Category: Student Body

A Taste of Heaven: Abigail Gunning’s College Journey – By Carissa Arend

A Care Unlike Anywhere Else

“I’ve had people care for me when I’m in tears. Hearing people tell me I’m special––‘You’re important; we love you; you have a special place in my heart.’ From peers, I don’t think I’ve ever heard those words, or anything like them.”

Abigail Gunning’s hands gesticulated with elation and her eyes were bright with joy as she reminisced about her first semester at The Master’s University.

“I never even expected to go to college.” Gunning said, sterling silver earrings swinging as she shook her head in amazement. Now a student at Master’s, she can look back and said she sees a consistent pattern of God’s guidance in her life.

As an only child, Gunning grew up spending much time with her parents. Gunning’s mother legally became her tutor in Pennsylvania and began to homeschool her from sixth grade through the end of high school. Each summer, her dad––“Papa”–– gave her a summer challenge to complete, such as listening to all of John MacArthur’s sermons on Genesis. Though she’s been at Master’s for nearly a semester, Gunning’s relationship with her parents has remained steadfast.

Continue reading “A Taste of Heaven: Abigail Gunning’s College Journey – By Carissa Arend”


Comm Dept., students aim high with “DRIFT” – By Caleb Chandler

Photo credit: Jonni Lundy

On April 29 at the final chapel of the school year at The Master’s College, a scientist will wake to find himself alone in space.

The science fiction short film, “DRIFT” was created by students of the college from multiple classes in the film branch of the school’s Communication Department. Scripted by a team taking professor Matt Green’s screenwriting course, the film is the largest and most ambitious production to come from the department since it began offering courses in film more than 15 years ago.

Continue reading “Comm Dept., students aim high with “DRIFT” – By Caleb Chandler”

TMCprobz: The school’s student-driven Instagram presence – By Gabrielle Colón


“It kind of started as a joke,” TMCprobz creator says. Almost 650 followers and 107 posts later, it is a hit.

Instagram accounts for comedic commentary on campus affairs have grown in popularity at The Master’s College over the past couple of years and students and faculty seem to be taking a particular liking to this one.

Master’s sophomore Jordan Hargrove thinks TMCprobz stands out because “they’re relatable and they take suggestions from people.”

Continue reading “TMCprobz: The school’s student-driven Instagram presence – By Gabrielle Colón”

Tilton, Good launch Finn Goods, online retail phone case and tee shirt designs — By Kelsey Kukaua

Behind every self- started business is the story of the businessperson. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn introduces a boyhood hero known for surpassing societal norms while living in a fun, carefree way. The character Huck Finn was the inspiration for the original brand, Finn Goods, which produces custom wooden phone cases and apparel.

Established in the beginning of April by students from The Master’s College, Finn associates have worked to spread the word of this rising franchise around campus.

TMC sophomore, Justin Tilton, is leading this company in finance, design, and direction. As a business major studying marketing and finance, Tilton’s aspirations for growing Finn Goods has proven to be the perfect platform in gaining first time experience.

“My dad always told me that it’s best to work for yourself, so I’ve always known that if I could, I would like to run my own business. So I figured the best thing to do would be to start young, when you don’t need as much money as you do when you’re older. If nothing else came of it, at least I’d get experience,” Tilton said.

Finn Goods is a California brand that offers individually engraved wooden phone cases and graphic T-shirts. Their goal is to target audiences of similar age, ranging from 16-25 year-olds, who share an appreciation for resembling interests.

“[Finn Goods] is very genuine. Like whatever we do is what we enjoy and we do it because we want to do it…People like stuff that other people are excited about,” Tilton said.

Most of the shirt designs use images of the ocean and palm trees, but the brand is not to be mistaken for a surfing company. This outdoor style still strives to reflect the hobbies its creators take part in, surfing being one of them.

“We’re going for a vibe where if you listen to the band The 1975 or The Neighborhood, that vibe you hear in your head,” Tilton said.

This idea originated with an attempt by Tilton to hand craft a pair of wooden sunglasses after losing his previous ones. Searching online he came across a website selling wooden phone cases, which sparked the idea to offer custom designs for a cheaper price.

