By Lyndsey Perino Arendsee ’84
I feel so fortunate to have been able to attend Westmont and graduate with the class of 1984. As I read the articles in the Westmont magazine and reflect upon the relationships I established as a student, I realize that my family is still reaping the benefits of the “Westmont connection.”
While serving my three-year term as elder at Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church in Coronado, Calif., I was asked to participate on the associate pastor search committee. Our goal was to find a youth pastor for the young families and a caregiver for the elderly needs in the church — a tough combination. Month after month went by and, finally, in December 1998, a very special resume came across the fax machine. Lisa Steele Johnson was five months from ordination at Princeton Theological Seminary and hoped to return to Southern California and be near her family.
The committee rejoiced, and I was so hopeful after seeing where Lisa had completed her undergraduate degree: Westmont College, class of 1995. The wonderful end to this story is that the members of the search committee welcomed Lisa and her husband, Steve Johnson ’95, to the church, and she is our associate pastor.
The blessing for me has been working side-by-side with Lisa as missions chair. I went to Mexico with 16 of our youth and Lisa last summer on a week-long mission trip with Yugo Ministries. Daily I was amazed at Lisa’s maturity, compassion, energy and love not only for the Mexican people, but for the kids from our church who have grown to respect and love her.
My 13-year-old daughter Allyson [pictured above with the Johnsons] started youth group this year and will not miss a Tuesday evening with Lisa and her friends at church. Lisa’s smile, her birthday cards, hugs, love of music ( I am now a Supertones fan!), enthusiasm and commitment to assisting our kids in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ will never go unnoticed.
I now realize that when we attend Westmont, it is for life! The friendships and connections made then will continue to weave in and out of our lives. My daughters have a wonderful role model, and my husband and I have made two new friends, Lisa and Steve Johnson. I hope students will be mindful of their time spent building relationships and forming those lasting connections.
Lyndsey, a stay-at-home mother with two children, serves as president of the Coronado Schools Foundation. Her husband, Allan, is the president of his own company, A.W. Arendsee Commercial Real Estate.