Stories of the life altering power of Christ

Students and faculty share inspiring stories from past experiences at Biola’s third annual Story Slam.


Victor Velazquez discusses the adoption of his first child at the third annual Story Slam. | Matthew Maitz/THE CHIMES

Anastasia Waltschew, Writer

This year’s Story Slam took us on a narrative journey to the past, reminding us of the life altering power of Christ in our present. The lineup of storytellers ranged from undergrad to grad, Professor to Provost.

Victor Velazquez told about his journey of becoming “Papa Victor” to five beautiful kids. Him and his wife applied for adoption, not thinking they would qualify. But God removed every obstacle and provided them with all the necessary supplies to raise a new child. Although they had wanted to name their first child Emmanuel, or “God with us,” they took home baby Ezekiel, only to be later told the orphanage had made a mistake, and their child’s name was actually Ethiel, meaning “God with me.”

Riley Mailman, senior business marketing major, told a story about finding faith to forgive. He told us about his great Uncle Andre, a boy from Belgium who survived the Holocaust. Eleven million people, including his parents, did not. And yet, some of the head Nazi officials gave their lives to Christ, were proclaimed innocent and walked free. The grace of God covers all, even the most violent of offenses of these Nazi officials.

Megan D., senior psychology major, shared how the best thing one can do with the knowledge of God is to give it to someone who does not have it. This is exactly what she did on a plane ride to Arizona. She started engaging in conversation about faith with Brian Keller, who, as the conversation played out, concluded that everything happens for a reason. Before boarding, she had changed her seat number to where she felt God wanted her. As it turns out, Brian had done the same. Everything, it seems, does happen for a reason.

Biology professor Behzad Varamini told of how two words he heard in the shower changed the course of his life. After the words “California” and “Iran” would not leave his mind for days, he took a giant leap of faith and bought a one-way ticket to California, where he became connected to the Iranian Christian Community in Los Angeles. He eventually moved to California and is now a professor at Biola.

Tonight was inspiring, because of the storytellers who allowed themselves to be vulnerable, letting us in on incidences in their lives that portrayed the truly life altering power of Christ. 

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