In June, Leo Reyes received a piece of mail that signaled the end of a nearly three-decade-long struggle.
Reyes, the current general manager of Bon Appétit at The Master’s University, fled Guatemala amid a civil war in 1992 and sought asylum in the United States. He spent the following years building a life for himself in his new home and facing near-constant setbacks in his pursuit of citizenship.
He never gave up.
Over the summer, Reyes’ persistence paid off. He received a letter congratulating him and inviting him to take an oath of allegiance to the United States. He gladly obliged.
“I have so many great things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving,” Reyes says. “I’m an immigrant who came to America many years ago, and my dream was to become an American citizen. After many years of complications and obstacles, my dream came true.”
In a year filled with complications and obstacles — of varying degrees and seriousness — Reyes and other members of our faculty and staff still found plenty of reasons to give thanks. As we prepare for Thanksgiving on Thursday, here’s a snapshot:
**Dr. Jordan Morton**, Associate Professor and Dean, Pearl C. Schaffer School of Education
“I’m very thankful for ‘every spiritual blessing in Christ’ (Eph. 1:3), and I am grateful I have received God’s salvation out of His mercy and love. This has been very comforting during this time of uncertainty – God has not changed His plan or His purposes. I’m also thankful for my family, and I include my church family in that. To have fellowship at home and with other believers (even on Zoom) is a huge blessing.”
**Jeff Jensen**, Associate Professor of History
“As I ponder elements related to thankfulness, first and foremost, I’m thankful for God’s magnificent mercy in calling me to salvation. In addition to the spiritual blessings found in Christ, I am deeply thankful for the multitude of temporal blessings I experience daily. I live in a land where I can freely worship Christ, where clean water is plentiful, where the food supply is reliable, and where medical care is accessible. Viewed in a global context, I am truly grateful to be the recipient of such immense blessings.”
**Dr. Shelbi Cullen**, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies and Women’s Ministries
“I am thankful for God’s faithfulness and goodness to get us through this semester. My students were spectacular! I’m also thankful for God’s graciousness to give my husband and I a healthy grandchild in August (first one) and another one in December. You can add to my list an amazing supportive husband of almost 35 years; an amazing team in the biblical studies office, who love Christ and His Sufficient Word; and provision in the podcast studio recently so that Women’s Hope did not miss a beat. But of course what I’m most thankful for and do not deserve is the gracious salvation that was bestowed upon me in the Lord Jesus Christ 27 years ago!”
**Paul Sedy**, Chief Information Officer
“I am thankful to the Lord for protecting us and preserving our operations through a very challenging season. I am also thankful for His grace as evidenced by Dr. Horn’s leadership, which was key in making the decision to open for students to come on campus this semester. I am also very grateful for our IT Team for the tremendous amount of work and late nights to build and automate our Zoom infrastructure, sustain operations and support our faculty and staff so they could carry out their responsibilities through technology. Finally, I am thankful for our faculty who exhibited a great deal of flexibility, patience and innovation in successfully teaching classes with new modes of delivery. God has been very good to us!”
**Dr. Bob Dickson**, Chairperson, Communication Department
“This year, I’m especially grateful for the assurance of God’s sovereignty. With all that has taken place in 2020 – with so much fear and uncertainty dominating the world – it’s such a blessing to be able to rest in the Lord, and to share that peace with my family and with those in my life who don’t share my faith.”
**Esther Chua**, Chairperson, Department of English
“I’m not thankful for any particular thing, but I do feel gratitude over the things I’ve learned this past year. It certainly is true that the Lord’s grace is sufficient, and it is shown in a myriad of things that shows how God provides, even if it isn’t what we expect or think we need. My loved ones are doing well, which is all I can ask for.”
**Dave Larsen**, Chairperson, Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education
“Transitioning into the world of college-aged kids, kids getting married, kids moving away, and now grandchildren has brought a perspective I have never experienced before. Having the entire family around a dinner table is a scarce occurrence, yet something I long for frequently. When the family is finally together again, it brings a joy and thankfulness beyond measure. I would imagine that this longing is not too different from our Heavenly Father’s desire to be united with His church at the marriage feast of the Lamb described in Revelation 19. The idea that God is longing for His children brings a joyful and thankful heart to those He has chosen and far outweighs any ‘momentary and light affliction’ we might be facing in this world.”
**Dr. Ross Anderson**, Professor of Biochemistry
“First and foremost, I’m thankful to Jesus Christ for His love and my salvation. I’m thankful for my wife and family both biological and church. I’m thankful that the Lord has preserved TMU all these years. I’m thankful for the students, the faculty and staff at TMU. In short, there is just so much to be thankful for. It’s too hard to narrow it down to just a few things.”
**Bryan Kortcamp**, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Management
“I am thankful that the Lord has allowed me to have a family to lead, and a career that I love. Every day I thank Him that I am able to love my family and those that I serve at TMU.”
**Keylin Portillo**, Assistant Director of Marketing
“I’m thankful for the church during this time. The changes in the ways we have lived life have reinforced the need for community, godly counsel and godly friends in my life. The Lord has been gracious in placing and keeping them here to live life alongside me.”
**Todd Kostjuk**, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Administration
“I am thankful for the grace of God to save sinners like me and for the hope of heaven. Also, I am thankful to the Lord who has faithfully provided and sustained TMUS throughout its history, especially during these past few years.”
**Leo Reyes**, General Manager Bon Appétit at TMU
“First and foremost, I’m thankful for God’s grace, love, mercy and knowing that His love and His protection is with me in every step I make. I am thankful because the University has opened its doors this semester and kept Bon Appétit employees working. I am thankful because God has given me the opportunity to work here at Master’s and serve so many amazing students. I am grateful every morning and every day when I see my family and see the love of God on them.”
The Master’s University and Seminary admit students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
21726 Placerita Canyon Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91321
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