Following a week of mourning, Pacific Union College students, faculty, and staff gathered together daily for student week of prayer, held April 4-9. Typically, the annual event launches spring quarter, a time of renewal and celebration. However, this time, the campus assembled together for support and healing. And for six days, student speakers spoke from their hearts to share personal testimony on the theme “Home.”
Every quarter, the college hosts a week of prayer event, but the spring week of prayer is particularly meaningful as it features students rather than a guest speaker. Students are given the opportunity to courageously share intimate testimonies of their walk with God in hopes of rejuvenating the spiritual life on campus. This year’s speakers were Eunice Lee, Tim Patten, Alma Musvosvi, Paul Chung, Chris Dorsey, Sacha Samuels, George Tuyu, Madison Brown, Paula Martella, Kevin Galeano, and Robell Nyirendah.
Special staging was designed for the event. Armchairs, a couch, a bed, and even a working refrigerator created a “home” on the church platform. “Home,” by the Planetshakers, was chosen as the week’s theme song which the PUC praise team led the congregation in singing at each meeting.
A highlight of the event was the mid-week testimony by Sacha Samuel, a senior communication major. Samuel’s talk was a deeply personal account of her struggles with epilepsy. She talked about being plagued by seizures up until she was 14. The doctors told her she would probably grow out of her seizures by the time she was 21. When she turned 20 and was officially seizure free for six years, Samuel and her family believed God was helping her. However, when she suffered another seizure during the winter quarter of her junior year, Samuel said her faith was shattered. “I felt like such an insignificant person. God is supposed to know who I am: He is supposed to love me. He is supposed to protect me … At that point I started losing my faith.”
Samuel continued by referencing Mark 8:22, the parable where Jesus heals a blind man. Sacha noted in the Bible, this man was only referred to as a “blind man” and was never actually given an identity: “This man had no name,” she said. “At that point, when I had another seizure, I felt like I had no name. I felt like I meant nothing to God.” Samuel also noticed it took Jesus two times to heal this man, and cleverly concluded her message on the note of all of humanities second healing saying, “Our second healing is the day He comes — when He comes to get us.”
Throughout the week, all 11 student speakers heroically took the pulpit, making themselves vulnerable before their peers and teachers. Each shared little pieces of themselves and their experiences for the glory of God. The speakers’ transparency in their struggles with God helped students realize doubt and hardship are a normal part of the faith process, and these hard times will change each of us into something beautiful when He comes back to get us and take us home.
After the tragic loss recently of one of PUC’s very own, Fen Pan, this week of prayer was exactly what PUC needed, to breathe some life back into campus.