Every week, students gather on Monday night to spend time together and learn about God while having fun with their peers. Juliana Martinez, a current sophomore at Newport Harbor High School, is one of those students.
Though Juliana’s parents were raised religiously, they chose not to raise her or her siblings that way, in hopes they would grow to develop their own beliefs. When Juliana moved from Maui to California in 2015, she had trouble adjusting and making friends. Taking the suggestion of her mother to join a youth group in order to make new connections, Juliana found Refuge at St. Andrew’s midway through her Sophomore year. “Taking her advice was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” says Juliana, “I felt loved and welcomed.”
Photo by Waverly Trotter, 2017
To Juliana, Refuge reflects God’s kingdom by being a place of unconditional love, kindness, and care; “Being a part of Refuge and seeing the love and unity it represents has opened my eyes to the way of the Lord and allowed my faith to grow tremendously while making friends for life and memories I’ll never forget…”
Refuge and other ministries at St. Andrew’s seek to be a place where everyone is able to belong, feel valued, and share their story. Minister of Student Ministries, Cody Jensen, emphasizes this important element of community; “When we are invited into another person’s story, it opens us up to their journey, heart, and experiences. In the process, we walk with them and become a part of their narrative, which deepens our connections. In essence, we see them as God’s Beloved.”
For info on Refuge, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949.574.2279.