“Our motto is to have fun while getting the job done. We would never design a phone case we wouldn’t use ourselves,” Tilton said.

The art of phone case production takes about 40 minutes involving set up, engraving the image requested, and holding two sessions for the final staining of the wood.

“Essentially we’d want them to know that whatever they buy, it’s actually something that we’ve invested in and something we think people would like,” Tilton said.

From there, the company flourished to more than just phone cases. By reaching out to three other designers, they launched an expansion of graphic T-shirt designs for males.

“In regards to the consumer market, you fill the need and then you make it. So essentially people don’t really know what they want until they are told,” Tilton said.

Assisting Tilton is Pearson Good, a freshman communications major monitoring company advertisements and sales.

“We just like being creative. It’s personality being explored; it started as a project first, like something to do, but then it turned into something to express our creativity,” Good said.

Described as a people person by Tilton, Good has lined up major names such as singer Cody Simpson and rapper Jez Dior to represent the brand.

“At first we were going to everyone to get people to buy our stuff, but now we have them actually coming to us, interested in the brand,” Good said.

Social media sites such as Instagram and Twitter have played a vital role in exposing Finn Goods as a credible company to its consumers. Surpassing 1,000 followers on both social mediums has allowed the company to grow a fan base and make connections with people.

The beginning productions proved slow because of limited designs, but Finn Goods is hopeful for their future visions of the company.

“We got plans,” said Tilton, “It’s about the rate we expected for now, but once girls stuff starts coming out, that’s when sales will start jumping a lot.”

There has been discussion about introducing at least two more male shirt designs, a woman’s line, and accessories.

“The sky is the limit for Finn,” said TMC sophomore Jason Karkenny, who is also a loyal customer.

By Kelsey Kukaua

Off campus BBQ event fires up Oak Manor – By Keylin Portillo

BBQThe smell of baby back ribs welcomed The Master’s College students as they entered Oak Manor on a Friday afternoon. Hosted by the Off Campus staff, the BBQ Dinner offered an afternoon of fun and fellowship.

Immediately after work, Steve Ross rushed to Oak Manor, fired up the grill, and began barbequing on the patio. He worked alongside TMC junior Cari Logston, who decorated cupcakes.

In previous years, the off-campus leadership team was larger, allowing for greater planning and executing of events. This year, the team consists only of Ross, the resident director of commuter life and Logston, the off-campus commuter assistant. Several weeks before the event, the two brainstormed ideas for a large semester event. They settled on the BBQ Dinner.

This was the first off-campus event of the semester. Although difficult to execute with only two team members, student volunteers like off-campus junior Jessica Alamilla are a great help.

Oak Manor and Ross’ apartment have been inviting places for TMC students. Around 4 p.m, Ross, Ross’ family, Logston, and Alamilla greeted the students as they witnessed a patio full of food.

Ross’ ribs were the affair of the night. His son, Justus Ross echoed this feeling.

“Those ribs were gone super-fast. I didn’t even get to have my last one,” he said.

The afternoon consisted of food and music for students who lived on and on campus. It gave them a chance to catch up with friends and to get to know new people. Living off-campus presents TMC commuters with the tough problem of getting involved. On a typical Tuesday, immediately following work, Alamilla scrambles to school. After classes, she heads home to finish her homework.

This atmosphere is exactly what the students needed.

“This is so fun. It’s nice to see people outside of campus. I love just seeing everyone out of the pressure of school,” Alamilla said.

Logston shared Alamilla’s enthusiasm.

“I was really excited for the BBQ. I just wanted to be able to get as many commuters out as possible, usually because many of them do have commitments. I wanted to reach out to the smaller number and give them a chance to make friends,” Logston said.

The BBQ Dinner fulfilled this need.

“It was a desire to get everyone you don’t usually see, together,” Ross said.

Next year, the leadership team will expand to include seven new members. Chosen by Ross, these individuals parallel Logston’s and Alamilla’s aspiration to see a greater execution of similar events. This passionate team will be ready to manage the 250 off-campus students.

