THE UNIVERSITY APARTMENT IS GETTING CRAZY.
The lights are dim and the music is blasting. People are shouting. Laughing.
“Hurry,” says one of the guys. “Get on it! On to the next one!”
It‘s a party in here, but not the kind you‘ll find on a typical college campus on a typical Friday night. Of course, these aren‘t your typical college students. About 15 minutes earlier, this same group of Azusa Pacific University students invaded the Stater Brothers across the street and bought 12 loaves of bread and several peanut butter and jelly jars. Yes, it’s definitely a party in here—a “Make some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches” kind of party.
MEET ANNELYSE HOWELL
The first thing you’ll notice about Annelyse Howell is her personality. Full of life and an intense sense of adventure (she ran a marathon last month), Annelyse radiates the kind of love that is willing to cook and surprise a friend on his birthday and plan social get-togethers so that everyone in her life can experience the same sense of life, adventure, and love she experienced. And these qualities all culminate to what she finds important: community.
MEET ART BAMFORD
I first met Art Bamford in my Biblical Greek class, and I thought to myself: Wow, this guy is really tall! And after a year of enduring parsing, figuring out sentence structures, and translating Greek, I learned that behind the confident and always-smiling giant of a man, Art seems to be a man with a never-ending source of witty comments and a man who enjoys comic books as much as I do (even analyzing them for social commentary; ask him about his thoughts on Captain America: Winter Soldier). And from the times I participated as a choir member at Fuller Theological Seminary’s All-Seminary Chapel, I got to see a soulful side of Art, a man who can take a guitar and play mean solos (ask him to play some of his originals).
SEVEN YEARS AGO, I RECEIVED A NEW BROTHER IN MY FAMILY.
No, my parents didn’t bring another child into the world. No, they didn’t adopt a child either. Rather, one day, this sports-obsessed fourteen-year-old boy named Michael Fances walked into my life and refused to leave despite everything I did to sabotage the relationship. I didn’t want a little brother then, but God knew I needed one, one born for adversity. And so Michael became the little brother I never had, a brother who stayed with me and by me despite my lack of patience, despite my insecurities, and despite my hurts and projections of anger towards him. I did a lot of growing up since then, but so did my little brother who grew up to become a twenty-one-year-old man, a Convivial Gentleman, and one of my best friends.
The ground is covered with white speckled dust, giving the false appearance of snow. It’s ash and it’s everywhere. I can’t get the smell of smoke off my nostrils. Just a couple miles away from Azusa Pacific University, a wildfire is burning through 1,709 acres of the foothills above Azusa and Glendora, California. The local fire department hasn’t issued a warning about the air quality in the area. Nevertheless, being outside just isn’t the wisest thing to do right now. But that doesn’t stop Paul Joung and me from doing an impromptu photo shoot around Bowles, his apartment complex.
Paul grabs his skateboard, places it on the ground, and then rides it down the sidewalk. Wanting to entertain me, he decides to show me a couple of riding tricks he recently learned. As he skates, swerving from left to right, the wheels of his skateboard hits an uneven protruding portion of the sidewalk and Paul is launched five feet into the air, landing on the lawn. He lies on his stomach, pausing for a moment and looks at me with a “Did I just do that?” face. Then, he rolls around the floor laughing at his misfortune. Yes, I am entertained. But that’s the thing about Paul Joung: amidst the bad, he is able to see the good. It is this quality of finding redemption in events and in people that initially drew me to him the day we first met. I’m glad some things just never change.
In 2009, John Vargas and Adrian Melgar (pictured below, left to right) met at LA Boxing where Adrian trained John. They quickly became good friends. Fast forward a few years and the two fostered their love for music into a trade, DJ’ing at several OC Clubs, including Heat Ultra Lounge, The Yost Theater, and Sutra.
I have gone to clubbing events where E-Woxx DJ’ed and the crowd just loves these beat wizards. They’ve got a certain charm and magic to them, able to captivate audiences with their beats. Not dancing after hearing their sound would be close to impossible. The duo are going to take over the OC clubbing scene. Just you wait! Check out their Facebook page for upcoming DJ’ing events: https://www.facebook.com/ewoxx247.
I HAVE A SWEET TOOTH AND THAT’S A DANGEROUS THING.
Because I’m always on the pursuit of trying delicious desserts, especially when they come from a different culture than mine. Europane is a bakery and cafe located in Pasadena, CA, and as the name suggests, promises to give you a little taste of Europe. I’ve never been to Europe, so I can’t quite verify if the taste is accurate. However, I can tell you, my sweet tooth was satisfied. And by asking other patrons who have traveled to Europe (I’m jealous), Europane did a good job.
AS THE NEPHEW OF SEVERAL PASTORS, THE LAST THING I WANTED TO DO WAS GO TO SEMINARY!
I didn’t want to be some kind of legacy or self-fulfilling prophecy after years of being told that I had the potential of being a pastor. I wanted to carve my own path in life. So after graduating UCLA, I said, “See you later God. I’m doing my own thing.” Three years passed by, and I found myself back at the place I was running away from. A regular ol’ Jonah, as my friends would call me. Yeah, funny how God works.
The Same Song, Just Better
Just a week before 2013 ended, a friend of mine noticed something about me that had become quite apparent. “Gio, you don’t write anymore. I haven’t seen any of your writing in so long. Wasn’t it one of your 2013 resolutions?” Of course, he was correct. I lost my desire to write. Maybe, just maybe, because I was too busy living out my life rather than taking time to sit down and write about it. Somewhere in 2013 I lost the drive.