Will & Andrea Sam
It’s pretty amazing to me that I’m even a Christian, let alone a full-time church planter! While I grew up in one of the most churched parts of California (beautiful Orange County), I never went to church. My life was all about me - doing well, becoming someone in this world, and having as much fun as I could before I died. I went to college at UC Berkeley, studied political science, and got really involved in student government. I knew what I wanted in life - go to law school, get into politics, and change the world!
But something quite unexpected happened along the way. Before my senior year, I became suddenly aware of an unexplainable sense of emptiness, purposelessness, and guilt over the kind of life I was living. By God’s incredible grace, instead of spiraling down into depression, I reached out to one of my friends who took God seriously. That kick-started my faith journey. I investigated Christianity and was amazed at the evidence for its truth, especially the evidence for the resurrection. I couldn’t deny God’s claim that I was a sinner because my life reflected that clearly. When I saw that God loved me in spite of my sins, even sending His Son to die for me, I knew that this offer of forgiveness and reconciliation with God was too good to pass up. So I became a Christian - and my life changed after that.
After getting over the shell shock of it all, now no longer knowing what I was going to do with my life, I took it one step at a time. I started reading the Bible, praying, getting discipled, and serving the church, first in the children’s department, and then in college ministry. I’ve had the privilege of serving at SF State, Berkeley and then San Diego (go Tritons!). Along the way, God blessed me with my marriage to Andrea, and then our two boys. It’s been an incredible journey with God - one that is marked by His incredible grace upon my life. In 2021 God led us to Ann Arbor to plant a church at the University of Michigan (go Blue!). I love sharing my story because I love giving God the glory. I’m excited to see how God will continue to work in me and through our church here in Michigan.
Growing up, my dream was to live a comfortable life where I could do whatever I wanted, sleep as much as I wanted and not be bothered by anyone. I went to church on Sundays but in high school became cynical about whether Christianity was true. However, during my first week of college at UC Berkeley, I was invited to attend our church’s welcome event for new students. I was so amazed by the program and message that I kept coming to the weekly Bible studies and Sundays. I became convinced of the validity of the gospel and also experienced genuine love and Christ-centered community here - people who were passionate about living out God’s Word and opened up their homes and lives to me as if I were part of their own family.
To make a long story short, after graduation I went to law school, became an attorney and together my husband Will and I served bi-vocationally in various college campus groups, eventually going into full-time ministry. But what hasn’t changed over the years is my hope that many students would come to personally know Jesus, and that their lives would be forever changed as mine was in college.