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 like home and very much lacking community. I am a Nazarene pastor’s kid and had really hoped to attend a church within the denomination. When I returned from Christmas break to begin the spring semester, I found Valley Center online and decided that I would give it a try. After just my first Sunday there, I knew I had found my church home. I was welcomed by numerous people, I heard the Gospel preached, and I could visibly see the ways in which the people of this church love one another, love the Lord, and love “the least of these.”

As I continued to attend Valley Center, Pastor Joe Halbert and his wonderful wife, Cindy, invited me and the other young adults in the congregation to come to their house on Monday nights for a home cooked meal and fellowship (and to do my laundry). Monday nights at the Halberts’ became something I looked forward to every week! Not only did these nights give me the chance to get to know and love my pastor’s family, I also gained some solid Christian friends my own age and that has been a huge blessing for me.

One of the things that I love about Valley Center is the compassionate heart of its people. Just as I was welcomed in and loved upon, the people of Valley Center hope to share the love of Jesus with those who need it most. One of the ways that this will happen in the future is through the Young Adult Ministries helping out with the Nazarene efforts on skid row. I very much look forward to becoming a part of this ministry opportunity and sharing the love of Jesus the way it has been faithfully shared with me. God is working at Valley Center and I am excited for what he has in store!

– Rachel Rodeheaver

While it looks like a small church from the outside, Valley Center is full of warm, welcoming hearts and an environment that feels like family.

Hi, my name is Hailey Wiest! I am currently a graduate student at Azusa Pacific University studying leadership development. I am also a graduate intern athletic trainer at APU and work with the women’s volleyball and softball teams. I am from Washington state and have lived there my whole life until moving to California in July 2016. I graduated from Washington State University (WSU) in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training. While in my program, my favorite rotations were working at Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) in Lewiston, Idaho with their baseball team, and working football at WSU for my senior year. One of my favorite experiences through my undergraduate career was being able to help work the NAIA Baseball World Series in 2015 and 2016, as well as seeing LCSC win the title both years! I love hiking, being outdoors, and going on adventures. I also love watching baseball and football, especially at the collegiate level.

Moving to California and attending/working at APU has helped me build wonderful relationships and allowed me to grow closer to God each and every day. From the moment I moved down here I was welcomed with open arms and I knew this was where I was supposed to be. I was introduced to Valley Center through Rachel Rodeheaver, Torrey Halbert, and the Halbert family. Finding a church to call home was especially important to me and after attending Valley Center for the first few Sundays I was in California helped me realize I found exactly that. While it looks like a small church from the outside, Valley Center is full of warm, welcoming hearts and an environment that feels like family. One of my favorite parts about Valley Center is having the opportunity to meet with other young adults and go on different adventures. My favorite so far has been the weekly dinners at the Halberts’ home. It feels like I’m at home when I spend time with them: eating dinner, laughing, watching a movie or show, and just hanging out. Even when I miss home, I know that I will always have family here with my great roommates and an amazing church family.

– Hailey Wiest

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