Here at Biola, we have an annual tradition that you might not find at most other schools. Each year, about a week before the students start arriving on campus, Biola’s faculty gathers together for several days to worship, pray and discuss the upcoming academic year. It is really an amazing time of preparation for what will take place in the classrooms in the coming semester. Most students never know that this kind of preparation has gone into their educational experience, but will nonetheless feel that unique Biola “soul” that comes out from the hearts of faculty into the classroom throughout the year.
This year’s opening week was special in that several gifted alumni were brought back each day to share what God is doing in their lives and ministry, and to reflect on the faculty and staff who poured into their lives while they were here as students. The first alumnus to share was Larry Acosta, CEO of Kidworks, Inc., a barrio-based ministry in Santa Ana, Calif. Larry shared a little of his own testimony of having been raised in a very poor and abusive environment, coming to Christ through the ministry of Awana Clubs, and really growing in his faith and realizing his value as a follower of Christ through Biola and our faculty and staff. What an encouraging message for all of us here!
Over the next few sessions with our faculty, one graduate after another spoke about how God was using their training in missions work, in business, in media, in a water ministry for Africa, and through music and the arts. To a person, every former student named specific faculty and staff who had reached into their lives and encouraged, mentored and helped prepare them for the future ministry that God would have for them.
I was reminded as I listened of how many of our faculty could be making two or three times their salary in a secular position, could be receiving accolades in more public forums, or could be in other universities writing more and mentoring less. But, they are choosing to be here, and ministering to and loving our students in such wonderful ways.
The focus on loving students starts early for Biola faculty. In fact, during their interview with the president, every potential faculty member faces a question that plays an important role in determining whether or not they will be hired: “How will our students know that you love them?”
Did you feel that love, care and concern as a student at Biola from a faculty or staff member? If you did, I would encourage you to tell that faculty member how much you appreciated that influence in their life. If you were like Larry Acosta, it may have been the first time that you found worth and value and the confidence to know that God had gifted you in very unique ways. Why don’t you tell that person how much they meant to you and how God used them in your life?
If you aren’t sure how to contact them, send them a note or e-mail by way of the alumni office and we will forward the note along. And, we would love to hear your stories as well. Send us a copy, and if you approve, we might use them in a future issue of Biola Magazine.
I was blessed by faculty, teachers and pastors that spoke into my life and the lives of my family to prepare us for a lifetime of ministry, and I am thankful. How about you?
To send a note to Rick or to have a note forwarded to a faculty member who made a difference in your life, contact email@example.com or send correspondence to Alumni Office, Attn: Rick Bee, Biola University, 13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, CA 90639.