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Pursuit Magazine / Fall 2012

Tomorrow is your canvas—full of possibility. You can use any color. You can be anything. But so many options can be a little daunting. How do you know which school or career is right for you? What’s the best way to proceed?





Your Heavenly Father knows you better than anyone else. He created you with intention and purpose. Ask God to lead you. Spend time deepening your relationship with Him. As God’s presence grows within, you’ll find that your very thoughts, desires, and actions are more naturally aligned with His. Ultimately, it is not a school or career that you should seek first. It is Him. The rest will follow.

Don’t passively wait for your painting to be revealed. Participate with God in its creation. If you’ve fallen into unhelpful routines—such as procrastination—pull yourself out before they harden into habit. And don’t overlook your natural gifts. Use each one. Develop them. Move forward in their direction. They were given to you as signposts that say “this way” and will help direct your path ahead.

Painting is intuitive. But choosing the right school takes planning. For instance, it’s a good idea to review the admissions process at Northwest University Sacramento to meet the necessary requirements. Schedule a visit to see what our campus feels like. Meet with one of our staff members or the professor of a program that interests you. We’re here to help you plan and paint with boldness.

Hey, you don’t always have to paint within the lines. Play a little. Do things in a different way. Choosing the right school is serious business, but be sure to have fun in the process. You’re at an exciting time in life—full of possibility. Enjoy all the potential that God has given you and the amazing picture to come. It may not happen overnight, but masterpieces rarely do.

If we can assist you in any way, just call us at 916.856.5677 or email us at

Keila Garza

Studying: Online MBA

Emmanuel Garza

Northwest University Sacramento Director of Advancement


To learn more about our academic programs, visit or email Also, check out “Keila Garza EP� on iTunes, Amazon, or Spotify.

Meet - the -

Garzas Manny Garza here, Director of Advancement at Northwest University’s new Sacramento campus. My wife Keila and I want to express our pure excitement about the launch of Northwest University’s Northern California location at Capital Christian Center. We believe NU Sacramento exists for individuals to develop their gifts and acquire the knowledge to pursue God’s plan for their lives. In this safe environment, people will learn and overcome obstacles alongside their professors and peers, who continually strive for excellence. This year has started off extremely well. We love hearing the incredible stories of the people God placed at this school. Many of their testimonies and hearts for ministry follow in the pages to come. Looking towards the future, we see NU Sacramento influencing the local church, community, and beyond. I earned an undergraduate degree in finance and accounting as well as a master’s degree in business at the NU Kirkland campus. Keila earned an undergraduate degree in music there, and currently studies in the online MBA program. Keila’s passion is to combine both her music background and the education from the MBA to build her own personal brand and music business. She recently released an EP on September 10, 2013, and it reached the Top 20 on the iTunes Christian charts. She hopes to share those songs and lyrics with the world. The national and international response to the album excites us tremendously! We hope to continue building the business while representing Jesus and Northwest University as well. Overall, our experience with Northwest University remains lifechanging. We have learned, grown, and matured, and feel that students at NU are experiencing the same. We feel strongly about Christian higher education and the influence it has on students. Earning an accredited degree with a Christ-centered mission and vision allows students to not only grow intellectually, but spiritually as well. Our vision: We desire to see students who study at NU graduate ready to make a difference and carry the call of Christ wherever they go. We believe in this because of the incredible role and impact NU played in our lives personally. If you are considering an education in ministry, I urge you to contact us at the NU Sacramento campus. Great things happen here on a daily basis, and we would love for you to join us in



Tigran Mikayelyan

Studying: Pastoral Ministries

WHAT ARE YOU STUDYING AT NU SACRAMENTO? I am pursuing a BA in Pastoral Ministries. I believe that this degree will prepare me for what I feel called to do. What excites me about this program is that it teaches ministry with application and the Bible in context. It’s exactly what I was looking for in a degree. CAN YOU SHARE A BIT OF YOUR BACKGROUND? In 1986, my family moved to Sacramento from Armenia. I grew up in a religious home, but it wasn’t until my family came to Sacramento that we started attending church regularly. It was in 2006 at a youth event where I really encountered Jesus. After that moment, I remember thinking everything was brighter and a 50-pound weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was overjoyed. It was the moment Jesus became real to me. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR STUDENTS? Slow down and take your time to study the material. Be a sponge and soak in as much as possible, and take this time to grow. Also, it’s a great opportunity to build relationships with the people around you. Although it’s easy to lead a busy lifestyle, don’t be in a rush. Learn to enjoy this moment of time.


