Story by: Rosanna Sainez
The next person on our list of stories to tell is Holden Jannusch. I was sitting with Abby Sunu, a student worker on the CSA marketing team, asking her how she would describe our fellow co-worker Holden. Wise, thoughtful, and unique were just a few words that came to mind, but he is much more than just that. Holden is a very passionate and kind individual. He is unique too! He transferred to APU for his senior year of college. Now why would anyone do that you may ask? Let me tell you more about his story, his passions, and the wonderful ministry he is coordinating through the Center for Student Action.
“My name is Holden Jannusch. I am 22 years old and I am from Naperville, Illinois. I am a biblical studies major, but I actually was a math major until my junior year. I wanted to be a high school math teacher. I have always had a heart for youth and so I thought being a teacher would be an outlet to get my students to go to Young Life. I realized that what I really desired was for students to come to know Jesus, and so I decided to switch to biblical studies and pursue outright ministry.
Holden is a huge coffee nerd. When I asked about his passions the first thing that he discussed was the beauty of coffee. “Some people would consider me a coffee snob, but I’m also addicted to caffeine, so I can’t always afford to be picky. I just love black coffee. I try to make a pour over every morning. There is a real beauty in the art of making a perfect cup of coffee.” Holden is also passionate about working out, and playing basketball. A typical weekend for him consists of studying, having alone time, hanging out with friends, and date nights, of course.
Holden transferred this year as an incoming senior from Wheaton College, a small Christian school in Illinois. He described to me how thankful he was for his time at Wheaton, but he had always felt that something was lacking. He was having a really difficult junior year, and he was spreading himself way too thin. Holden’s self awareness was refreshing as he talked through his feelings. “I started failing at everything. I really like to do well, ya know? I wouldn’t say that I’m a perfectionist but I do really like to achieve. It is really hard for me to have to face my own failure. Once I realize that I was potentially going to lose scholarship, I essentially started looking at other options, and I knew people who went to APU, so going to California didn’t seem like such a crazy idea. God paved the way for me at every corner. God provided an acceptance letter, a scholarship, and even an opportunity to room with one of my childhood best friends. Getting this job at CSA was a huge reason I felt comfortable and confident in transferring. I wouldn’t have been able to afford living out here without a job. ”
I asked Holden how he felt about leaving Chicago and making Azusa as his second home. He humbly explained, “As soon as my parents left the airport I bawled my eyes out. The house I grew up in became a sort of a safe haven for me when things got really hard in college. There was comfort and security of having my home close to school, because it meant I was always free to go home to my parents. It has been emotionally challenging, but It has forced me to lean on Jesus. I have grown in my relationship with God more than I can even describe to you through these trials. The CSA has helped me in my transition and has grounded me with the community that I have always wanted.”
This lead me into asking holden more specific questions about his job and the ministry that he runs.
“So why local over global?”, I asked. He responded, “I have not been able to do any mission work overseas, but I have been doing high school ministry for 3 years and have always had a heart for students.”
Holden started to explain his role in the CSA. “I run a sports ministry. I have played sports my entire life, and some of my fondest memories are of playing football and lacrosse. I love being active, so it is has been a blessing to see kids play soccer in a league that their families can afford. The ministry provides an opportunity for kids in the local azusa community to participate in sports without having to worry about the financials. The coaches and referees are all volunteers from APU.” When I was listening to Holden, I realized how much of an impact ministry can have without any bells and whistles. As Christians, we have this idea of ministry where we have to put ourselves in an unfamiliar place, such as serving overseas, but ministry is really about loving your neighbor in whatever way you can. The best quality about this ministry is that it does not have to be a one time thing. Students can participate as many times as they want, building relationships with the kids, and the local Azusa community.
Holden doesn’t really know what is next for him after graduation. He knows in his heart that as long as he seeks Jesus, God will set his path straight. For right now, Holden will have the opportunity to be leading students to Hong Kong this summer on an Action Team. He is excited for the process to begin in the spring and cannot wait to see what else God has in store for him. If you don't know Holden, I hope this helps paint a better picture of his character. Under all of his sarcasm, he is wise, humble, and kind. Get to know Holden! Maybe he will even teach you how to make a great cup of coffee.