By Keylin Portillo

Ecclesiastes in practice: A testimony of Cody Cantabrana — by Jen Gibb

ecclesiastesIn a community of mostly 18-22-year-olds, the experiences and thoughts of a 28-year-old can stand out from the crowd. Cody Cantabrana, a Senior Theology major from San Diego, is exactly one of those 28-year-olds who, although still young, has lived a life very different from most of the college students he is around.

He makes no claim to know all the wisdom of Solomon, but the parallels between Ecclesiastes and the experiences of his life are hard to miss.

You can hear them in his words.

“What advantage does a man have in all his work which he does under the sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.”

“My earliest memories that I have are of going to the park when I was a little kid with my dad. I hung out with my dad a lot. My mom worked far away for JPMorgan Chase. She’s actually retiring this year. But she works in the car loan department. She doesn’t work for the bank she works for corporate. My dad’s a barber. He owns his own hair salon so I remember hanging out with him a lot.

“We went to Holiday Park a two minute drive from my house. We used to go there when I was probably five or something. It was a wooden park. You know how everything is made out of plastic nowadays; I feel super old but it was constructed of wood and metal. Those are the old school kind. I remember going down the slide, and there was sand on the bottom, not rubber.”

 “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth. . . . Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”

“[We] went to church every Sunday: Carlsbad Community Church. We didn’t talk about it, though. We just went because it was something to do. I remember sitting in Sunday School where they had the felt board. I didn’t remember anything, just that Moses and David looked alike on the felt board.

“I think when I was younger I thought, ‘Oh yeah, I think I know this Jesus character.’ Then my motives were different when I was in high school. I was going to high school group because of girls.

“Then I’d go to Hume Lake for the summers because it was a different change of pace than staying at home. But I didn’t really participate. I’d hang out with all of the gothic kids and the kids whose parents made them go. I felt like I fit more in with that crowd.”

“I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.’ . . . All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure . . . and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind.”

“I graduated from high school and moved to Hollywood. I went to music school for recording and engineering at Musicians Institute. And I worked at the House of Blues as music hall security, also known as a bouncer.

“I was trying to do as much as I could to fulfill myself whether that was girls, partying, fighting, music—I loved music. I still do love music—I wanted to live that lifestyle that I thought would be most desirable and when I hit that point . . . it wasn’t.

“One of the biggest moments was when I ran into one of my favorite musicians in Ralph’s. His name is Jesse Hughes and he’s in a band called Eagles of Death Metal. He’s a really nice guy, but the more I talked to him the more I saw a sense of emptiness in his life. He was waiting for his coke dealer so that’s why he was talking to us. He actually gave us his phone number and told us to call him up because he was having a party at a hotel and he was having a bunch of porn stars and stuff and a bunch of musicians were going to be there.

“At first I was like, ‘Oh cool. Sick!’ And then we got back and I thought, ‘That’s so depressing. This is the life I want to live. Is this what I want for myself?’ It seemed so . . . empty. I kind of hit rock bottom at that point. I had used up all of my vices.’

“The heart of fools is in the house of mirth . . . as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity.”

“One thing about the House of Blues that got me is that it showed me the depravity of the world. It was eye opening to see how people would react when they have the Fridays off work and they would come in and just want to do their own thing. There were porn parties that we had to work. You’d see the rich people snorting coke. Some of the bands that would play would be super dark. It was very much a gloomy experience and showed me how dark things can get.”

“What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.”

“When I was working one night my friends moved out so I was left paying the rent for myself which I couldn’t do so I had to move out. My parents were loving enough to bring me back home to San Diego. I moved back and started to do the same thing I was doing in Hollywood. I met up with a lot of high school and then played on a softball team but I would get super high or super drunk and then we’d play softball and party and I was dating around as well. And then, I don’t know, I just hit this moment of [thinking], are there any answers out there?

“I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business . . . for in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.”

“I started to look at religions and test if they were right or not. So I started with Islam because I thought that was the total opposite of America. I didn’t want to touch Christianity because I had been around that boat a while. I read the Quran for what it was. It seemed very political. I tried to research all of their apologists and listen to [them] online, and it seemed too political for me. It seemed like it had an agenda more than a hope. I threw it out.

