Dear WPU Community,

Here’s a story for you: Once upon a time there was a young man who attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was a rising Honors Student, with big dreams of becoming a teacher someday. One day during the onset of his Junior year, he had the opportunity to participate in a research experience at UNC Chapel Hill in the summer of 1993. Afterwards he lived in the Honors College throughout the remainder of summer. Since there were few others on campus, he was called upon to give a tour to a particular incoming Freshman who was also interested in joining the Honors College. There was something about her eyes… Later when she started at the University, he found himself in the same Orientation Course with her, and then later served together in Student Government roles. This fall, they will celebrate 25 years of marriage, two beloved sons – one attending Campbell University and the other Morehouse College, and a lifetime of co-service in education guided by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sometimes February is referred to as “the month of love” and as you may have guessed, this story is about my own love story with my wife, Shemeka. I love to reflect on those days because it reminds me of the plan God had for my life even back then, knowing before I could possibly imagine that when I looked into that young girl’s eyes that day in the summer of 1993, I was meeting my teammate in life. I am tremendously blessed by my wife, who is an incredible community leader, an accomplished professional, and the very best mother to our sons – among many other qualities. I thank God for the gift of my marriage to this woman every day.

So it may come as a surprise to you to learn I feel much less strongly about Valentine’s Day itself. Though Hallmark may benefit from the flurry of cards and candies during February, I can’t bring myself to feel differently about this month than all the rest. Why? Because in Christ, EVERY month is “the month of love.” Because of His sacrifice, we know a love that exceeds all imagination…and that it is our ongoing gift to grasp “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…” (Ephesians 3:18). The notion of love is just too big to fit into a single day or single month!

But since February is still a reminder of love for many, I’ll use the opportunity to share another love story: Love is the root of our nearly 100-year-long mission at Warner Pacific University. Out of love, we endeavor to serve all who come to us with a path that honors the calling God has placed inside each and every one of our students, and to support them in their journeys to become who it is they can become in the light of Christ. Love is also what allows us to do our jobs….your love, your support, your prayers for this mission are what sustains us in ways that fundamentally allow us to persist.

Thank you so much for the ongoing love you show our special learning community. Please enjoy all the examples of God’s love on display in this e-newsletter, and feel free to reach out to me at any time.

 In Christ,

Brian L. Johnson, Ph.D.
Warner Pacific University