WHAT DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME DOING WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT SCHOOL OR STUDYING? I work full-time as a banker, and I am an associate pastor at the Sacramento Dream Center, an affiliation of the LA Dream Center. At the Sacramento site, I am responsible for the services, coordinating groups, and church events. At a pastor’s conference, Darryl Sandford, founding pastor of the Sacramento Dream Center caught the vision of reaching our community, and wanted to establish a center here in Sacramento. (Read more about the ministry of Pastor Sandford and his wife Trina, current student at NU Sacramento, on page 7.) WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO ATTEND THE NEW NORTHWEST UNIVERSITY SACRAMENTO CAMPUS? It was the perfect timing. I had just completed my education with Capital Bible College, and I wanted to pursue a BA at an accredited university. I was considering other universities in town when I heard about Northwest University Sacramento. I asked around, and people spoke highly of Northwest. Capital Bible College staff and faculty were really excited about that change. I was really drawn to the tradition, academic excellence, and commitment to the Word. Northwest University Sacramento has everything I was looking for.


Trina Sandford

Studying: Pastoral Ministries

WHAT ARE YOU STUDYING AT NU SACRAMENTO? My major is Pastoral Ministries. I choose it because my husband Darryl Sandford and I pastor the Sacramento Dream Center. I want to be better equipped to minister to God’s people. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO ATTEND THE NEW NORTHWEST UNIVERSITY SACRAMENTO CAMPUS? I choose NU because of its reputation as a university. After meeting some of the faculty and staff and seeing the sincerity they showed at orientation, I knew I had made the right choice. CAN YOU SHARE A BIT OF YOUR BACKGROUND? I grew up in California. My mother was a Catholic and my father was Baptist, but neither of my parents practiced their faith. Both my parents were alcoholics, so my childhood was filled with violence, abuse, and neglect. There were five children in the family, and I was one of the youngest. I moved over a dozen times as a child, so making and keeping friendships was difficult. Though it was hard as a child, I always prayed and had a keen sense of God’s presence and comfort in my life.

WHAT DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME DOING WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT SCHOOL OR STUDYING? I minister with my husband in the inner city by pastoring the Dream Center in downtown Sacramento. Our heart and mission statement is to “Restore Dreams, Renew Hope, and Rebuild Lives.” As an inner-city church and outreach center, we get to see that accomplished every day by God’s grace. My passion is ministering to the hurting that suffer with mental illness and addictions, and watching as Jesus heals and transforms their lives. WHAT DOES A CHRISTIAN EDUCATIONAL COMMUNITY MEAN TO YOU? I believe it’s an important part of keeping a healthy, balanced Christian life. The fellowship of like-minded Christians who are pursuing their call to further education is incredibly valuable to me. WHAT SHOULD OTHER STUDENTS KNOW ABOUT NORTHWEST UNIVERSITY SACRAMENTO? The campus is beautiful, and the classes and professors will enlighten you. Chapel and fellowship are fun, and you will learn and grow in ways you could only imagine. So enroll and get started on one of the greatest challenges and adventures of your life!


Leaving - Hollywood -


It seemed like the chance of a lifetime, being one of the few young actors to make it in Hollywood. Commercials, TV shows, even movies—from the young age of seven, Louis Braga had opportunities that many only dream of. It all started innocently enough, with a role on “Leave It to Beaver,” the 1997 movie remake of the wholesome 1950s TV show. But as he got older, Louis Braga didn’t have much say in what kinds of people and lifestyles he portrayed. Being raised in a Christian home, he knew he had to draw the line somewhere. But it was so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the attention, the bright lights, and the parties. Several years ago, Louis landed a role on a major network TV pilot. When he got the script, he saw that his lines had a lot of swearing in them, something he couldn’t tolerate as a Christian. Standing up for his convictions, he changed his lines—at the risk of getting fired by his director. “A lot of people think ‘It’s just cussing,’” he said, “But it meant more to me; it’s selling myself.”


