Students planning to serve internationally are the focus of a dedicatory prayer during the 'One Homecoming' worship service.

The power of memory was the theme of LLUH’s ‘One Homecoming’ weekend’s worship service, held on campus at the Drayson Center, Saturday, March 4.      

“One word will keep coming up in conversation during this weekend—‘remember,’” said Randy Roberts, vice president for spiritual life and mission, during his sermon. “Homecoming is a chance for each of us to celebrate, to dream, but especially to remember.

“Remembering isn’t just a romantic. It has to do with identity, with understanding who we are, why we are here,” Roberts continued. “As we remember we are constituted a new people, with a new mission, focus and purpose. It’s not just romantic, it’s about core identity.”

From the first moments of the morning’s service, alumni had opportunities to remember many of the strengths of Loma Linda University Health. A parade of more than 50 flags of countries around the world called to memory not only the university’s diverse student body, but also represented the many countries of the world where Loma Linda University Health alumni serve.

“We want to express our thanks to each one of you alumni,” said Ronald Carter, PhD executive vice president for university affairs. “You have taken the education you received here, and used it to bring hope and healing to this world. You are our reputation. You are Loma Linda.”

Alumni then were reminded of Loma Linda University’s core commitment to serve those in need around the world.

“Mission service changed my life,” said Elaine Bersaba, a student in the School of Dentistry, speaking on behalf of the Students for International Mission Service program. “I learned that God sends you to a specific time and place, so you can best know him.” Bersaba went on to tell how, by performing a tooth extraction, she was able to help a woman who had been in pain for more than six months.

This year more than 60 students are participating in Loma Linda’s Deferred Mission Appointment and Global Service Award programs. These two programs allow students to commit to overseas service after graduation, with the programs making payments on the students’ debt each month they serve.

“The best time for students to be involved in world service is right when they graduate,” said Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, Loma Linda University Health president. “It’s before they have too many ties and obligations holding them back.”

The men and women who have served Loma Linda University Health were also remembered. Two former presidents, Norman Woods, and B. Lyn Behrens, and Anita Olsen, widow of former president V. Norskov Olsen, were recognized. More than 50 former administrators also were in attendance.

The morning’s music was another powerful reminder of Loma Linda University Health’s diverse student body. Music groups performing included the School of Public Health Choir, the Cheek Brothers Quintet, the Black Alumni of Loma Linda Chorale, and the School of Allied Health Signing Choir.

“Remembering roots us to our identity,” Roberts said. “We come together to remember not just the joy and the laughter, as important as those things are. We come together for a much deeper reason, to connect with our identity and connect with our mission.”