“Then I was into Buddhism and Hinduism. I actually really liked them. I thought they had a lot of good things to say. But they didn’t deal with death and death is something we all have to face in understanding, contemplate and acknowledge. They are very humanistic, and they didn’t want to tackle death so I threw them out.

“Then I went to Christianity because I wanted to prove Jesus wrong so once I proved Jesus wrong then I can move over to Judaism. And then if I could prove Judaism wrong then I could get rid of religion altogether and I could just live life the way I feel.”

“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come.”

“I read the Gospels but I couldn’t really understand them. But I read Mere Christianity with the trilemma effect, which is: Either Jesus is a liar, a lunatic, or he’s telling the truth. So I went with that and though, well, he’s not crazy because a lot of religions accept him as a good teacher. So I was left with a liar, and it was hard for me to get past that and so logically I came to the conclusion that Jesus is who he said he was.

“At that time, though, I was still doing the same things. I was still doing drugs and stuff but this time I was going to church were my parents were going.”

“The conclusion, when all has been heard is: fear God and keep his commandments, because this applies to every person.”

“I always tell people you’ll know when the Spirit enlightens you or illuminates you to understanding the truth, and I think that became a reality when I was going to a men’s Bible study. I stopped at a light and thought, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing. Why am I doing this religion and still doing the same thing? Either I’m going to be 100% in or 100% out. I feel like I’m still serving two masters.’ And since then, everything changed.

“I was in a band and we would practice at least three or four times a week. We would drink and do drugs when we would practice so when I got saved I went to practice one day and told them, ‘I’m not going to do this any more. I’m done. I’m a follower of Christ and I can’t live this lifestyle any more and I need to get away from it because it keeps slowing me down.’

“So I lost my best friends. I started at zero. With nothing.”

“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?”

By Jen Gibb

Annual “Montys” talent show lures 600 to Bross — By Katie Barton

The annual talent show at The Master’s College brought over 600 students together in Bross Gymnasium for a night of laughter and fellowship.

The Monty’s, previously known as Spring Sing, started as a small event about 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into one of the largest events on campus.

“The Monty’s…has been a longstanding tradition at TMC,” said Pete Bargas, associate dean of student life. “It’s another opportunity for us to collectively relax, laugh at ourselves, and acknowledge that there is much unrecognized talent among us.”

The night consisted of 11 musical acts, broken up by comments from Dylan Grimes, Christopher Sue and Steve Ross, this year’s panel of judges. Haley Veilleux and Ryan Bennett hosted the event, creating an upbeat atmosphere that mimicked an awards show.

Students participated by texting their votes for the best act at the end of the night. First, second and third place acts received cash prizes.

Josiah Owinyo, Mike Jackson, Daniel Nakamura, Stevie Noch, Zach Wullbrandt, Michael O’Brien, Andrew Bush, Sam Hebert and Ben Emberley made up an a cappella group that took home the $300 prize for first place.

The group performed an eight-minute Disney medley, complete with choreography and costumes, which kept the audience laughing and singing along.

“It was fun because we kept having faculty and students coming up to us afterwards and telling us how much they enjoyed our act,” Owinyo said. “I think the Monty’s give people the chance to be known. There are people who have legitimate talent and haven’t had the opportunity to connect with a lot of people.”

Students in attendance echoed Owinyo’s sentiment.

“It brings the campus together. The whole TMC community comes out, so it’s a good opportunity to meet people,” said junior Stephanie Ott.

Timothy Caballero, chairman of the event, credits the Monty’s success to the unity of the campus. His goal was to bring the school together, regardless of dorms and majors, for a night of fun.

“It’s different than a typical Friday night,” said Caballero. “Students don’t have to spend any money or plan in advance. They just show up to make easy memories with their friends.”

In the future, the leadership team hopes to see a greater variety of acts participate in the event.

By Katie Barton

TMC’s S.O.A.Pbox — By Keylin Portillo

The smell of popcorn begged TMC students to enter the C. W. Smith lounge on the night of March 17. As they walked in, they witnessed C3 Unity’s display of the semester’s S.O.A.Pbox.