That was his turning point. He called his agent to say “I can’t do this anymore.” According to Louis, he was ready to begin “turning a new chapter and devoting myself fully to God.” Today, Louis is studying Ministry Leadership at NU Sacramento, on his way toward getting his bachelor’s degree. Like many students, Louis isn’t sure what life looks like after college, now that he has left the entertainment industry. Though he admits it’s humbling to be in a place where you can’t see what your future holds, he says, “I’ve never felt so much peace being in college and learning about God. I don’t know where He’s taking me, but I know this is where He wants me.” What would Louis say to a student considering going into ministry? “Don’t just go through the motions—you’re only cutting yourself short when you do that. This is life training. This isn’t just ‘get a good job, make a lot of money, look good on a piece of paper.’ This can be something truly life-changing. We are becoming masters in the art of living for God!”

To learn more about the Certificate in Ministry Leadership at Northwest University Sacramento, visit or email

Louis Braga

Studying: Certificate in Ministry Leadership

“Ministry is all around us, even in the smallest details of life. Make the most of every moment, speak love to every person, and stay in constant fellowship with God. How we reflect our Savior in the everyday routine is the most important part of ministry.�

Candace Hansen

Studying: Pastoral Ministries


To learn more about the Pastoral Ministries program at Northwest University Sacramento, visit or email

out of - Darkness Called -

If you walked in for an appointment at Heads Together Salon and Spa, Candace Hansen would greet you with the warmest of smiles and excellent service. When she isn’t studying Pastoral Ministries at NU Sacramento or enjoying time with her two kids, Candace works as an esthetician. But several years ago, Candace was in a very different place: a hospital room in the ICU after attempting to take her own life. How did she get there? Candace says she grew up with an “amazing Christian heritage, literally born into the ministry as a pastor’s child. It was a label that brought both blessings and curses.” Candace experienced much inner turmoil, judgement, and unrealistic expectations during her youth. She felt as though she had to achieve perfection to be loved and accepted by her church community and by God. “I was never good enough. By 7th grade, I already had thoughts of suicide. I began living a life of extremes, Christian perfectionist or backsliding sinner full of anger and resentment. Unfortunately, I found my identity in the latter of the two.” Candace struggled through her teen years and twenties, finding comfort in “a new role where self-sabotage was the goal.” Drinking, drugs, a pregnancy at age 19, and mounting stress from past hurts and insecurities consumed her. This led to alcoholism, legal trouble, a divorce, and strained relationships with her kids and everyone she knew. A suicide attempt, two failed trips to rehab, the loss of her aunt and uncle who were brutally murdered, rejection from someone in the church, and even other difficult obstacles outlined Candace’s downward spiral. Eventually, this led to a collapse, time spent in a mental institution, and finally the ICU after a second attempt to end her life. It was in that dark place that she clearly heard the Lord say, “Candace, I want to love you; just let me clean you up.” Tears streamed down her face and she

resolved to reach out for help after this encounter. A phone call from a family friend who had been praying for her came at the perfect time. Within just one week, Candace enrolled in Teen Challenge. It was there she could finally “drink in the healing water of Christ” and where her “old ideas of God were completely wrecked under the weight of His abounding grace and mercy.” For Candace, these past few years have been full of mountains and valleys, times of confusion and anger, as well as beautiful moments of clarity and peace. Continuing to mend broken relationships and keeping Christ at the center of her life, she now sees that through it all, “God has been faithful. He has shown himself to be trustworthy and full of unconditional love for me.” Candace has become courageously transparent about her story and renewal of faith. She believes that she can contribute to the Northwest University community through the words of her testimony and the freedom she has found. “I hope that through my life I can inspire conviction in others. For without a deepseated conviction of the vision God has placed in our lives, there will be short-lived motivation to see the vision in action. Conviction inspires motivation and motivation creates momentum, which then changes the world.” After she graduates from NU Sacramento, Candace envisions taking her minister’s license and partnering with her daughter in a ministry centered on restoration between mothers and children after the effects of addiction have torn them apart. “I have so much to learn, and believe that NU can assist me in this pursuit. I need mentoring in my life by those with knowledge and history in the things of God. I desire fellowship and community with those of like mind and to be in an atmosphere of inspiration and creativity. These are the pieces of my life that are lacking...that I am pursuing by attending NU.”


