How I learned that the Lord uses our weaknesses or shortcomings to make us stronger


On March 27, 2019, I woke up with a nervous feeling in my stomach. It was decision day and all Azusa Pacific students were about to find out if they obtained any of the student leadership positions they applied to. As I headed to my first class of the day, I still felt sick. 

I opened up my computer to get ready for class and there it was, an email labeled “Resident Advisor Selection Update.” I wanted to open it and get it over with, but I also didn’t want to be devastated if I didn’t get the job. With one click, I found out I was going to be an RA in the Shire Mods for the 2019-2020 school year. 

I ran out of the class to call my mom. 



Being an RA has taught me a lot this year and though it was cut short, here are some of those highlights. 

It all started with Walkabout, a five-day backpacking trip that all the RAs participated in to get close to God and prepare for the year they were about to face. It sounds like a fun experience, and it was, but I was extremely terrified.

I was 100 percent convinced I was going to be the first person to die on that trip. I was placed on Team Raccoon and we headed for the hills of Yosemite. We had a quick pit stop at one of the rest stops before heading to the trail and during this time, I freaked out. How was I supposed to climb up this mountain with no hiking experience? 

I went in with an open mind and tried to make the best of it. I had fallen asleep as we headed up and when I woke up, I saw tall trees, a cute little river and my team. Through literally hundreds of mosquito bites, throwing up the second and third day and sleeping on the floor, I walked out ready to take on Welcome Weekend with my staff.

My staff consisted of 14 people (12 RAs, one Assistant Residential Director and one Area Coordinator). I felt good about my staff. We got along and were able to have productive and fun conversations about our jobs. However, that fun didn’t stop us from having serious or heart-to-heart conversations. 

I  only had one negative experience with my staff which involved some mouse traps, but we won’t talk about that. We had an interesting dynamic. Some of us were loud, while others were quiet, some calm and others ecstatic. I thought this would blow up in our faces but to my surprise, it only made us a more close-knit group. 

Before I even realized it, Welcome Weekend rolled around and I felt quite nervous. What if my residents found me annoying? What if they didn’t like me? What if they didn’t show up? Behind all these fears, I was eager to meet all my residents and I ended up with an interesting group. I mean that in a good way. 

I was assigned to H-Court in the Shire Mods, which tends to have the most transfer students. I was excited to work with transfers. I ended up having six second-year students and 15 transfer students. I was amazed that these students actually liked me. I was told that most of them might ignore me, but I was blown away at the amount of them who would text me or want to grab coffee or lunch with me. 

Candelario Plascencia did not expect to grow as close to his court’s residents or fellow student leaders.

Most of my residents ended up becoming more than residents: they became my sisters and brothers, rooted in Christ. I can see myself inviting most of them to my wedding, meeting my future children and being in my life for a very long time.  

Other than creating lifelong friendships, I also grew a bit closer to God. One night on Walkabout, I wrote down many things in my life that I considered to be weaknesses. Whether it was growing up without a father or dealing with medical issues, I saw many aspects of my life as flaws. At that time, I had written down “These things, to me, make me weak but now, I get to use them for good.” 

Throughout my year as an RA, I found so many things that I considered negative morph into something positive. I saw my experience with a rough roommate and dealing with a toxic relationship help someone. I never saw anything good coming from these situations, but God took those rough times to bring joy to someone else through me. It’s an incredible feeling. 

The Lord uses our weakness or shortcomings for a reason. He uses them to bring strength or hope to others. This is seen in 2 Corinthians 1:4, which reads, “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” There are some out there who struggle to feel the comfort God sends them and God calls us to show them the same comfort that he shows us. 

To the staff I had by my side, the residents I got to live with and our Father, thank you so much for an amazing experience. Thank you for helping me grow and preparing me to do it again for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Goodbye Shire Mods, hello Trinity Hall.