Several days before, a poster in the Lower Cafeteria featured the words “CDub going up on a Tuesday.” Another poster pinned on the student board described the meaning of these words, and provided a date and time of the event. With their artistically unique detail, they provided the students with a glimpse of what it was going to be about.

As soon as the students entered the room, a mixture of dim lighting, Christian rap, and popcorn greeted them. There were many new faces, some the students had never seen. The look of curiosity was evident as many of them walked into an unfamiliar event.

Fifteen minutes before the show, TMC student Sam Hebert quietly sat down and rehearsed his lines. Meanwhile others, like senior Paul Alkhato, awaited their turn to approach the mic. As seen on the event posters days before, some students approached the C3 Unity club with a desire to perform, while Steve Ross, the club staff advisor, asked others.

Before the first performer, C3Unity President David Mendoza explained the meaning behind the acronym S.O.A.P. Coined by TMC Alum Edward Robinson, the words stand for sophistically opinionated artistically passionate. This is exactly what C3Unity desired to put on display that evening as it provided students with a medium to express their creativity through poetic verses.

Comprised of a 20 member team, C3 Unity is a multicultural club that celebrates the diversity of the body of Christ as demonstrated in Colossians 3:11. It meets every Friday at 2 p.m., to plan and coordinate events like the S.O.A.Pbox. Stationed forever with ASB, and supported by Ross, Coordinator of Multicultural Student Advancement, it laboriously strives to promote cross cultural relationships.

“C3 Unity celebrates the barrier breaking power of the gospel… It also celebrates the unity in the body of Christ with a focus on the Christian witness,” Ross said.

This club desires to get the whole school to be a part of events in which the atmosphere might be possibly unknown to many. For example, students like Alkhato, a communication major, were able to express their creativity.

“We’re trying to get new faces to come out. It’s an open club and we want everyone to join,” said C3Unity member, Sarah Hutchinson.

Snapping after each performance, and attention were required as the students munched on their nachos, and watched the first performer approach the mic. Troy Christmas began the night by speaking about the gospel in the sense of our depravity, and was followed by Simeon Washington who shared his personal testimony.

After several acts, there was an intermission, which permitted the students to socialize, eat more free food and purchase a Smiths Smoothie.

The night ended with Nick Bravo, one of the guest speakers who Ross asked to perform. God’s greatness was the focus of the event. Bravo tied it back to the talents we do possess, and the origin of those.

“We tend to worship men that exercise His power,” said Bravo.

It was lines like these that caught Brittany Anderson’s attention that night. A faithful attendee of the S.O.A.P.boxes.

“I love S.O.A.P.boxes because I don’t get to listen to them very often,” she said. “I am always blessed by [them]. I often hear people say S.O.A.P.boxes are boring…but that kinda discourages me. All you have to do is listen to the words the speakers are saying. I wish the whole school would have been here.”

Just like Anderson, C3Unity C3 desires to integrate the student body in a creative way, through its S.O.A.Pbox.

By Keylin Portillo

Q & A: TMC senior Nicoleas Mayne — By Katie Barton

MayneNicoleas Mayne, a political studies senior at The Master’s College, slips on a suit jacket and looks in the mirror before taking a seat on the bed in his dorm room. He has a Skype interview scheduled with a reporter who wants his opinion on pay per click ads for new corporate websites.

Since 2012, Mayne, founder of Mayne Marketing, has worked with a variety of clients to develop marketing strategies that employ modern techniques, such as search engine optimization (SEO) and link building. In 2014, he co-authored “Market Me,” a book that explores online marketing outlets and informs businesses of the new trends in the marketing industry.

In the fall, Mayne will begin his graduate school life – at Harvard Law.

I sat down with Mayne and got his thoughts on his book, career plans and the future of marketing.

You’re a senior in college with a marketing company. Would you tell us about your work experience and how you got started?

I started my marketing business in 2012, after an internship in marketing for a project that was funded by the Canadian federal government. At first, I targeted attorneys, as a learning experience, because I want to work in law. It grew a lot bigger than that, and now I’ve worked in oil and gas, and with lawyers, real estate companies, entrepreneurs, and start-ups. Basically, anyone who’s in an obscure market where online marketing is important, but not always done well.

