*Editor’s Note: This story is a first-person account written by Jared Pazin, a senior Bible major at The Master’s University. *
I grew up with my mom, dad and brother in Merced, Calif., surrounded by love. At first, it felt as if nothing could go wrong for me. However, on Nov. 26, 2010, my whole life changed forever. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and my dad didn’t wake up.
I was 12 years old when my dad passed away.
All the love I received from my family, my friends and my community was not enough to bind my broken heart. After his death, I needed to find an outlet so that my emotions would not consume me. I immediately dedicated my life to the very thing my dad and I bonded over most: the sport of basketball.
The following summers I trained intensely, putting countless hours of work into the game to rid myself of any thoughts of my pain. During this time, I also fell into grievous sin. I became habitually dishonest and hateful, and I harbored anger toward God for my father’s death.
Nevertheless, it was through basketball that I built a relationship with the man who would lead me to Christ. He was one of my former coaches, Mr. Mono. He had been reading God’s Word with my brother, whom he had also met through basketball. My brother had been sharing with me the truths of Scripture, and it was at that time I grew increasingly aware of my wickedness and helplessness.
Several days after I graduated from high school, I met with Mr. Mono. It was at that time he shared the gospel with me. On June 8, 2017, by God’s grace, I submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
I immediately began to read the Bible with Mr. Mono. For six and a half months we read a chapter a day, from John to Revelation. I was transformed from a person who loved sin to one who abhorred it – and from a person who once hated God to one who loved Him. I was born again.
Months after my conversion, the Lord graciously used me to share His gospel with a young man named Davis, allowing me ultimately to lead him to Christ. From that moment forward, we too read a chapter a day for six and a half months, from John to Revelation. We were both enamored with the Word of God and desired to know more.
At that time, I had made the decision to drop out of junior college upon completion of my freshman year because I didn’t see the importance of a secular education any longer. Shortly after I came to that conclusion, Davis found out about The Master’s University through the preaching of John MacArthur. He researched TMU and shared with me how this place would greatly nourish and impact our spiritual lives. I said that if I’m going to continue my education, that is the only place I would want to go.
Now in my third and final year at The Master’s University, I can’t express in words the profound impact this place has had upon my life.
The key instrument in it all is the Word of God, along with the godly faculty who teach it every day in the classroom. Whether it is with regards to business, politics, history, science or literature, the professors have not failed to teach and assist their students to develop a biblical worldview founded upon God’s Word.
It has been professors like Dr. Grant Horner, who has taught me about the prelapsarian glories of man and how one develops biblical discernment through seeing how there is still an echo of that Edenic state in every human cultural production. And professors like Dr. Abner Chou, whose class I’ve never left without having a burning desire to know God through His Word all the more. And professors like Dr. Todd Bolen, who not only exhibits such an immense care for his subject matter, but also shares that same care for his students too, in a way that lets you know you’ve made a friend for life.
I went from wanting nothing to do with academics ever again, to recognizing the great importance of it. I have learned that education is not mere head knowledge, but rather an essential transformative force that anyone can experience. I have matured not only as a student, but as a person, because of the great godly influences who are found on staff at TMU.
Due to generous donors who support the University, the Bible department was able to gift me with the Pastor-Teacher Scholarship this year. Opportunities like these at Master’s have greatly aided my family and I by easing the burden of provision upon my mom, which has allowed me to continue my academic journey and pursuit of Christ here.
God has surely used The Master’s University as an instrument for His glory by gracing it to raise up young men and women to live sacrificial, cross-bearing lives for our Lord Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that just as He has allowed me to grow here at TMU, He would continue to raise up young men and women all across the globe to do the same.