But in her senior year of high school, Meleca stunned her parents by making the choice to attend Biola rather than the state school they’d picked out for her.
“When I told them that I might be going to Biola and studying intercultural studies, they were like, ‘What’s that? Does that deal with diplomacy?’ The question was what I was going to do after I graduate. And actually, I don’t know. But I wouldn’t change anything.”
Meleca, who is in her third year as a resident assistant in Hart Hall, has found in Biola a place where she can understand what it means to be Christian in an honest, vulnerable community.
“I feel so known here,” she said, “even in my brokenness.”
For Meleca, the appeal of Christianity has always been the idea of being truly known in a community—where it is OK to ask questions, talk about uncomfortable things and not feel threatened. Whether she is leading a campus-wide women’s ministry (“The Beloved”) or walking with the girls on her floor during both bad times and good, Meleca is passionate about facilitating communities where people are known, both to themselves and to each other. She believes that Christianity is the only thing that offers us a vocabulary to express what we are really feeling, to be honest about who we really are.
“We’re a superficial Facebook generation, afraid to ask questions or go deeper,” she said. “We’re a culture of hiding, and Christianity is about shedding light on the dark areas in our lives.”