Transformational Testimony: God at work in every corner of the world

Three Biola students recount how their worlds changed after being suspended for drug use.


Junior Daniel Han retells the story of his life-changing year traveling the world with YWAM after being kicked out of Biola for doing drugs. BETHANY CISSEL/The Chimes

Kathryn Watson, Writer

Colin Cabalka wrapped his arms around his comrades Daniel Han and Clay Fisher in a bittersweet embrace at LAX on Dec. 18, 2008, as he prepared to catch his 6:25 p.m. flight home to Rochester, Minn.

Taking his place in the baggage check-in line, Cabalka began bawling. Boarding Delta flight 316 en route to Minneapolis meant leaving his friends. And leaving them also meant leaving the Biola community and everything he had come to call home over the past two years. Would he be allowed to return? Would they ever all be together again? And how could he return to his disappointed family? He had let everyone down. So many questions lingered, unanswered.

It had been a mere five weeks since he and Boye Fajinmi, Han and Fisher were found out for smoking marijuana, and their one-year suspension from Biola had begun.
“I realized my world was shifting completely,” Cabalka remembered.

Little did Cabalka know how dramatic that shift would be.

Darkness in Rochester [Boye Fajinmi]

The torturous waves of withdrawals were almost unbearable for Fajinmi as he sat on his bed at home in Rochester, Minn. He turned on all the lights. He couldn’t sleep. His sanity was slipping, he felt. Despair washed over him.

It had been just days since Fajinmi and the others had left Biola. And for him, the battle was far from over. Unlike the others, Fajinmi had been taking the potent anti-anxiety medication Ativan (Lorazepam), 10 times more powerful than Valium or Xanax, since spring. A doctor would not have normally prescribed the pills, had Fajinmi not ended up in the ER with a violent anxiety attack earlier that year. The alcohol and the drugs, both illegal and legal, had not mixed well.

He went off both. Fajinmi had been fighting for his life while on the drugs. But off them, he still felt as if he was fighting death — every single day.

“I literally felt like I was going to die for nine months, every day,” Fajinmi recalled.
He began to make his peace with dying.

Still reeling in the effects of the Ativan withdrawals, Fajinmi began classes in spring with Cabalka at Crossroads College, a 200-student Bible school in their hometown. Cabalka’s friendship was invaluable in those dark days.

The pain was still very real for Fajinmi when he left Minnesota to lead worship at Summit Community Church in Issaquah, Washington, just outside Seattle. But little by little, the spiritual teaching and mentoring there made him feel more whole.

Miracle in Tel Aviv [Daniel Han]

Roughly 7,000 miles away from Seattle, Han was dumbfounded by the miracle he had just witnessed under the scorching August sun just outside Tel Aviv, Israel.

Han had always known God worked in miracles. Having done away with drugs cold turkey, with no inclination to return, he was himself a miracle. But this time, he was an instrument in one. At 20, Han, had just healed a man — a man whose back had pained him for years — through the power of prayer.

It had been eight months since he had left Biola, and six months since he had left the United States. Under the umbrella of YWAM’s Discipleship Training School, Han traveled to about 20 countries in 2009, including Taiwan, China and Mongolia on a round-the-world ticket.

A heart for the nations ignited within him. The suffering of others and the need for spreading the gospel became palpable.

In a sense more real than ever before, Han began to see God as his Heavenly Father who desires children, not employees. And in that realization, there was liberation — one more tangible than anything drugs had ever given him.

“There is something so freeing, so joyful about being a child,” he said.

No single incident, not even the healing, shaped him. It wasn’t just surviving off of $10 dollars in New Zealand for a week, being immersed in the Sea of Galilee in baptism, or even graduating from the DTS on the Mount of Olives — he was shaped by the process.

Romance in Los Angeles [Colin Cabalka]

Cabalka couldn’t believe his eyes. Standing just one level above where he had bid goodbye to Fisher and Han almost exactly one year earlier, he greeted Emily Wilson at LAX with a warm embrace as they met for the first time on Dec. 9, 2009.

“It was like this best friend came back into my life,” he remembered.

So much had changed in one year. In May, when Fajinmi and Cabalka ventured to the Cannes Film Festival in France after their winning “Why Biola Rocks” video, Cabalka gained a friend in fellow filmmaker Sarah Wilson. She insisted that he meet her sister, Emily, an actress. Despite the hundreds of miles separating him from her in Florida, texting led to phone and Skype conversations.

Over summer and fall, as Cabalka moved from Rochester to Seattle to Los Angeles, God used Emily’s friendship to grow his patience and heal him. She knew his past — his whole life story — and accepted him just the same.

Little did Cabalka know when he sent Emily a self-made music video rendition of Michael Buble’s “Just Haven’t Met You Yet” on Nov. 11, 2009, that he would soon have his chance. The date would strike him later.

When Cabalka pulled into LAX’s arrivals lane to pick up Sarah for an expected visit Dec. 9, there was a very unexpected Emily, tapping on his window.
And as he held Emily’s hand for the first time, he just knew.

The final installment of this three-part series coming Dec. 9.

0 0 votes
Article Rating