Recently, the Office of the Campus Pastors welcomed two new staff members. Coba Canales ’05 (M.Div. in progress) and Grace Kim, M.Div., now serve APU’s students as assistant campus pastors. Here’s a chance to learn a little about them.
What is your role in the Office of the Campus Pastors?
Canales: I meet with students who need to talk through emotional distress, family concerns, relationship issues, or any other needs the student body has individually. Sometimes, students’ stress levels go through the roof during finals, and they want someone to go to for prayer, good advice, support, or helping with decisions. Adding my and Grace’s positions allows students talk to someone more quickly.
Kim: I’m the assistant campus pastor of community care. I provide pastoral counseling when students come by to discuss future directions, spirituality, emotional stressors, community concerns, and even financial concerns.
What do you hope to bring to students as a part of the campus pastors team?
Canales: I hope to bring encouragement overall. I hope to bring more faith and trust in God, and a general spiritual direction for students so they might know how to start taking some steps toward owning their faith.
Kim: I would like to bring students hope. A lot of the time they feel discouraged and disappointed about their life situations. I’d like to keep their perspective open to God’s direction. God has something for every one of us. So whatever we’re facing today is not the very end—there’s always hope, or a godly plan that we don’t understand. I want to bring encouragement, and hope and trust in God.
Why do you do what you do?
Canales: My passion is to encourage people, particularly young people, to see what happens when they put Christ at the center of their lives. That’s been the driving force in my life, and the center behind who I am and what I do. I feel like there’s really no other way that will bring true satisfaction and will allow people to live out their purpose than to serve Christ.
Kim: It is really meaningful to walk with a person on this Christian journey. We only know what we do according to our own age level, intellectual development, and spiritual development. So I want to be a part of students’ lives, hoping to open a door to help them see beyond who they are—to see who they are through God’s eyes. This is the Good News: Jesus is Savior, Messiah, Deliverer. He loves you and wants to meet with you. All these wonderful messages are what the Gospel is about. It is rewarding to tell other people about this Good News.
Is there anything else students should know about you?
Canales: I love physical activities, like exercising, running, and hiking. My wife, Andrea, and I kayak together. I’m a pastor’s kid—my dad is the pastor of Mission Ebenezer Family Church, a bilingual church in Carson, California. I am also available to meet with students who would prefer to speak in Spanish.
Kim: I like reading books and watching movies. You would be surprised—I love action movies, especially Batman and Mission Impossible! I also love coffee, so if students want to have a talk and a cup of coffee, they should stop by.
For more information on Canales, Kim, and the rest of the campus pastors staff, visit the Office of the Campus Pastors website.