What inspired you to write “Market Me?”

I have a couple clients, especially a few in the oil and gas industry, that don’t know what they’re doing or how to analyze the effectiveness of what I do. I wanted to give people like that a base, so that at the very least they can analyze if they’re getting ripped off by marketing personnel. I also wanted them to begin to do things themselves and supplement the efforts of their marketing department.

What was your vision for the book?

I wanted it to be something I could distribute to clients. I wanted to create a better knowledge of some of the ways that marketing is changing and ways that business need to change to keep up.

My hope was not really to sell millions of copies, but just to have it as a comprehensive resource that I could point people to. I felt like I was constantly explaining the same things over and over again to the clients I worked with, using up a lot of time. “Market Me” is something I can give to a client and say ‘hey read this and then let’s work together.’

What makes “Market Me” unique?

It’s basically a book on modern marketing strategies, but written for the average business owner who’s going into it with little or no knowledge of how to market his or her business. It’s co-authored with some of the industry’s leading experts on a variety of topics.

It’s unique because it’s written by marketing professionals for business owners so they can do it themselves, not by marketing professionals for marketing professionals so businesses will hire them or for business so they know they need to hire a marketing professional. I want businesses to implement it themselves and then see where they may need to bring someone in to support them later down the line.

You were recently admitted to Harvard Law School. How does marketing relate to a law career?

Marketing is everything in a law career. It’s how you get your clients through the door and then you have to market your case to a jury, judge or a party to settle. Law is all about knowing how to market yourself and market your clients. That’s how you make it in the business. Being able to bring in clients no matter what space of the law you’re in is just the first step. Once you secure them, you have to market the concerns of your clients to the courts or outside parties.

What advice would you give to fellow college students who are interested in a marketing or writing career?

I think one of the most important things to know is that you’re going to have to work with clients that can be very specific about what they want. Sometimes they’re even wrong about the things that will be best for them. You really have to learn to compromise and set aside your pride and your knowledge of what you do to make your clients happy, while still going above and beyond to make sure that they’re successful. Marketing is so results based. I’d say the key for anyone wanting to go into marketing is to learn as much as possible and take projects where you can grow. Those will open doors to more and better opportunities.

For students interested in writing a book, I’d say be aware that it’s a lot more to take on than you initially think. When I wrote my book, I hoped to have 10 co-authors help me out, and I ended up with four or five. We initially targeted to be done by the end of July, but we weren’t done until mid October-maybe later. It’s a lot of push back from editors. It’s a lot of people not meeting deadlines. A lot of you not meeting deadlines. It can be pretty stressful.

I’d say that people just need to realize there’s a lot more to it than just putting words down on paper. There’s a lot that goes into it, even from a publishing aspect. You have to produce a book cover and put everything together into the right format. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of people.

Do you have any plans for another book in the future?

I think so. I definitely need to take a break because it was a big project. I think that eventually publishing within my new sphere as I go on to law will be another way that I can market myself and my services to people. That may manifest itself during law school, as far as writing on journals or law review or something like that. Beyond that, publishing books in the area of law that I work in or anything that I feel is relevant. I never want to write a book about something that has been done before, because it’s so much time and effort. If I don’t feel it contributes value, then I don’t want to do it. But I think there will come a time when I’m able to take on a project like that again and I look forward to it.

By Katie Barton

Cycling out of the bubble — By Bea Major

TMC's Hannah Johnson
TMC’s Hannah Johnson

Students and staff of The Master’s College are more than familiar with the phrase, “The Master’s Bubble.” It’s a phenomenon adequately understood and overwhelmingly disliked. But are there methods to break away from this stereotypical lifestyle? Resident Director, Hannah Johnson would say, “yes.”

Johnson enjoys cycling. It is a hobby of hers and has been for the past four years. Participating in spin-classes at a local gym, Johnson began to develop the taste for cycling in 2010, when she enjoyed the exercise, but saw it as a dangerous sport to attempt outside of the gym’s closed walls. Five years later and Johnson has been cycling outside of those walls for nearly four and continues to love the sport in newfound ways, achieve new goals and go from strength to strength in her athletic ability.

