“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.”- Stephen Covey.
American University of Health Sciences (AUHS) faculty and staff gathered the University Chapel to praise and worship God and to support and pray for their Christian brothers and sisters on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. This week’s Noonday Prayer was led by Cynthia Chambers, an AUHS Financial Aid Administrator.
“Change is a part of each day’s fabric- it is palpable, real and necessary. In order to grow in spirit we must each transition,” said Chambers, “We are promised that if we repent, we will be saved and have eternal salvation. Our spiritual journey is a quest where we set out to discover who we are and what God’s plan for us might be. We learn lessons along the way.”
Attendees sat in a circle and were given a list of passages from both the Old and New Testament of the Holy Bible. Each attendee took a turn to read each passage out loud and shared what each excerpt meant to him or her on a personal, professional and spiritual level.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this word: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Humans are imperfect and are bound to make mistakes. But life is a spiritual journey and we must learn from our mistakes in order to become closer to God.
“Sometimes if you are the one that is making a mistake, you might not know that what you are doing is wrong,” said Ivy Javaluyas, the AUHS Director of Student Affairs, “We need guidance from God and we need to pray that our minds and hearts will be transformed by the will of God.”
Chantal Jura, the AUHS Director of Affiliations and Development, took her mother and two daughter to a Catholic church for Ash Wednesday. She was touched by the priest’s sermon that day about Lent. (Lent is a period of fasting and abstinence between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is an observance of how Christ fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and was tempted by the devil).
“Oftentimes we think of fasting as giving up food, almost like a New Year’s resolution,” said Jura, “But the priest said, ‘Lent is a time of fasting from anger and to accept love. It is a time of fasting from sadness and to accept gratitude. It s a time of fasting from hate and to accept peace. So by the time that Easter comes, you are a better person.’”
Lent is a time of self-reflection and Jura realized that although she will make mistakes, it is not the end because God continues to shape and mold her every day. Life is a spiritual journey. Our constant change and transformation as Christians mirrors how AUHS is also evolving. It is important to embrace positive change.
“Do not stay where you are at, the world is in constant evolution and so are we. When God first made us, we were primitive, simple beings but even today, with all our advancements in medicine and technology, we are still in the process of being evolution,” said Aya Almukhtar, and AUHS Admissions Coordinator, “Evolve, become bigger, learn from your past mistakes, and become a better person, even in the university here.”
Almukhtar shared with the room how she is constantly trying to better serve and communicate with the university’s students. She and her department were becoming more proactive in reaching out to different schools and communities and share the opportunities AUHS had to offer.
Pastor Johnson, Co-founder of AUHS, said that our personal and spiritual evolution is to become like Christ.
“When Christ came down and the word became flesh, his time on Earth was temporary. He was here for a season to make a difference and then He went back to God. All of us are on that same journey,” said Pastor Johnson, “We do not belong here on Earth. This is not our world. This is a place where we’re visiting to make better, just like Christ came to make things better, before we return home to our Father.”
Pastor Johnson talked about how he was fascinated by the fact that children are innocent and have a God-like vision. Children are so innocent because they have just recently been with God. Children can see and believe in things that adults are unable to.
“Children were so close to God at a short period of time in coming into this Earth. For adults, because of the time we have spent here, there is all this pollution, noise and distractions that limits us and makes us forget who we are,” said Pastor Johnson, “We are sons and daughter of the most High God, we are the breath of God, God is in us.”
Proverbs 24:10 If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited.
Brian Cuffey, an AUHS Maintenance man, said that this bible verse reminded him of a time where he had to cut vines that had enveloped a wall.
“You know how vines sometimes take over and then it gets tangled up and the branches just seem to grow and get thicker and thicker? It gets kind of hard to cut,” Cuffey said, “I was at that point where I just did not want to do it because it was painful. But Pastor kept telling me, ‘Brian, just do it. The quicker you get it done, the better off it will be.’ Well, that is the same thing with God. When you do not have any strength, and you just do not feel like doing it, then He will give you the strength to get you through what you need to get through.”
Dr. Caroll Ryan, the President of AUHS, believed that true strength comes from unity.
“Our strength as a university comes from working together and drawing from our prayers to asking God to help us,” said Ryan, “Strength does not come opposing one another, fighting with one another and pointing fingers at one another. I am all about letting down walls and encouraging and supporting the relationships so we can become bigger than what we are.”
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
God’s plan for us has a time and season for everything in life.
“What we consider slow is actually not slow because God is giving you time to change your mind about the decisions you have made. You think God is not helping you quick enough but He knows what you are doing, He knows your beginning and He knows your end. God is just giving you the opportunity to turn around and change,” said Dr. Kim Dang (Hon.), the Founder of AUHS, “God does not want any of us to perish.”
Dr. Dang recalled how she and her husband, Pastor Johnson, first began AUHS. They wanted to buy a building on Atlantic street and turn it into a university. Dr. Dang and Pastor Johnson prayed and hoped that God would bless them with this building.
“Everyone guaranteed that we would get this building, they told us nobody wanted it and that we were going to get it at the price that we wanted. We prayed, we fasted, and guess what? It did not happen. Someone else wanted that building,” said Dr. Dang.
Dr. Dang and Pastor Johnson were disappointed. They said, “Why God? We did everything we were supposed to do? Why did this happen to us?”
However, Dr. Dang and Pastor Johnson soon realized that this setback was a blessing in disguise. The building they intended to purchase would have never become a school because it had no parking lot.
“The building we wanted to buy rented their parking lot. If we had gotten this building, then AUHS would not be where it is today,” said Dr. Dang, “At the time, we considered it as a let down but God was just trying to say, ‘Hey, I’m being patient towards you. You are an idiot. Don’t you know that building doesn’t have a parking lot?’”
Pastor Johnson interrupted Dr. Dang.
“Wait a minute. I wanted that building. I prayed on that building. I walked around that building with my bare feet for 6 days,” Pastor Johnson said.
Dr. Dang replied, “I’m pretty sure God looked down on you from the sky and said, ‘Dude, put your shoes back on. Go back home.’”
Pastor turned and explained to the room, “I walked around that building seven times on the seventh day, on my bare feet. I prayed in the middle of the day, while people were driving down the street, with my hands up to heaven saying, ‘Thank you,’ just like in Jericho. God had always given me what I wanted.”
Dr. Dang said, “Well, upstairs, God was saying, ‘Hey listen, I’m telling you if you put your shoes back on and go back home, I could have moved things a lot faster.’ I have prepared another building for you.”
Soon after, Dr. Dang and Pastor Johnson found another location for their university. The building was not officially for rent but Dr. Dang insisted that they call it’s real estate agent.
“The building had no sign on it. It was a restaurant that you (Dr. Dang) made me go inside of with no sign on it. You made me call the real estate agent with no sign on it and the real estate agent asked me, ‘Are you crazy? There’s no sign on it,’” Pastor Johnson said.
Dr. Dang replied, “But guess what? It was available and it had a parking lot!”
God is patient towards all of us. When God has something for you, it’s always going to be better than what you’ve dreamed of. If He does not give you what you want at the moment, He is preparing something for you down the road that will be ten times better that what you expected.
AUHS is a private, for-profit, minority owned, minority serving, Christian-based university whose mission is to educate and equip students with life careers and to produce quality health care professionals for the community, the nation, and the world. It is a university where appreciation of life and one’s spiritual reason for existence can be nurtured.
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