Written by: Rosanna Sainez

It’s that time now, when shelves are stocked with heart shaped chocolates, roses, and valentine grams. According to Hallmark, did you know that more than 163 million cards are exchanged? I clearly didn’t, and not only that but I also did not know that Valentine's Day is celebrated in Mexico, Canada, France, and Australia. I remember when I was a little girl I would always look forward to Valentine's Day. I specifically enjoyed the gifts I would receive from classmates because it temporarily made me feel connected with them. The elementary school I attended had this tradition where each kid designed their own “Valentine’s” basket to be put on their desk, so that they would receive valentine grams from each classmate. It didn't even matter if I was close with my classmate or not. What was so special about seeing whose name was signed at the bottom of the valentine card was that they thought of me, and made me feel known. At that age I didn't quite understand the meaning of love and what that looked like for my future. Heck I still don't know, and don't think I will ever understand, unless I choose to live everyday in love. So what does living like this look like?

Love is portrayed in a multitude of ways. Whether it is internally loving oneself, or person to person. Individually, love can look like taking pleasure in things one enjoys as well as self acceptance. Love towards a person simply means taking pleasure in their personality, enjoying their company, and choosing to show affection. However, when we look at the Bible, love is not based on delighting in a person or what a person does. Love is loving one another, unconditionally.

The beauty of love is that we do not need to be complete in order to receive it. We don't need that valentine gram or a significant other to feel this love. Prior to traveling to Senegal, I was in a season where I was trying to understand God's love. I kept asking God, “Please! Let me feel your love! I want it.” One of my friends questioned me, “Rosanna why do you keep questioning God's love. You already have it.” It took a matter of months after I returned from Senegal that I had experienced love without conditions. The way my Senegalese friends looked at me in the eye and valued every part of my heart made me feel complete.

It is important to not look at Valentine’s Day as the only day we can explicitly receive or give love to others. What would it look like to live out Valentine’s Day everyday? Whether it's helping a friend or family member, serving in the community, being generous to one another, and most of all offering forgiveness daily we can achieve a life full of love; if we achieve this, maybe we can live out the commandment that Christ has put on our hearts - to love others as oneself.

Our Core Values

Written by: Matt Browning

The Center for Student Action at APU takes seriously the challenge to motivate and activate every student to be a part of an international or intercultural experience before they graduate.  The people, programs, policies, and services within the Center have a clear purpose: To help students understand and ACT on the claims of Christ that we believe we can change the world.  The guiding principles that drive the Center serve to ensure that the mission, vision, and purpose of the Center continue to be lofty, responsible, challenging, and God-honoring. The following is a list of 12 Core Values that we hold as a branch of the university, and as Christ followers. May these help you to understand us as we embrace the people of God both locally and globally.

  • We are educators. We have a responsibility to educate students. We do this generally outside the classroom, but nevertheless, we see ourselves as helping students ask good questions and find the truth about God and His world. This is our responsibility as people of the Cross.

  • We know that nobody wins until we all win. The core of the Center for Student Action is that we are stronger together than separate. Our programs vary some but our mission to challenge students to responsible action is the same. We will do what it takes to make every person and part of the Center better together.

  • We adopt a with not for mission mentality. We do not enter other cultures as North Americans that have answers that can “fix” situations. We are learners first and seek to enter new opportunities as learners, as servants, and as partners.

  • We will be relentless in challenging students to be a part of the programs in the Center. We will always work to get as many undergraduate students as possible to have an intercultural experience before they graduate.

  • We believe in creating responsible disequilabration. We will challenge students to think new and differently about themselves, God, culture, and the world, but we will always point them back to the truth of Scripture.

  • We value the seed as much as the bouquet. We value thoughtful, ongoing reflection as much as we do measurable “outcomes” as part of the experiences we challenge our students with. We will not know, this side of eternity, what the experiences we offer students will do and we are comfortable not knowing.

  • We believe that Everyone Matters. Our world would be a better place if we really believed everyone matters and acted on that belief. We commit to practicing the Royal Law of “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (James 2:8) and will seek to never commit the sin of partiality. We acknowledge that everyone is our neighbor.

  • We believe that creating a “Responsible Revolution” is one of our ultimate dreams within the Center. We desire to create such a sense of faith in action that, as a community, we will “revolt” against what the world says is success and replace those ideas with thoughts more aligned with Christ.

  • We believe that People of the Cross must have an active faith. We will constantly look for ways to challenge our students to not just hear the Word but act on what the Word says (James 1:22).

  • We hold the value that everyone has something to contribute to God’s work around the corner and around the world. We will take responsible chances on anyone that shows a desire to take the challenge to serve. No one is too messed up to serve.

  • We value cultural competence. We will look for ways to help students understand the hallmarks of a culturally competent person and put those values into practice daily.We are an office and a team of people that will, within reason, always look for ways to make a good idea or program happen. We want to empower students and staff to dream out loud and do our best to make those dreams come true. We will do our best to say “how can we make this work” rather than “this will never work”.