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Corban University

May 8, 2018

Papuan Graduates Honored at Graduation Reception

Mr. Samuel Ferre and his wife sat in the second row at Corban University’s Papuan Graduation Reception, wearing matching batik formalwear. They had flown half way across the world to watch their daughter Sandce Ferre graduate with her bachelor’s degree in health science from Corban University.

Sandce, along with students Amanda Marei and Rut (pronounced “Ruth”) Somisu, were ready to celebrate their accomplishment of earning their degrees over 6,000 miles from home.

For the past nine years, Corban University has partnered with the government of Papua, Indonesia, to provide a Christ-centered university education to students from Papua. This easternmost island of Indonesia is rich with natural resources, but struggles with high unemployment and unstable healthcare and education systems. By sending bright, dedicated students to select universities in America, the government hopes to bring back graduates with the tools, knowledge, and character to help build a stronger future for Papua.

Sandce, Amanda, and Rut are three of those students.

During the graduation reception, the graduates shared their testimonies, how they had grown during their education at Corban, and where they felt God was leading them next.

Sandce says, “I have grown a lot, physically and spiritually. I gained more knowledge about many things, inside and outside of school. I learned a lot about how to connect, communicate, and build relationships with others.”

She was the 2018 recipient of Corban’s Matt Hammer Leadership Award, an honor given each year to a student who has never held a formal student leadership role but who has positively impacted the campus community through their service and leadership skills. In addition to investing her leadership skills at Corban, Sandce served at Mt. Angel Bible Church, both in children’s ministry and with the worship choir.

Sandce is excited to return to Indonesia, perhaps after earning her master’s degree. There, she’ll find ample opportunities to use her degree to contribute to the growing healthcare system in Papua. “I will come home, and I will make a difference,” she promised her fellow Papuan students.

Amanda also graduated with a degree in health science, and she plans to either continue on to graduate school or return home to work. During her time at Corban, she completed a physical therapy internship, worked in the Corban Community Garden, served on the worship team and in children’s ministry at Mt. Angel Bible Church, and led an international student Bible study. “I have grown intellectually and spiritually,” she reflects.

When asked what advice she would give to Papuan students currently studying at Corban, she says, “Trust God’s timing. Make friends. Don’t be discouraged when you fail; keep trying. Talk to your professors; they are awesome. Be vulnerable.”

Rut Somisu, who earned her degree in mathematics, shared a story from one of her classes in which she was asked to give a lengthy presentation. She’d carefully prepared her speech word-for-word so that she’d be able to deliver it in English. After hours of practicing and rehearsing with her script, she arrived in class—only to realize the pages of her script were missing!

Panic began to set in, but she prayed to God, “Help me teach about You; help me show You through me.” When she stood up to deliver her speech from memory, she found that she was able to recall everything she needed to say. It was as if God had said to her, “Let me show you who I am.”

She encourages current Papuan students, “Focus on your education; that is why you are here. This is your opportunity to learn more, so take advantage. Also, take time to get to know people.”

In addition to hearing testimonies of the graduates, friends and family enjoyed music performed by the students in both Bahasa and English, words of encouragement and testimonies from current Papuan students, and a letter of thanks to the Papuan government, read by Dr. John Scott.

Dr. Nord shared encouragement as well, saying to the graduates, “We’re not just preparing you for a job; we think you’re going to be nation builders.” He reminded them how blessed Corban was by their presence, saying, “You have enriched the education of every student on this campus.”

Finally, guests were privileged to hear from two visitors from Indonesia, including long-time friend of Corban Dr. Wally Wiley of Mission Aviation Fellowship. He addressed the graduates, telling them how proud he was of their accomplishments. “And,” he added with a smile, “you don’t have to look much longer for a job. Just come and see me.”

But ultimately he encouraged Sandce, Amanda, and Rut to listen carefully to God as they decided where to go next. “All of you have talents—phenomenal talents. If we give them to God, allowing him to use them the way He wants, we will change Papua, and we will change the world.”