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Spiritual Life

Speaker Biobiographies

Dr. Randal Wisbey

Randal R. Wisbey has served as La Sierra University’s third president since 2007. Dr. Wisbey’s career in higher education spans 27 years.  He came to La Sierra from Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University) in Takoma Park, Maryland, where he served as president for seven years. Prior to his presidency at Columbia Union College, Dr. Wisbey served for two years as president of Canadian University College in Alberta, Canada. As a result of his leadership, enrollment grew by nearly a third, and the institution focused its efforts on a new strategic future with significant community partnership and development.

Dr. Wisbey earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC in 1990.  He also earned a Master of Divinity degree from the SDA Theological Seminary at Andrews University in 1984, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from Walla Walla College in 1980.

He is married to Deanna Clay Wisbey, an adjunct professor at La Sierra and at Sam Walton Fellow for Enactus.  Their son and daughter-in-law, Alexander and Leslie, are 2011 La Sierra University alums.  As a family, they have enjoyed traveling throughout Europe, Israel and Egypt, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Central and South America.  They love adventure hiking, having completed the Mont Blanc Circuit and the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.

Chris Oberg

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.

Sam Leonor

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. His ministry is marked by a call to radical faith in Jesus. He loves finding ways to engage culture deeply for the sake of Jesus. His hobbies include making music, eating good food, and having good conversations with family and friends.

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).



Dany Hernandez

Dany Hernandez currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Life Source Adventist Fellowship in Denver,  In the past has also served, as the Young Adult Pastor at the Forest Lake Church in Apopka FL and in the capacity of Academy Chaplain, and Worship Pastor. He lives with the idea of one day standing before Jesus and saying "I tried everything!" He has a degree from Southern Adventist University as well as Andrews University. Dany is married to Lori and has triplet girls Elli, Gabi, and Tori. When he is not working or with his family you will find him suffering up some Colorado mountains  on his bike or on a quiet stream flyfishin



Olive Aneno

Olive Aneno grew up in Kitgum District, Northern Uganda in an environment of extreme poverty. She accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at the age of 5 after her grandfather, an Anglican Pastor, shared the Word with her.   At the age of 6, she was forced to hide in the forest alone at night to escape the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels who terrorized her hometown.

At the age of 8, she moved to the capital city Kampala to join her mother. It was at this time, that she began attending one of Compassion’s child development centers at a local church, beginning a lifelong process which changed the course of her life.  Her mother, a single mom and her oldest aunt who had 5 children, both died while Olive was a young girl, forcing her, her siblings, and cousins to fend for themselves.

Olive obtained a volleyball scholarship to play at South Carolina State University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.  She continued her studies through a scholarship to the University of Georgia where she graduated in 2007 with a Master’s Degree.  She currently lives with her family in Georgia and is a practicing social worker with the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services.

Olive still has the first letter that her Australian sponsors wrote to her.  Though orphaned and poor as a young girl, Olive’s story is one of hope and redemption.

Miguel Mendez

Miguel Mendez has the privilege to serve as the senior pastor of Calexico Church in the Southeastern California Conference. Born in Southern California, Miguel has a Mexican, Cuban, and Honduran heritage and represents the mix of cultures that characterize the hispanic people that reside in the United States. Miguel graduated from La Sierra University in 2007 with a BA in Religion and in 2009 with a MA in Ethics and Old Testament. Miguel now lives in El Centro, California, where, with his wife Linda and beautiful son Micah, continues to bask in the scandal of grace.


Azim Khamisa

Azim Khamisa is a speaker and author of three books, the latest one being "The Secrets of the Bulletproof Spirit: How to Bounce Back from Life's Hardest Hits", published by Random House and coauthored with Jillian Quinn.

Committing his life to halting the continuing cycle of violence among the youth, Khamisa became a social activist after his son's murder. His first book, "From Murder to Forgiveness" is about the death of his son. Khamisa founded the Tariq Khamisa Foundation to break the cycle of youth violence.

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Spiritual Life Office

La Sierra University

4500 Riverside Parkway
Riverside, CA 92515





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