Hi, everybody! To help you get to know our team, we’ll be posting a short series where each team member will share a bit about themselves, as well as what drew them to serve in Malawi. This week, we have Richard, Amy, and Josephine!
Hi! My name is Richard, and I’m a rising senior studying Science and Public Health at UCLA. I enjoy exploring the outdoors, helping out my mom’s daycare, and trying new food places while meeting up with people. I grew up in a loving Christian home in the San Francisco Bay Area and came to know Christ in middle school. However, it wasn’t until my freshman year of college where, under the guidance of many patient, loving older brothers-in-Christ, I began to take my faith (and sin) more seriously. Through the years, God has been graciously changing my heart: from a heart that was narrowly focused on pursuing career, to a heart that wants to pursue and honor God. One such turning point was hearing Dr. Steve Lawson preach on Romans 11:36, where the Apostle Paul exhorts, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
I’m looking forward to this opportunity to serve the missionaries, their families, and the students in Malawi. Up until this year, I’ve always had excuses for not going on an STM trip; but in the past year, God has shown me that the Great Commission doesn’t stop in the comforts of my neighborhood—it extends to all nations! Praise God for this chance to honor Him in the context of His global church. Please be praying for our team, that we may constantly hold a high view of God as we strive to be humble servants, just as John 3:30 says “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Hi Everyone! My name is Amy Junus and I’ll be entering my 3rd year at UCLA this upcoming Fall. I’m currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Psychological Biology (a.k.a. Psycho-Bio), with the hopes of continuing my education to become a nurse practitioner. The list of things that I love and enjoy is practically endless and seemingly randomly bizarre, but I will make an attempt to show you a bit of who I am. I love listening to and playing music (anything from Saint Saëns to Whitney Houston), standing in the freezing cold with a million layers on (so the wind bites at your face but your body stays warm), drinking boba with friends (I’m not picky as to what type), and standing at the edge of tall hills or mountains (to look over the edge at how beautiful everything is). Yet as much as I love everything I just mentioned, God softened my hardened, prideful, and sinful heart and gave me a heart of flesh that was repentant and eager to obey and love Him and His people more than anything else. In that moment, when I was a junior in high school, my Heavenly Father saved my soul and defined who I am as a child of God.
During the Spring quarter of my first year, Elliot randomly came up to me at Grace Community Church and asked me if I wanted to go to Malawi. Up until then I hadn’t really given much thought to going on a ministry trip or what ministry was, but through that encounter I found myself joining the CAPA home team. It was through my service in the CAPA home team and trying to answer challenging questions about our call to the Great Commission that God graciously grew my heart for missions and for the church in Malawi. When God provided the time to go this Summer, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m so very excited to meet and serve, in person, the people that have filled my prayers for the past year. I’m so excited to learn from the amazing missionaries that God has sent to support the church in Malawi. I’m so excited to see how God has grown the church in Malawi. Please pray that we would humbly be a source of encouragement and joy that are willing to serve in whatever ways the missionaries need and see best. May we take every opportunity to glorify God’s name and sing his praises with the global church in Malawi. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support so far!
Salutations! My name is Josephine, and I am a rising senior at UCLA. I enjoy making new friends, eating ice cream, making new friends while eating ice cream, large dogs (samoyeds and bernese mountain dogs are my favorite!!!), and engaging in activities that pump up my adrenaline (I went skydiving this summer and it was so much fun, hehe). Although I was raised in a Christian home, I did not acknowledge the wickedness of my own heart or my need for Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior until my first year of college. Despite the fact that my immediate family members are Christians, the hurt and brokenness that I felt from them (and I’m sure I gave off as well) caused me to resent and run away from the church for the first eighteen years of my life. However, praise God that through my pride and stubbornness, He nonetheless pursued me relentlessly, called me His own, and made me a new creation in Christ.
The word that immediately comes to mind when I think of Orange County, the area I grew up in since I was three years old, is comfortable. Comfort is a state that I catch myself gravitating towards in so many circumstances, and before hearing about the STM to Malawi, I genuinely thought that UCLA was an ideal and sufficient field for evangelism for me. This is because is there a large need, people are willing to converse, and of course, it’s an environment that I find very comfortable. When I first heard about the opportunity to go to Malawi, I did not really think twice of it because I was planning on taking a summer course and I wanted to rest a little bit before starting class again. However, I still prayed about it, not really considering it to be a possibility that I’d ever go. The Lord graciously revealed to me during this time of prayer that the Great Commission is not an option or something I am only called to do as a believer when it is convenient or comfortable; rather, it is a command that is meant to be obeyed out of the joyfulness of my own heart. The missionaries that we are going to serve in Malawi are so admirable to me. These people have submissively given up their careers, their communities, their whole lives, their comfort (are y’all catchin’ my drift here? Ok good because I didn’t italicize it five times for nothing), all for the sake of furthering the gospel. The mentality I had prior to joining the Malawi team confined God in so many ways. I did not realize how my desire for comfort created such a limiting perception of God, and it was by no means biblical. I want to go to Malawi because I want to respond to the love that the Lord has shown me through joyful obedience and a worshipful heart and have high expectations of the ways He will move. I desire to serve the missionary families in any capacity that I can, and I am so excited to learn from them, as well as the seminary students my team will be interviewing. The condition of my heart that I strive for is not one that I will be able to accomplish on my own, though, so please be praying not only for my heart, but for each and every heart of the members on this team! Thank you all so much for your support; we would not be able to function as a unified body without your love and prayers. 🙂 ❤