Education: Biola University, B.A., Intercultural Studies; CSULB, M.A., Linguistics/TESL.
At Biola since (as employee): July 2013
StrengthsFinder Top Five: Relator, Achiever, Focus, Learner, Discipline
What do you do in your job? I support and empower our “global” students—those who have spent a significant number of their developmental years in another country. They have unique needs and processes which we want to support during their Biola experience. Also, they have so much to offer to the Biola community in terms of global perspective and being a witness of Jesus Christ in the world. I help them “bridge” their experiences for their own personal growth, and the corporate growth of our community.
Five most influential books:
Genesis (the OT book)
East of Eden by Steinbeck
The Inner Voice of Love by Nouwen
Balkan Ghosts by Kaplan
James (the NT book)
Why are you at Biola? God has given me a desire and passion to help build global leaders for His kingdom. Biola provides a unique platform for global students to grow in their knowledge of themselves, the world, and their role in God’s kingdom.
A guilty pleasure: Chocolate covered pretzels
Your testimony (in 200 words or less): God took a shy, scared, and lonely girl and has transformed her by His love into a woman after His own heart.
If God put you completely in charge of creating Heaven, what would it be like? A diverse community living in harmony together.
What movie/TV/book have you seen in the last year that you wish all your friends could see? I would highly recommend David Smith’s (2009) “Learning from the Stranger”. The author encapsulates what it means to live in increasingly interconnected diverse communities. He unpacks Jesus’ call to love our neighbors as ourselves as a intercultural mandate to get out of our comfort zones and interact with our neighbors. Moreover, he encourages taking the posture of a “learner” rather that the typical American stance of the “teacher” to engage in equitable relationships. He claims that the humility and the hospitality of the good Samaritan can be contextualized in our day and age, for mutual spiritual benefit. A great spiritual formation book!
What is the most difficult choice you’ve ever had to make? In my 20’s I joined a church-planting team in Macedonia for a 3 year stint. It had been my dream for years to be involved in ministry in Macedonia, so I was thrilled. Yet, After just 3 weeks of being there, a civil war was declared in the country and all Americans were told to get out as soon as possible. As you can imagine, “civil war” and “evacuation” were not ideas that I had contemplated before arriving. It was a turbulent time. Yet, not wanting to return home so soon after arriving , I was forced to make a difficult decision- to move to neighboring Albania or Kosovo. Neither of those countries were high on my “desirable” list, but in the end I chose Kosovo. Thus, it became my home for the next 3 years as I joined another church planting team there. In the end, even though it was so difficult to lose my Macedonia dream, Kosovo became a place where I was able to grow in faith in the Lord, and share that faith with Kosovars as well. A small church has been birthed out of our experiences there…so well worth the pain!
What is the most risky thing you want to try doing? I want to do a Spiritual Pilgrimage from France to Portugal called El Camino de Santiago. It is a 5 week walk through the hills and towns of those countries, while visiting churches and historic places along the way. The only thing stopping me is money- I’m saving up for this now!
What are some things you are most thankful for in your life right now? Well, I can think of two amazing blessings in my life right now: This job! Love working with global students. Also, I recently bought my first house. Such an incredible adventure.
Last book you read? Recently I read an excellent historical novel called, “A Thousand Splendid Sons”. It is from the same author as the famous, “Kite Runner.” I would highly recommend it as an eye-opening account of the role and treatment of women in Afghanistan.
Brush with fame/celebrity? Well, I was on television in Kosovo. Does that count? Probably more significant are actually meeting celebrities. Here are two: I got to say “Hi” to Vince Vaungh when hiking in Hollywood- he was just like he is in movies- obnoxious and quick witted. Also, I made eye contact with Ryan Gosling while eating at a Middle Eastern hole-in-the-wall.
Favorite electronic device? New iPhone 5- it has revolutionized my life!
What do your friends say is your best quality? Different friends would say different things, but probably most of them would say “helpful”.
What natural talent do you wish you had? Telling jokes. Some people are just so naturally funny. I can never get the timing for punchline right.
What is your life theme song? I love the chorus for a Florence and the Machine song called, “Shake it Out”. It speaks of renovation of a graceless heart. Definitely what I want the Lord to continue to work in my life.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Absolutely not!
What is your definition of success? Do you consider yourself to be successful? Success means choosing to believe who God says you are, and not who the world says you are. It’s a daily battle!
What are some of the most inspirational places you have been? The parks in Hong Kong – not only were they incredibly beautiful, but they also had groups of people doing different forms of Tai Chi scattered throughout them. I could sit for hours and watch their calculated and synchronized movements…
Next, I would say Croatia, complete with its castles, wall-cities, warn-torn areas, and islands once inhabited by Marco Polo. It is incredibly unique and diverse.
Finally, state-side I would say Yosemite. There is nothing like hiking up Vernal Falls at sunset, the water from the falls hitting the rocks and drenching you from head to toe, while creating multiple rainbows all around. God’s creation on glorious display.