Johnson has spent the majority of her outdoor cycling life in her home of Sacramento, Calif.

“The area where I am from … is such a bike friendly community with lots of bike trails, most of the roads having bike lanes and cars are very familiar with cyclists being on the roads,” Johnson says. “I felt very safe and I felt comfortable riding there.”

However, after moving to Santa Clarita in the fall of 2013, Johnson wondered if she would be able to continue riding. There are few bike lanes on the Santa Clarita roads, and the bike trails don’t offer as much variety as back home.

“Last year I ended up just setting my bike up on a trainer which is a stand you put your bike on indoors to ride,” Johnson says. “I would just do that because I’d get a better workout and I wasn’t getting run over by cars.”

Johnson still managed to continue being relatively consistent in her riding even while training indoors, but then during her time home this past summer she was able to ride a lot.

“I felt really refreshed and realized how much I loved and missed it and how much I loved being outside and being on the road,” she says. “I decided when I moved back to Santa Clarita, fall semester, I didn’t want to lose that again. I wanted to maintain cycling. I wanted to cycle outdoors and I wanted to get involved in the cycling community in Santa Clarita, both to get into riding as well as just to build relationships with non-believers, as an opportunity to evangelize. I began praying about that at the end of summer, 2014.”

Johnson admits that cycling can be a “snobby sport” and it can be difficult to get into its communities. But, not only has Johnson been able to lodge herself into this community, she has also met new goals and exceed her best rides in both length as well as climbing. Meeting local cyclists in a coffee shop got her heading in the right direction as they introduced her to “the bike trails and good routes to ride on the roads, they even provided opportunity to ride with groups and with individuals.”

Johnson has found this a unique way to get to know people in the community.

You can just have really great conversations when you are out on the road on a bike,” she says. “That’s a big part of what I enjoy about it … I’ve met some really nice people. I have even gotten to share the gospel, and have had some good conversations with a number of people. I am trying to get into some regular group rides so that I can get to know more people.”

Tom Coussens, an experienced cyclist, active member of the SCV cycling community and friend of Johnson’s says, “You can just get on any bike and start riding… get to know some people outside the campus bubble. You get to meet a lot of folks from all walks of life who share a common interest… most are unsaved, so it’s a vast mission field as well.”

He speaks highly of the vast benefits of cycling concluding that, below the very elite levels, it is a very achievable sport for student budgets.

Allie Lawson, a good friend of Johnson’s from Sacramento, completed a five week, 3,000-mile ride across the United States during the summer of 2012, and refers to this experience as “magical and life changing.” Lawson played a large part in Johnson’s decision to get into road cycling.

“When Hannah got her bike it was so exciting to have a girl to ride with,” she says. “It’s been so fun to see her go from strongly disliking hills to crushing them.”

Lawson names cycling as “a most excellent sport,” recommending its every facet from “racing, to across country, to just commuting… it’s all good for your body.” She sees the sport in its more individual light and shares that options unique benefits which include 45 minutes of uninterrupted prayer time every morning and evening as she commutes to and from work. With a busy life now days this is the main cycling she is able to fit in.

Both Lawson and Coussens recommend this sport to students as a viable and enjoyable option regardless of your current skill or fitness. They are also both pleased with Johnson’s progression as a cyclist in her own right.

Last semester, Johnson participated in the “Bike MS” ride from Santa Monica to Ventura. This ride was 60 miles in length, and was ridden by teams each who had raised money for this Multiple Sclerosis foundation.

“That ride was special to me because my aunt has MS and so getting to participate in a fundraiser for MS was a cool opportunity. It actually meant a lot to my aunt and to other family that I did it,” Johnson says.

After completing the 60-mile “Bike MS” ride, Johnson and another rider were game to add another 30 miles to their total.

“I rode 90 miles that day which was my longest ride, but [there wasn’t] a lot of climbing, so [it was] pretty easy but a lot of fun,” Johnson says.

Johnson’s latest goal is to ride a century, which is 100 miles.

“Maybe over Christmas break. There is also an organized one above Santa Barbara in March, which sounds really fun,” she says.

By Bea Major