Seniors Share Reflections on Journey at PBA

Jennifer Stoltzfus, Campus Pastor Dr. Bernie Cueto and Ben Greco
Jennifer Stoltzfus, Campus Pastor Dr. Bernie Cueto and Ben Greco

Traveling to India last summer with a Palm Beach Atlantic University mission team was one of the most memorable times of senior Ben Greco’s years at PBA.

But what happened when the team got back was far more memorable, Greco said, speaking to the student body on Monday during the first day of senior week in chapel.

Greco’s teammate, junior Lauren Graham, was involved in a June 5 automobile crash in Hobe Sound. The impact left her in a coma for almost three weeks and hospitalized for more than two months.

At first, doctors said there was nothing they could do, Greco said. But then the doctors repeatedly revised their prognosis as Graham’s rapid recovery defied their expectations.

Tay Mazzola and Logan Thomas
Tay Mazzola and Logan Thomas

“We humans put limitations on her healing. God was faithful through it,” said Greco, who went to India twice with PBA teams and will graduate May 5 with a degree in Biblical and theological studies.

Greco and senior Jennifer Stoltzfus were the first of eight seniors chosen to share words of wisdom with fellow students in chapel over the course of four days. The speakers were chosen from a pool of more than 40 students nominated by deans, faculty and staff members.

Also chosen to speak were Logan Thomas, Tay Mazzola, Daniel Sumoza, Johnny Hedger, Michael Carey and Katie Runyon.

Thomas, a mathematics major who is also captain of the Sailfish baseball team, reminded students that God never promised that life on earth would be perfect.

Daniel Sumoza, Dr. Ken Mahanes and Johnny Hedger
Daniel Sumoza, Dr. Ken Mahanes and Johnny Hedger

When Thomas first arrived at PBA, “my ERA (earned-run average) was twice as high as my GPA,” he said.

Thomas added that in their time at PBA, students will get out of it what they put into it. “It is my prayer that you don’t miss out on what (God) has for you here,” he said.

Nursing student Katie Runyon used her time to speak about her own experiences with fear and disobedience. It is still a struggle even today, she said. Yet “it is in true obedience that you’re going to find so much joy, peace and happiness,” she said.

Cinema-television student Michael Carey called on students to do as author Donald Miller suggests and view their lives as a story that God is telling.

“Good stories aren’t made up of random mixtures of comings

and goings, and neither are people’s lives,” he said. “See what story God is trying to tell through you, and live it with all that you are and all that you have.”

Michael Carey and Katie Runyon
Michael Carey and Katie Runyon

Other thoughts from Senior Week speakers:

Johnny Hedger, communication major: “The way we perceive ourselves is not the way God perceives us. He sees the whole picture of who we are in Him.”

Tay Mazzola, double majoring in history and English: “We don’t have to figure God out. We don’t have to plot the course. He has already plotted it for us.”

Daniel Sumoza, international business major: Being plugged into a church is important, he said. Being at a Christian university like PBA can provide students with a family of believers, “but we must not confuse that with the church.”

Jennifer Stoltzfus, Biblical and theological studies major: “Life is going to happen, and it’s going to happen so fast. In a blink we’ll be standing before the throne, and nothing else will matter.”


Category Tag(s): 04/2012 General News