“Here I am. Send me!”

            – Isaiah 6:8

In order to be sent, one must be prepared. Introduction to Christian Ethics, Introduction to Christian Thought, and New Testament Survey are just a few of the classes I have taken at Stark that are preparing me to serve the Lord wherever he calls me.  

I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. I was active in the church, but it never even crossed my mind to attend seminary. It wasn’t until my husband’s job transferred him to the Rio Grande Valley that my world was opened to the possibility of taking theological classes. 

Upon arriving in McAllen, I began attending BT McAllen Church. One of the pastors, Dr. Marshall Johnston, is also a professor at Stark College. I felt the Lord encouraging me to learn more, so I signed up for Dr. Johnston’s class in 2018 and have not stopped taking classes. 

The SCS staff are phenomenal. From the first moment I signed up in 2018, the staff has supported and encouraged me in my studies and ministry. Debra Canchola is always there to help me when I need it. Dr. Johnston’s academic background and Christian experience as a pastor have proved to be invaluable to my learning. Professor Primitivo Pagayon and Dr. Celeste Gonzalez-Moreno lead chapel every Thursday and have been a source of spiritual fellowship and encouragement.

Having been uprooted from my home, church, family, and friends in El Paso, the Stark staff has become the core of my community in McAllen. I will always be grateful not only for the classes equipping me to answer the call of God but also for all of the wonderful people who have walked by my side throughout this journey.    


This article was written by SCS student, Alma Valenzuela.