Led by Ivy Javaluyas, the Director of Student Affairs


“Our topic for today is new beginnings. No matter what we’re going through in life, know that there is always hope for a better tomorrow,” Javaluyas said, “Even as an institution, whatever we go through, God will always be there for us.”

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.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

“One of the lessons that I have learned growing up is if I’m going through crap, it’s because God is trying to give me fertilizer. If God is giving me fertilizer, that means He’s trying to make me bear fruit,” said Pastor Johnson, the Co-founder of AUHS, “If you want to see really good fruit, then you need really good fertilizer. You need manure, not chemical fertilizer. You need really good organic manure. Organic manure can come from people, it can come from circumstances, and it can come from different directions.”

The most powerful organic manure you have comes from situations that you did not anticipate, according to Pastor Johnson. Sometimes an unexpected downfall, failure, or tragedy is what you need to motivate and propel you to the next level. Those are the kind of situations that God uses to take us to the highest point.

“If my mother and little brother had not died, I would not have been born again. If I hadn’t lost everything, I would not have been born again. I would not have met my wife (Dr. Dang) and I would not be sitting here today. So God is Good. His plans for us are bigger and better than anything we can ever imagine.”

Dr. Caroll Ryan, the President of AUHS, agreed with Pastor Johnson that we sometimes need to be put in a negative situation in order to achieve and personal and spiritual growth.

“Sometimes the change needs to be propelled by the negative because if we’re comfortable, we just stand still,” Dr. Ryan said, “If we’re sitting comfortably, we don’t change, we don’t grow, we don’t explore, and we don’t reach beyond ourselves. We just exist.”

Dr. Kim Dang (Hon.) shared how her house was “tented” for fumigation and was concerned about her plants. She had a rare and beautiful bougainvillea that she had for eight years. She asked the fumigator if her plant was going to die.

“I knew that my plant was going to die before I even asked him,” Dr. Dang said, “Most of the time we already know what the answer is but we do it anyway.”

The fumigator told Dr. Dang, “As long as you water it a lot the day before, soak it, and do whatever you need to do to make sure that the water goes deep down into the roots, then it’s going to survive.” Dr. Dang took his advice and she “literally drowned it” with water.

“After the fumigation, the tent was removed and my plant looked dead. But the old leaves had to die for the new leaves to spring up,” Dr. Dang said, “When I started to see life, I went out and bought fertilizer. The point being is that I had to ask for advice first. There are some things we know that’s just not good for us but we just do it anyway, pretending that we don’t know any better.”

Before we do something that will cause us harm, always turn to God for guidance.

“Ask God for advice and He will open another door for us so that we will not be drowned in our mess. The fumigator told me to water the plant and if I didn’t ask, I wouldn’t have known any better, and my plant would have died,” Dr. Dang said, “My plan is eight years old and I cannot get it in that color anymore. Now it’s blooming great and it’s even more alive!”

1 Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

“It ties right into the fact that sometimes we do have to suffer, sometimes we do have to feel less than comfortable in order to be born again, in order to be called to a greater purpose under God,” said Dr. Ryan, “And as quickly as we can get to feeling restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established, then we are likely to suffer a little more and be called into a greater challenge and to keep on growing. No matter what we’re going through today, there is a brighter tomorrow.”

God does not put you through a situation that He does not think you can handle or grow from.

“It seems like everyone goes through trials and tribulations but when you think about it, it’s all really part of God’s plan. He’s the only one who really knows when and why you are going through this,” said Brian Cuffey, an AUHS maintenance man, “That’s when it’s time for you to sit there and grow because that’s exactly what He wants you to do.”

Personal and spiritual growth not only has to do with your circumstances but your perspective on life.

“We pray to God to change our circumstances but a lot of the times your circumstances have not changed, you changed,” Dr. Dang said, “You changed so your circumstances looks different now than it did before. When you go to God for help, He gives us the opportunity to change ourselves so that our circumstances do not seem so bad anymore, the problem does not seem so great anymore, and we have more peace. We look at our situation differently because put our faith and trust in God.”

About American University of Health Sciences

AUHS is a Christian based, minority-serving university, which educates students for careers in the healthcare professions. AUHS emphasizes the values of faith in God, love of humankind, and belief that all people have a right to healthcare and deserve a good quality of life based on wellness of body, mind and spirit. The university celebrates diversity, and reaches out to groups currently underrepresented in healthcare and research. AUHS provides the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, hands-on practical training and supportive environment required to create competent and compassionate healthcare professionals.

American University of Health Sciences is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510.748.9001.

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