Dewald Kritzinger - Pastor for Young Adults & Media
Pastor Devo was born and raised in the beautiful country of South Africa. He graduated from Helderberg College (an extension campus of Andrews University in SA) with a Bachelors degree in Theology. In 2000 Devo entered the full time ministry as a pastor in Johannesburg, SA, where he was associate pastor in 3 churches. In July 2001 he came to La Sierra University to do graduate studies. He worked as Assistant Chaplain at La Sierra University until he was called as Youth Pastor for La Sierra University Church in January 2002. He earned a Master of Arts in Religion in 2005.
Apart from finding fulfillment in spending quality time with people, Devo loves all kinds of sports activities, especially tennis, listening to good music (especially U2!) and enjoying the company of great friends. His favorite past time, however, is enjoying time with his wife, Leilani and children: Lia, Amelie, Levi and Kiri.
"Grace finds beauty in everything"--U2 in their song "Grace"
Sam Leonor - Pastor for La Sierra University Campus
Sam Leonor loves his work as Pastor to the students and faculty of La Sierra University. He is passionate about spiritual awakening among young adults, especially college students. He loves to see them bloom into faith that is missional, growing and full of love. He devotes much of his ministry to exploring contemporary Biblical spirituality in the context of community. His ministry is marked by a call to radical faith that engages culture deeply and emphasizes justice. His other interests include making music, traveling, history and good food.
Sam was raised in Central America where his parents were part of developing church and health care missions. He has degrees from Southern Adventist University, Andrews University, and is a doctoral candidate at George Fox University.
He is married to Shelley Campbell. They have two children, Alexandra (born in 2000), and a son, Micah (born in 2003).
For a high resolution picture of Pastor Sam click here
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Beverly Maravilla - Pastor for Children and Families
As one of 8 children, Beverly Maravilla is used to answering to many names. Pastor Bev is her new form of address, thanks to the good work of our Search Committee, the blessing of Southeastern California Conference Administration, and Bev's eagerness to serve the La Sierra University Church Family.
Bev grew up not far from Riverside, in Litterock (think Palmdale and you're close). In 2005 Bev enrolled in studies at La Sierra University pursing a Psychology degree. Mission trips to Mexico, a student missions assignment in the Marshall Islands, leadership roles in Spiritual Life on campus and summer camp with the Hawaii conference provided context for Bev to serve and solidify her calling to a life of servant leadership in the local church. So, Bev added Religious Studies to her academic load and graduates this June with the class of 2011.
Warmth. Laughter. Passion. Commitment. Energy. This is what defines Pastor Bev and the reasons your Search Committee invited her to serve. Be ready to welcome Bev at least by the week of Vacation Bible School, July 11, 2011.
Welcome, Pastor Bev!
Vaughn Nelson - Pastor for Discipleship and Nurture
Vaughn Nelson grew up as a pastor's kid in eastern and western Washington state, Southern California, and Nebraska. He attended Union College, then La Sierra University, where he completed a B.A. in Religious Studies and developed a lasting appreciation for this La Sierra community. While a student, he worked with Pastor Sam as a leader of First Service for two years. After graduating, he worked briefly with the Twenty-Something ministry at La Sierra University Church before becoming the sole pastor of the Norco SDA Church. Before returning to La Sierra University Church and the Inland Empire in 2013, he spent nearly 5 years in San Diego as the associate pastor of the Bonita Valley Adventist Church. Along the way, he also complete a Master of Divinity degree from the HMS Richards Divinity School--in a very biblical just-under-7 years!
Vaughn and his wife Becky, a clinical social worker, enjoy just about anything outdoors--the beach, camping, and hiking, especially. They also love great food from around the world, in particular the delectable cuisine from Becky's native Peru. They feel greatly privileged to be a part of the La Sierra University Church community, with its rich diversity of people and its deep commitment to thinking about and loving God wholly. As a pastor Vaughn is passionate about partnering with people in exploring and discovering ever better ways of responding to God's grace with our hearts, our minds, and the way we live our lives. He truly believes that Jesus points us toward authentic and abundant life, for ourselves and for others.
Austin Nystrom - Pastor for Youth
Austin Nystrom is extremely excited to be the newest addition to the pastoral team. Austin graduated from Walla Walla University in 2012 with a B.A in Theology with minors in Spanish and Biblical Languages. While attending WWU he worked at the City Church of Seventh Day Adventists in Walla Walla as a youth leader. After graduating Austin went to work functioning as youth pastor in a Spanish district of churches in Tri-Cities, WA. He loves the Pacific Northwest but is eagerly making the move back down to his beloved land of beautiful, sunny California where he grew up.
Austin is an adventure seeker. He is passionate about leading an active lifestyle, he loves rock climbing, backpacking, and just about any outdoor sport in which he can be involved. Music is a significant interest also. Having lived in Argentina for a year, Austin is fluent in Spanish and now a soccer fan. Doing mission work and traveling extensively provided opportunity to experience a variety of cultures, and Austin finds value in seeing the world through the lens of others. Above all though, Austin says his number one passion, interest, and pursuit is Christ and becoming more like Him.
Chris Oberg - Senior Pastor
My name is Chris Oberg, and church matters to me! It seems like we have a couple of options when thinking about organized religion in 2009. We can complain and grumble and jump ship. Or we can roll up our sleeves and attempt to make it better. I’m of the latter conviction and this is why I’m serving at La Sierra University Church.
I first joined the Pastoral Team in 2000 as Pastor for Children and Families. Five years later my family moved to the Calimesa Church so I could take the responsibility of Senior Pastor. And in 2009, we are back at La Sierra. What brought us back? Largely the opportunity to work among the next generations with a conviction that the Christian life expressed through Adventist grace-driven priorities is worth pursuing and living.
My primary responsibilities at LSUC are Preaching/Teaching Ministry, Crisis Visitation, Strategic Visioning, and Leadership Development. I must say that the Preaching Ministry is a sacred and treasured priority. The sacred scriptures are clear and comforting, yet also confusing and challenging. Hearing a Word on target for our lives today is what I hope for each time we open the Bible together.
It is especially rewarding to serve at the campus church of my alma mater. I’m a double alumnus of La Sierra University, and daily live in a grateful awareness of how this University shapes my life. My husband, Kerby, is a Physician-Scientist at Loma Linda University, where he teaches, runs a research laboratory, and collaborates on all sorts of projects interested in congenital anomalies and birth defects. Amanda and Alisa are both college-age. Amanda is studying Business, and Alisa is studying Psychology. We are the kind of parents who intend on following our daughters around along time saying, “Those are our kids!” Yes, we apologize to our children regularly that they got us for parents…
I expect you to email or phone when in crisis or to report someone else in crisis. I expect you will communicate openly and regularly. I expect to learn from you as we attempt to be a church on the corner God recognizes and uses. Oh, and I expect we’ll have a lot of fun along the way.
For a high resolution picture of Pastor Oberg click here