Un-belonging

My journey with God begins with the story of my family. The trajectory of our family life made a significant turn 31 years ago when my parents and sisters packed up and moved from Korea to Peru, South America. We went from being an average Korean family to becoming a Korean-Peruvian missionary family. During a time before the Internet and when smoking was still allowed on planes, they moved without knowing a single person in Peru, with a Bible in one hand and a dictionary in the other. God did not miss a beat, though, having prepared people – strangers … Read More

A Life of Service

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” (Matthew 25:23) While this scripture was referenced in the parable of the talents, the same could be applied to Ben and Bonnie Ramirez. There was no challenge they accepted that they did not perform to the utmost. Bonnie served faithfully until her death last November, and Ben continues to serve today, although tempered by physical limitations. You probably know them best from their years of faithful service to the Sunrise Bookstore for a combined 22 years. Indeed, … Read More

Rites of Passage

It is much harder when you feel like you are doing it alone. As infants, there is an adult to care for all your needs. When you reach elementary school your parents are still very involved and you are starting to make friends who walk the journey of life with you. But when you reach Middle School there is a fierce independent streak that comes out in all of us. “I can do it, Mom.” “I don’t need your help, Dad.” “I’m not a little kid anymore; I know what I’m doing.” The tension is that middle schoolers may be … Read More

Finding Family

Hi! My name is Rachel Rodeheaver and I attend the Valley Center campus of PazNaz. I currently work in Sports Medicine at Azusa Pacific University (APU) as an athletic trainer with the football and track teams while I study to earn my Master’s Degree in Leadership. The people of Valley Center have been a tremendous blessing in my life. When I moved to Azusa after graduating from Olivet Nazarene University in the summer of 2015, I didn’t know anyone. I church hopped throughout the fall of my first football season working at APU, never quite finding a place that felt … Read More

Say Hello to Dan Doctorian

These words are what I was accustomed to hearing as the son of Rev. Samuel Doctorian. My father was an evangelist who preached in 132 countries over his 62-year ministry. When we traveled with him, we knew to be ready to have him call us up to the pulpit – even when we were as young as 10 years old. I grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, with three brothers and a sister. Together, we would often travel around the world with my parents to be part of my father’s evangelistic meetings. My mother was a wonderful support to him, as … Read More

The Best Buddies

The year was 2010. The time was 5:00 pm on a Saturday evening in January. The place was the Parker Gymnasium at PazNaz. The event was Upward Wheels, a brand new ministry that sprung out of a desire to provide a place for the PazNaz Upward Director’s son to experience basketball. This was no ordinary basketball league. It had been adapted and geared for players who needed modified hoops, basketballs, and even a modified game. These players needed a buddy to push their wheelchairs around the court and assist them with making baskets, blocking their opponents, and having a sports … Read More

Say Hello to Daniel Ramos

You may have been there before: your alarm clock wakes you to a question echoing around in your brain. Throughout your morning, you try to take care of the tasks you need to accomplish, but you can’t fully focus on these things. Try as you might, you have no idea what time that upcoming PazNaz event starts! During lunch, you decide to head over to PazNaz to find out the answer and free yourself from this burden. After parking your car, you move toward the PazNaz offices with your question burning in the back of your mind. If only there … Read More

From Bored to Floored

My husband, Brandon, and I moved to Los Angeles in the fall of 2012. I was eight months pregnant with our first child and we had just moved away from all of our family to a place where we knew no one. After struggling to find a church we landed at PazNaz in February of 2014. Although we were eager to quickly get plugged in, we had a really hard time finding where we fit. Growing up as pastors kids in small Nazarene churches we knew that in order to find our place in a large church like PazNaz we … Read More

Smiles and Blankets

Helping Hands is a PazNaz ministry that provides food and clothing for an average of 80 families each Wednesday, including 12 homeless friends. Cathy VanderLaan shares her experiences volunteering with Helping Hands: I first met John (not his real name), one of our homeless friends, a couple of years ago when I started working at Helping Hands. I had noticed that some people have a hard time dealing with the homeless, but I don’t have this problem, so I found myself volunteering to work with them. When I introduced myself to John, I said, “Hi, I’m Cathy. I’m taking over … Read More

God’s Gentle Push

My name is Elizabeth Olivarez and I am 16 years old. I was born and raised in Glendale, California, but my family and I moved to Encino approximately three years ago. I live with both my parents, my brother who is one year older than I am, and my two dogs. For roughly the past twelve months, I have been developing a strong passion to share God’s love with others. God brought me to this place by revealing himself to me through people and showing me in his perfect ways that I can trust him. My youth leaders at Armenian … Read More