Podcast Shares Authentic Conversations that Spark Intimacy with God

In Passing’ is an initiative of Andrews University’s Center for Faith Engagement.

Gillian Panigot, Andrews University and Lake Union Herald
Podcast Shares Authentic Conversations that Spark Intimacy with God
“In Passing,” a podcast of the Center for Faith Engagement at Andrews University. [Photo: courtesy of the Center for Faith Engagement]

In 2022, the Andrews University Center for Faith Engagement in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, launched “In Passing.” It is a podcast whose aim is to spark a sense of intimacy with God by uncovering the beauty of humanity through stories of students at Andrews University.

The podcast was hosted by Kendra Miranda with co-hosts Isaac Peterson and Raabe Garcia, all Andrews students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. In March 2022, during their first “In Passing” episode, Miranda, Peterson, and Garcia explained that as they made plans for the podcast, the title came naturally.

Garcia said, “We were thinking about, ‘What’s the thing that happens every day when you go to a place?’ You pass by so many people. And the reality is we don’t get enough time to actually sit down and talk with them.… This [podcast] is a space where we don’t have to just pass by quickly, but we can take some time to get to know each other.” 

In further explaining the goals and mission of the podcast, Miranda noted the story of the blind beggar in Luke 18, where Jesus was just passing by — but He healed the man. He passed by with intention. “We’re wanting to dive into the reality that we can pass by people with intention,” Miranda said. “With purpose. With expectation. With confidence.… It’s not a bad thing to pass by. It’s just where our hearts are at and what we’re doing with that passing by. Jesus was someone who passed by, and He passed by in the most beautiful ways that were life-changing to the people around Him. And we are here to do the same.” 

Throughout Season 1, each episode focused on the theme of “seasons.” The team wanted to inspire community, change, and relationships, and help individuals recognize that no matter the season of life, good or bad, no one should navigate a situation alone. Student guests spoke to belonging, finding purpose and success, times of questioning and transition, developing confidence, and moving forward. 

Prescott Khair, associate chaplain for the Center for Faith Engagement, worked with the podcast hosts. He says, “In the times we live, it is easy to forget that our individual stories can create moments of shared connection. Season one of the ‘In Passing’ podcast served as a space where students could share about the season in which they probed the larger questions of life and transitions into young adulthood. As an office dedicated to the faith engagement of our campus community, this provided one more opportunity for our students to express and share how their faith played a significant role in these moments. Storytelling is part of Andrews University’s strategic focus, as well, and this was one way we operationalized it on the student level.”

New Host, Same Focus

During the 2022–2023 school year, the role of podcast host was picked up by Angel Pereira, a Master of Divinity student in his last year at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. Pereira had made it his mission to get to know people on campus — he served as an administrative pastor for New Life Fellowship and hosted the campus Talent Show and banquets. When he heard of the “In Passing” host opening, he thought, “What better way to get to know more people?” 

Pereira met with chaplain Prescott to brainstorm the year’s theme. They recognized that college is a time of growth through transition for all students, as some are moving from high school to university and others are finishing their schooling and moving into adulthood and the “real world.” They settled on the idea of “growth in the gray areas.” 

Pereira and producer Isaí Ramirez developed a long list of student guests. “I interviewed a group of friends who had been friends from freshman year to senior year,” Pereira said. “That was probably one of the most listened-to episodes as they talked about how rare it is to have the same group of friends for so long. I interviewed an ex-military Buddhist about being at Andrews as a non-Adventist. God really put people in my path.” 

It was evident, too, that God was not only guiding who to feature on Season 2 of the podcast but how conversations would develop. Pereira saw shy students step out of their comfort zone and genuinely be themselves. He also recalls an episode in which he talked with a friend who was at a spot in her relationship with God where she was questioning a lot. “When I asked her to be on the podcast, she agreed but said she may not say the nicest things about God,” he said. “She ended up not saying a single thing that was controversial. We just had a conversation about life and where she is on her journey. She said she came into the process with a bad attitude and thought she’d take the opportunity to express her anger toward God, but it never came out.” 

As intended, the podcast setting provided a safe space for community. And Pereira recognized his own personal growth as a result — in seeing God’s leading but also in developing skills as a conversationalist with a purpose. “It was wonderful,” he said.   

“Andrews University’s Center for Faith Engagement is committed to providing opportunities and spaces for students to engage with faith in meaningful ways. The ‘In Passing’ podcast represents one such student-led opportunity,” Prescott said. “The equipment and studio will remain available for other students to engage in telling the stories of faith and community. As an office we remain wholly committed to inspiring resilient disciples of God, and telling stories of faith through digital media is just one avenue we have to make that mission a tangible reality.” 

This story is based on the version posted by the Lake Union Herald.

Gillian Panigot, Andrews University and Lake Union Herald