A Love Story and China: Part II
God has been in control of every aspect of my life. I believe God was leading me to Vanguard since my childhood. I was just 18 months old when my mother became a Christian at an Assembly of God church in Covilha, Portugal. I later studied Vocational Training at the Assemblies of God Bible Institute in Portugal. After graduating, I worked in ministry with the Portuguese Evangelical community in Paris, France. In May 2007, I met the Vanguard Singers & Band on their tour through Europe. Dr. James Melton and the group were seeing the sites of Paris on their time off. My senior pastor invited them to visit our church. Though that visit was not on their tour schedule, Dr. Melton and the Vanguard Singers & Band came to our church and stayed for 3 days.
In that short time, I was able to meet and get to know Vanguard students, Dr. Melton, and his staff. They really impacted my life! When I saw them using the gifts and talents that God gave them, it made me think about the purpose God had for my life. At the end of their concert, Dr. Melton suggested that I come to Vanguard University. I told him that I would definitely need scholarship assistance, and he encouraged me to pray and apply. I thought that it would be completely impossible for me to come, but in my heart I knew somehow that God was in on this. I witnessed a miracle as God provided Vanguard scholarships, sponsorship from churches in Europe, and divine courage to leave everything I knew to pursue God's leading in my life. What amazed me is that Vanguard had followed its own calling to meet my calling at the right time.
Scholarships had a very important role in me becoming a part of the Vanguard community. It would have been impossible for me to have achieved my Bachelor's degree without financial aid. My parents could not afford to help me, and as an international student, my visa had limitations in being able to work elsewhere. Therefore, I can honestly say that my degree from Vanguard is the result of the scholarships I received from the Vanguard Music department and from Norma M. Kearsley, who had in her heart the desire to help international students. For all of them, I am very grateful.
When I first came to Vanguard, I felt like it was a new world to me in every aspect. There was less variety of church ministries in Portugal, so I had a very narrow view of ministry. Vanguard became a place with great academics and the right environment for God to work in my life.
Vanguard is a place of opportunities. The first opportunity I had was to be a part of the University Concert Choir and visit different churches all over California. We even toured throughout the United States. The opportunity to minister to so many people had an enormous impact in my life. Second, and something that was very important to me, is that Vanguard did not consider me being an international student a limitations but looked at my talents to serve on-campus in many different ways. I worked on-campus as an international student advisor. My role was to help international students to fit in and decrease the cultural distance. This job was humbling because I went through a lot of cultural shock when I started at Vanguard and was now given the opportunity to help students like me feel welcomed into Vanguard's community.
I am very thankful to the faculty for investing in me. God blessed my life through many enlightening classes and equipped me to become the man God wants me to be. I am grateful for incredible professors that were available to talk with me beyond the classroom and mentor me in countless ways.
I was also a Campus worship leader for two years, and during my senior year I had the responsibility of coordinating all worship, sound, and media teams. In my time at Vanguard, I thank God for the opportunities to serve but most importantly, to be led by great leaders that believed in me and allowed me to challenge myself? and sometimes fail. Not everyone can do that for you.
Thanks to Vanguard, I was also able to meet Joanna Bogosian. We met for the first time in Paris, France in 2007 when she was a member of the Vanguard Singers & Band. After that summer tour, she moved to China to become an English teacher. I met her parents (without knowing that they were her parents) at a home Bible study group when I was a student at Vanguard in January of 2008. While Joanna was home for her school break, we grew to become close friends. I was amazed by the impact that Vanguard had in her life and how open she was to pursuing God's will in her life. Today, we are engaged to be married and fully committed to Christ's kingdom.
I am now living in a different season in my life. I went from being very busy with all my involvements at Vanguard to a season of waiting and resting. Joanna Bogosian and I will have our wedding on March 31st. We are praying that God will help us as we prepare to go to China together this fall.
Thank you for reading my story.
Pray for us. Pray for China. Pray for Vanguard University.
Andre Abrantes '11