“My father was raised Catholic and my mother was raised Adventist. I was born into the Adventist church but was also baptized in the Catholic church as a baby. I did not start keeping the Sabbath regularly until I started the fifth grade at San Diego Academy. It was there that I fostered my belief in Jesus Christ and in Adventism. Since the 5th grade I was repeatedly shown God’s love and kindness through the people of the Adventist church.
When I started college I began to see the divisions in our church and I began to understand the problems within it, and it was discouraging, especially as a young aspiring female minister. After my journey through college I completed my BA in Theology from Southern Adventist University, and I can honestly say I have chosen to remain Adventist because of the community of people I have met in our church. No, none of them have been perfect, but most of them shown me love, kindness and most of all grace. When I would mess up, or do something really bad, instead of being condemned they embraced me with forgiveness and reward instead, and that’s when it finally clicked for me. The grace they showed me was so overwhelming- that’s just a little bit of what Christ has done for us.
I’ve seen Jesus in the people of Adventism. Not perfection, but broken people who have shown me love. Because of this, I will show others the same grace, love, and kindness I have been shown, in hope they see Jesus through me too. I believe in being a follower of Jesus first and being an Adventist comes second, because this is the community in which I have experienced the one who it’s all about—Jesus.
One thing I’m really good at is accepting others just as they are. Something I’ve learned about myself is I can click with almost anybody. From the smart kid alone in the library to the extrovert in a cafeteria to the elderly person in a retirement home- we’ll click. The reason I say that is because I have friends in every type of friend circle- from gangs to conservative Christians- that have never left their bubble. I always try to understand people, where they come from, how they think, and why they think that way. I know all of us have a story and in that story is brokenness and hurt. From that brokenness stems our approach to life. By knowing that, I try to understand people and accept them for who they are. I’m very good at listening and I try to be very understanding and usually I am. Because of that, I’ve gained many friends from all walks of life. When I hear bad things of others, I know it’s because of a hurt past, and one’s actions don’t define them as a person. For example, a man who has cheated would almost automatically be labeled as ‘a cheater,’ but that’s a mistake they’ve made, not their identity. I try to look past the mistakes, the stereotypes, and the gossips and find who they really are, a person with a broken past in need of a friend. Because of this, I’ve found very beautiful people with very messy pasts, and that is all ok. Christ promises us that our mercies our new every morning. And if God forgives me and sees me new each morning, why can’t I do that for someone else?“