At Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) 97 percent of students receive some type of financial aid including scholarships. Scholarship opportunities, through the support of donors, have changed the lives of countless students.
One such student, Juan Rocha, a native of Valledupar, Colombia, moved to the United States in 2018 to pursue a career in music education. He attended Miami Dade College for a year, but he could not rid the longing he felt to go into ministry. After receiving a nudge to explore his options from close family friends in Florida, he decided to research different colleges where he could wholeheartedly seek a career in ministry.
Scholarships Confirm the call
PBA stood out to him immediately, and he applied in December of 2019. A few weeks later, he received a call from the admissions department that he was eligible for scholarship opportunities.
“That was confirmation that God was opening doors for me to attend PBA,” Rocha said. “Since then, God has always provided. He has always made a way for me to continue studying at PBA.”
He began classes in January 2020 and although his journey was certainly not an easy one, the support Rocha felt from professors was evident.
“I am an international student, but everyone still accepted and welcomed me. The faculty, especially in ministry, were so dedicated,” Rocha explained. “They cared not only for my education, but they also valued my personal life. I had teachers who became mentors to me, and they poured into my spiritual life.”
Equipped to Fulfill the call to a Career in Ministry
During the summer of 2021, Rocha’s decision to pursue full-time ministry was confirmed after a visit to his family in Colombia. His dad, who is a pastor in Colombia, asked him to teach a group of their pastors and church leaders.
“For me, that weekend in Columbia was a calling from God to teach,” he said. “My dream is to be able to help local churches and leaders who have a calling for ministry, but do not necessarily have the resources or time to study a professional career in theology. I believe that is what God is calling me to do after school.”
Rocha credits much of his success to the guidance and encouragement he has received from Pastor Bernie Cueto, PBA’s vice president for Spiritual Development, campus pastor and professor of Biblical and Theological Studies.
“What I have learned from him goes far beyond academic education,” Rocha explained. “He has shown me how to grow in my relationship with God, how to navigate through tough situations and how to trust God in the midst of whatever trial I am going through. He showed me that I could have all of the Biblical knowledge in the world, but it would not bring transformation to my life. Through him, I have learned that true transformation comes from a relationship with God.