that this isn’t just a book to read or songs to sing on Sunday, God cares intimately about me. I was starting to look at schools and I chose APU because God was central. I knew I could grow in my faith and character there.”
Moore found her community at APU, thriving in different areas across campus. During her freshman year, she joined Bel Canto and had an amazing time performing on tour. As a sophomore, she studied abroad in South Africa. “It really took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to learn about God in new ways. Seeing different perspectives and forms of worship taught me that I had so much to learn,” Moore said. “A church there even asked me to preach, which was a life changing experience.” As a junior, Moore served as a resident advisor (RA) in Adams Hall and a research and teacher’s assistant (TA) in the Department of Psychology, leading her to broaden her horizons, before graduating a semester early with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Biblical Studies.
Following graduation, Moore began a job at a local church and later went back to school for a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) at Western Seminary. “I was about halfway through the program when my husband, Chris, and I experienced tremendous loss,” she said. “We had three miscarriages back-to-back. I thought I had been through grief before, but that just hit me differently.” Moore questioned what God was doing in her life.
As part of her recovery, Moore stopped pursuing her MFT, ending up with a Diploma in Pastoral Care to Women instead. “God was pulling me in a different direction. I was able to use my gifts of counsel and connecting with the hearts of women,” she said. Moore began speaking to groups of women about her grief, before delving into other topics. She enjoyed speaking, but was forced to pivot when the pandemic struck. One of her friends had suggested starting a podcast a year earlier, but Moore had dismissed the idea at the time. “Then I was stuck at home bored because of COVID. I needed to do something. I decided to take my friend’s suggestion.” For the show, she reached out to a few publishers and started receiving author interviews. “I got to talk with Joana Weaver and Suzanne Stabile—these were bucket list authors for me,” she said. “I had many friends supporting me, listening to the show. It was nice to see the impact it was having.”
About a year later, Moore got a call from a producer at Spirit Radio, who wanted to turn her podcast into a radio show. She accepted the position and has hosted “Faith Hope Love” weekdays from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. since the beginning of 2022. “My biggest goal for my show is for people to know how God loves them. If we can fully embrace the unconditional, unmerited, incredible love God has for us, it can change our lives,” she said. “I’ve seen it happen for me personally. I went through so much in my 20s that I never thought I’d have to endure, but God’s love pulled me through and gave me hope for the future.”
Although she’s living her dream now, there were many challenging moments along the way. “There were a few times I almost quit. I was afraid,” Moore said. “I found that when you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone, even when you’re terrified and there’s no guarantee of success, God shows up. He has a plan.” Moore gained the tools she needed to step out in faith through her collegiate experience. “Being an RA, a TA, presenting research, performing on stage, sharing my faith in South Africa—all of these things helped me build the confidence I needed to succeed,” she said. “I can honestly say that I wouldn't be who I am or where I am today without APU.”
Posted: August 31, 2022