The Community She Needed

Photo of Emily HandEmily Hand was regularly discouraged in her Christian faith because she felt she was pursuing Christ on her own. Growing up in Auberry, a town of only 2,369 people, her high school graduating class consisted of 74 students.

Neither of the two churches Emily attended in high school provided fellowship with kids her age. “My churches were so small, there really wasn’t anyone around my age to be able to talk about the Bible with. I didn’t have friends that were solidified in Christ,” she says.

But coming to Fresno Pacific University gave the liberal studies major the community she was missing. “When I hang out with these people it’s comforting because I know their intentions are to point me to Jesus and to love me in the way Jesus does,” she says.

Those friends made all the difference. “When I came to FPU I experienced friendships that were encouraging and based on fellowship centered on Christ. I finally felt encouraged by people that were my age that could point me to the Gospel and center my heart on Jesus,” she says.

Emily’s deepened faith led her to get re- baptized. She says, “I got baptized again with the right intentions. I got baptized when I was little, but my mindset was, ‘I’m a Christian now so I have to get baptized,’” she says. “But I got baptized again with the mindset of ‘I love God so much
and I want the whole world to know what Jesus
did for me.’”

Students, faculty and staff all emboldened Emily in her faith. “I am surrounded by people that encourage me to live out my faith, to mirror Jesus and to represent him to the community,” she says, “This has been a blessing.”


Do you know a student who has been transformed at FPU? Contact Wayne Steffen at