Portrait - of a -

Pastor Growing up, many little boys dream of being firefighters and astronauts. But even as young as six or seven, Cole Zick knew what he would be: a pastor. Blessed with a calling to ministry early in life, Cole left his home in Michigan after high school to join the Master’s Commission program in Florida. Invited by a pastor to complete the program in Sacramento, at what was then Capital Bible College, Cole found that his calling was beginning to take shape. Three years later, after graduating, he found himself with a position at Capital Christian Center (CCC). And for the past seven years on staff, Cole has witnessed God at work in Sacramento firsthand. As Student Ministries Director, he has the opportunity to impact students’ lives through middle school and high school youth groups, as well as through a ministry training program called Oxygen Youth Culture (OYC). By following God’s calling on his life, he has been able to play an instrumental role in equipping young people to do God’s work. Through OYC, he says, “We’ve been able to provide something for students who come out of our youth ministry, who feel called to ministry—we don’t have to send them away. They’re being trained here on our campus.” Now, CCC is home to Northwest University Sacramento, offering students a nearly 80-year legacy of effective ministry training. Cole himself has taken some classes at NU Sacramento, choosing practical courses in the areas of ministry, communication, and writing that “can help him where he’s at”—coming alongside students as they seek God and grow in their faith. However, Cole admits that no class can prepare you for picking up the phone at 1 a.m. to help a kid in your youth group through a crisis. That’s why it’s important to get plugged in to a local church while you’re in college. “When you couple great ministry training, great academics, and a great college with ‘I’m involved with a youth group that’s putting me into scenarios that I was just taught about in a classroom,’” he says, “You’re putting yourself in an environment where you’re going to be the best prepared to thrive in ministry and in what God has called you to.”


Cole Zick

Studying: Pastoral Ministries

To learn more about the Pastoral Ministries program at Northwest University Sacramento, visit or email


PROFESSOR SPOTLIGHT Nick Garza began teaching at Northwest University’s Sacramento campus this year. He previously instructed classes at Capital Bible College, the Latin American Bible Institute, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and a variety of district conferences and events. Garza served as the District Youth Director for the Pacific Latin District for 10 years while pastoring at the same time. He also served as the COO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Garza currently serves as lead pastor of 3rd Day Worship Center in Elk Grove, California, and teaches Ministry Leadership at NU Sacramento.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS TO TEACH? I enjoy teaching classes on leadership. Helping others navigate our current culture while fulfilling their call to train and prepare future disciples is a passion of mine. I believe God is equipping new leaders for the new challenges faced today.

WHAT DOES A CHRISTIAN EDUCATIONAL COMMUNITY MEAN TO YOU? A place where leadership development occurs within the framework of a Christ-centered koinonia...a place where Christ guides us into effectivity in the Church and the marketplace.

WHAT SHOULD STUDENTS KNOW ABOUT NORTHWEST UNIVERSITY SACRAMENTO? Anyone considering an accredited degree in Northern California now has a unique opportunity to attend an institution that, though new to the area, has a significant history of training leaders with excellence. For those interested in an Assemblies of God university, the choice is simple. For those seeking a university degree near home without the common constraints of class overcrowding, like most institutions in our region, NU Sacramento Campus is a perfect fit.

WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY ABOUT TEACHING FUTURE MINISTRY STUDENTS? I am excited to be training students who will lead in the church and in the marketplace for a brand new era in the Kingdom of God.


HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME OUTSIDE OF BEING A PROFESSOR? I am a father of four and a husband, so my time has a very special priority. My favorite pastime is watching my kids in ministry and sports activities. I also enjoy writing, preaching, and dating my wife of 24 years. Golfing, walking my Husky, playing basketball, and traveling are other activities I like.



Associate of Christian Leadership Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Ministries Certificate in Ministry Leadership (also online)



Master in Ministry Master of Business Administration Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice


9470 Micron Avenue Sacramento, CA 95827

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Pursuit Sacramento Fall 2013  
Pursuit Sacramento Fall 2013