Advancement

"And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others."

2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV)

Changed Lives: Meet Our Students

When you give to the Corban Fund, you provide scholarships for many of the students attending Corban University. Your gift not only impacts the lives of these students, but also has a global impact as Corban students and alumni go out into the world to make a difference for Jesus Christ.


 

Chico Guerra: living a façade to living with authentic faith

“Cheeks, you’ve got to read this.”

Chico Guerra’s best friend Westley Coleman handed him a bible with an open page one day as high school students.

The bible was opened to Matthew 6 when readers are encouraged not to be anxious: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

It made sense to Chico. And it was good news that came at just the right time.

“I was always thinking, ‘I’m just so done with all this,’ then Wes came into my life – Jesus came into my life,” he remembers. Chico remembers that his life was “crumbling. “There was so much bitterness between my friends and life at home was very difficult with my mother warning us that we were going to be homeless.”

Chico met Westley in third grade but at the moment of sharing the gospel with Chico, years later, Westley was extremely different.

“Westley had just gotten back from some church camp with another friend and invited me to go to the beach,” Chico remembers. “The moment I saw him, I realized he was entirely filled with this crazy joy but I didn’t know where he had it. He told me everything he knew about Jesus – and he barely knew anything.”

Chico heard enough to know he wanted to experience the same joy. Though Westley and Chico stayed in touch, they were apart for a few years after Westley moved. Chico was left with peers who put negative peer pressure on him to appear a certain way.

“I had to put on a façade with the wealthy kids,” he remembers. “I put on a façade. I dressed nice, acted cool with what they did, had to be funny. My goal was to do whatever it took to be the popular guy. I guess I was successful in that.”

Chico recalls a consistent pounding on his heart to change.

“I know now it was the holy spirit telling me when things were wrong,” he said.

God was using the “scripture of the day” verses his dad would text him.

“I usually just pushed them aside after reading them, but yeah, I liked them,” he said.

“I went to church with my dad the following Sunday and it was so crazy – here’s me, the guy who used to make fun of people who prayed at flag poles and went to youth group, raising my hands and worshiping.”

The sun was beaming from the small skyview on the ceiling right on Chico.

“It’s pretty cheesy but God’s allowed to be cheesy, right,” he laughs.

Chico decided he needed more evidence to be confident in God. Westley would spend the night often and while the pair admits they should have been doing homework, they would stay up late studying on apologetic websites.

“I grew more and more confident that Jesus is really who He says he is,” he said. “I cut off negative relationships in my life and I began to follow Jesus.”

The interesting thing is Chico did become the popular guy he wanted to be.

“People actually wanted to know what had changed me. I told them, ‘It’s Jesus. You’ve got to know about Him.’ I began to host bible studies even though I knew nothing about hermeneutics. I just wanted people to know about God.”

Let’s fast forward to graduation:

Chico signed a letter of intent to play soccer at Corban after scholarships and financial assistance swooped in giving him the confidence to attend Corban. This was especially exciting as Chico became the first of his family to attend college and was eager to attend bible classes as a new Christian. Westley also signed to play soccer with Corban.

Fast forward another four years:

Chico and Westley are a well-known dynamic duo at Corban. They will both graduate with Business Accounting degrees in May. They have also both had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Corban’s Ambex program in Germany and have served in a variety of mission trips and volunteer and leadership roles.   

Chico’s mom is a believer in Christ and “God has so obviously been working in every area of my life,” he said. Though Chico’s heart is in missions, he is glad he is graduating with an accounting degree as it will help him began a business or non-profit, or save financially for a life of mission work.

“Corban has been such an amazing place for me to grow, especially having been a younger Christian when I enrolled,” he said. “Having a community where people are truly seeking and desiring God was so new to me. Professors are serious about discipleship, my friends want to help me grow spiritually, my classes taught me to think critically and passionately about scripture – all the details of Corban have made an incredible impact on my life.”

A favorite memory of Chico’s was when he and his guy friends’ hanging out became a confession and prayer night.

“It wasn’t planned. We got together, played some music, talked about memories and out of nowhere people started confessing and reassuring each other that they’re not alone.”

“We were saying, ‘Don’t be afraid. We’re in this together.’”

The best of Corban, in Chico’s opinion, is the community – “but it’s what you make of it,” he clarifies.

“You can come to school here and just go to the bible classes and know the answers. You can use a class or people as your faith but when you truly find a group of people who really seek Jesus and get vulnerable with them, that changes everything. I know that when I fall, because of the people I have in my life, it won’t be hard to get back up.”

 

Jade Pham 

A true overcomer: 
Jade Pham turns personal hardships into passions for social justice   
 
 
 
Corban senior Jade Pham was born without hope of a decent education. 
 
Her Vietnamese parents fell in love at a refugee camp in Hong Kong. They were among thousands that relocated escaping the political turmoil from the Vietnam War. After being granted political asylum, the couple and their two daughters moved to Hawaii. 
 
“I was two years old when my family left everything they knew and fled to the United States,” Jade remembers. “As newly uneducated immigrants, my parents struggled to provide a better future for their children as they worked low-income jobs, learned an unfamiliar language and attempted to adapt to a culture much different from their own.” 
 
