CBU Alumni Live Their Purpose Overseas
CBU alumni Christopher ('97) and Jessica (née Velarde) ('97) Winters have truly held to the university's mission statement, "Live Your Purpose." As missionary educators, Christopher and Jessica have had the opportunity to live their purpose in different parts of the world, and have experienced many circumstances through the course of their service that have shown them God’s faithfulness.
In the summer of 2013, Christopher and Jessica moved to Nairobi, Kenya, to serve at a school with great potential within the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS), but after only a couple months there, the campus was rocked by the terrorist attack at Westgate Mall. Students were impacted directly from the loss of loved ones and several escaped from the mall by God’s grace. Through this tragedy, Christopher and Jessica have witnessed God’s faithfulness through opportunities to counsel students and connect with them on a deeper level. Christopher adds, “We are praying and trusting that God is and will continue to use this tragedy for His glory.”
Christopher first discovered his purpose in missions during his time as director of student programs at a Christian college in Oregon. He led a mission trip to the Philippines, and it was then that he knew God was calling him to missions. His wife, Jessica, had already felt God’s call in that direction, so the couple began searching and seeking God on opportunities to serve overseas. God led Christopher and Jessica to the NICS, where they have been serving and living their purpose as missionary educators for over nine years. The Winters spent four years in Caracas, Venezuela, where Christopher served as director of a small school and completed an Ed.S. degree from Liberty University, then moved to Nairobi, Kenya, where Christopher is now serving as Principal and Jessica is teaching 3rd grade.
Christopher recalls the impact student life at CBU had on him, “I was deeply impacted in my walk with God through the friendships of my fellow students from around the world and the relationships I had with student life staff as I served as a resident assistant.” The influence of Christopher’s mentors at CBU inspired him to serve in student life for several years after graduating, as he had a desire to help students grow in their faith, and to serve others in the same way he had been served.
Christopher also remembers specific individuals that had a significant influence on him during his time at CBU. "Shay Sun, who was a fellow student and friend, had a deep impact on my life as someone who discipled me. Randy Worden, who is now the dean of students at Fresno Pacific, was a mentor as he served as my residence director. Joe Womack, now president of Northwest Christian College, was also a friend and mentor to me. I took a small, private class with Anthony Lammons and he introduced me to the book In the Name of Jesus which brought out concepts of looking at the downward spiral of humility and obedience in the life of Christ, which so clearly contrasts the upward spiral we envision in American culture and the American dream. This has come to my mind over and over as we look to what God has for us next."