Growing up, Jade endured intense adversity. 
 
“Though my parents worked long hours, we were only able to make ends meet by living on subsidized housing, food-stamps and government welfare,” she said.
 
Pain continued through her childhood. 
 
“I was traumatized by certain experiences but didn’t know who to talk to or how to talk about it. My dad was physically abusive to my mom, who had a gambling addiction. The relentless fighting between my parents caused them to deviate their attention away from their children.” 
 
“Once verbal arguments turned into physical encounters, I was placed in a domestic abuse shelter for two months,” she remembers. “I felt insecure and out of my place my entire childhood.” 
 
Jade searched for her identity in her pride and what others thought about her. 
 
“Entering adolescence, I spiraled into a darkness controlled by drugs and alcohol,” she said. “My self-worth continued to deteriorate as I spent many sleepless nights weeping and contemplating to end my life. I didn’t believe my life served a purpose or that I could have any value in this world.”
 
But God stepped in. 
 
Jade first committed her life to Jesus at a youth camp her public high school math teacher told his students about. She just wanted to get away from home but God ended up intervening in her life in a powerful way. 
 
“I didn’t grow up in a Christian home and never really knew anything about Jesus or what He did on the cross for me. Regardless, God reached down to me at my lowest point,” she remembers. “And my faith in Him continues to provide hope, even in the bleakest of situations.” 
 
“I realize my life has a bigger purpose than my scars. Regardless of the cards life dealt me, I now understand it is possible to be more than what society expects of me. My motivation to make a brighter future for myself and for God and truly make a difference in the lives of others has never been greater. It’s awesome to look back and be like hey, I’ve been on this faith journey for four and a half years now. What’s next, Lord?” 
 
Today, Jade is one of Corban’s most prestigious students as one of the political science program’s McLaran Scholars and the recipient of the Beyond Adversity LSAT prep award. She continues to impress academically and leads in Corban’s dorm community as a Resident Assistant. 
 
“Coming into Corban, I felt so underqualified but I’ve learned to trust that He can use me to serve the community,” she said. 
 
Enrolling at Corban for Jade was the beginning of learning the theological beliefs that are the foundation of her faith. Through the McLaran Scholar Program and a variety of financial doors, God provided her way to Corban. 
 
“If we’re being honest, I never saw myself leaving Hawaii,” she said. “However, God happened. He opened the door for Corban through awesome people and overwhelming scholarship awards.” 
 
The unique relationships students build at Corban with professors and peers is the defining detail to how Corban has affected Jade. 
 
“Corban has prepared me to make a difference and has given me incredible relationships,” she said. “I’ve deepened my relationship with the Lord because of my relationships around me that challenge me.” 
 
A favorite memory for Jade was studying abroad in Germany with Corban’s AMBEX program. 
 
“During worship on a Sunday, all of us American students were standing and singing with German Christians and God broke me as powerful as he did when I first believed,” she said. “I was totally in awe of God’s handiwork all across the world. These Christians didn’t speak the same language as me, didn’t have the same culture and yet they worshipped the same God.” 
 
During her time as a student, Jade has also served in Thailand and Hawaii with Anti-Human Trafficking ministries – a cause that she is specifically passionate about and hopes to work in after graduation. 
 
“My experiences created a passion within me to release young women from the bonds of human slavery,” she said. “My aspiration is to lead these victims to a life of hope and joy.” 
 
The post-grad goal is simple – to work in the non-profit sector with an organization that lines up with her vision to make the world a better place. 
 
“It is evident our world is flawed, however it is within each of us to decide whether to be passive or to be the change the world needs,” she said. 
 
“Through opportunities at Corban, I have been able to gain the knowledge and skills essential to make a positive impact on the world. My education will enable me to fashion my ambitions for global cooperation that will contribute change.”
 
Yesterday, she had no hope for a decent education. Today – on campus, locally, and nationally – Jade makes a difference. 
 
 
 

Mikaela’s Story

Women’s Ministry student Mikaela Hines considered attending Corban University when she graduated from high school, but decided to pursue graphic design at Seattle Pacific University instead. Within her first year of school, she realized that she was neither a city girl, nor a career graphic designer. After taking an 18-month break to reflect and pray on her next move, she felt called to pursue a degree in Christian formation and counseling.

Corban’s solid ministry program and tightknit community initially drew her to the university. But it was an academic scholarship that made it possible for her to transfer to Corban.

“The Corban difference is the atmosphere of kindness here,” she says. “It’s welcoming; like a safe haven. Some people view that as inconsistent with the ‘real world,’ but I think it’s the perfect foundation for students to develop the tools to share our culture of compassion with the world.”

Mikaela was unexpectedly offered the opportunity to serve as a resident advisor (R.A.) during her second year, and she jumped at the prospect. This has given her the perfect opportunity to counsel and mentor the freshman girls in her hall, as well as grow in her own ability to build relationships.

“Here at Corban I am surrounded by people who are encouraging me to grow in my faith. This is especially true of the R.A. leadership team,” she says. “They encourage us to think deeply about ourselves, where we’re at and how we’re impacting others. I’ve gained a lot of perspective when it comes to ministry and living an intentional life.”

Give Online