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Life Together

Every spring, a phenomenon would hit the Westmont campus. Dorm lounges would be packed with students spending every spare moment practicing dance moves, rehearsing songs and creating outrageous costumes. It was time for Spring Sing.

More than the skits or faculty cameos or debates about why guys are always funnier than girls, Spring Sing created a bond among students like none other. If none of our family or friends would have showed up to watch us, I still think we would have performed every number for each other! At Westmont, we learned the value of doing life together and the importance of community.

Some fellow alumni, Nate & Kristin (Rushforth) Ritzau, continued to learn this lesson after graduation. Here's a brief update on their journey after leaving Westmont:

Give us a brief update on your lives and what keeps you busy during the week.
Our lives are very full as we bought a fixer-upper home outside of Pasadena, California and have been pouring into it since 2008. Currently we are in the midst of transforming our home into an urban homestead. Our week includes taking care of seven chickens, nine vegetable beds, and trying to live as sustainably as possible.

Photo of Nate and Kristin Ritzau

As for our day jobs, Nate is an Educational Resource Specialist at World Vision International. Kristin works part time at Azusa Pacific University in Student Life and also is an author, speaker, and spiritual director with her ministry A Beautiful Mess, which focuses on Self-Care and Spiritual Formation for women wrestling with perfectionism.

How did Westmont shape and prepare you for the work you do now?
Nate - Westmont helped me see beyond just my own perspective and how foundational and essential relationships are. These two valuable lessons manifest themselves continually in my work relating to colleagues from around the world and serving those who are poor and oppressed.

Kristin - My love of working with college students started in Student Life at Westmont. It was the first loving Christ-centered community I had been part of and to be able to keep doing that as a job, well, I can't thank Westmont enough! Additionally, because of the liberal arts education, even though I was a Communication Studies major and Business Economics minor, I had exposure to writing and theology that definitely play a huge role in my vocation now.

How has your view of God changed since leaving Westmont?
It definitely has deepened for us. We both have gone to Fuller Theological Seminary and in our time there it has reemphasized just how much we do not know and how much bigger God is than we had ever imagined. For us, our faith bleeds into every activity of our life, from our food, to going to gardening classes with our neighbor, to going to church four blocks from our home, to having one car, to living out what we believe in an incarnational way ... and by taking risks, we are trying to live out our vocation of living to work and not working to live. That is what we feel Christ did and we can do that alongside our neighbors by letting our community shape us. We don't have it all figured out by any means, but we understand more now the missional life of Jesus that welcomed and included the outcast and marginalized.

It's been over six years since we left Westmont. Where do you sense God is leading you for the next six years of life?
The last six have been incredibly unpredictable, so we're up for the unexpected. Kristin dreams of having a couple of goats, but that dream aside, we're hoping to invest more of our lives into our home and our community. In a world where people feel called to go (and that is totally fine), we feel called to stay. It's rare to be part of a community for a long time through the ebbs and flows these days, but for now that is all we have decided. Presently, Nate hopes to finish his Master's degree in Cross-Cultural Studies and Kristin is headed to the classroom as an adjunct faculty member teaching writing and leadership in the Fall; she also desires to start working on another book about their homesteading life.

If you could leave the Class of 2004 with one message, what would it be?
Nate says, "Stay classy Westmont." On a serious note, remember your dreams of the intentional lives we were encouraged to live out while at Westmont. What is easy isn't always what is right and living a life of risk is worth it.

What is your favorite dorm memory?
Nate - Epic Mario Kart battles, late night Jack-In-the-Box runs (2 tacos and a chicken sandwich for $2!), and occasional pranks involving roadkill, but what I remember most was the reoccurring privilege it was living with incredible friends.

Kristin - Spring Sing 2001 Page Hall. Phobias - those were some good laughs! I loved being an RA in VK. The staff that year was so amazing to work with and there are some great memories there. I remember when we went to East Beach to watch the sunrise. It was a tiny slice of heaven watching the world wake-up with such a postcard scene around all of us. We were all struck silent, but also had such a great bonding moment in that time. Pazooki nights in the VK kitchen weren't bad either!

We want to help you stay connected to your Westmont community! Here are a few ways to keep in touch:

- This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Spring Sing!. You're invited to attend this year's Spring Sing on April 2 at 6:30 in the Santa Barbara Bowl. More information can be found here. In preparation for this year's celebration, WestmontImpact.org is showcasing videos of some of the best Spring Sing skits over the last 20+ years. Check out the skits at westmontimpact.org/blog/.
- Westmont is working to be a great resource for us in our careers, ministries, and friendships. We as alumni can be a resource for one another by sharing the skills and opportunities we know of with other alumni. If you're looking for work or Christian networking opportunities, reply to this email with your information. Or, for those of you who know of an opening at your business, church, etc, please send that information in as well. I'll collect your responses and put them in our next newsletter.

Thank you for taking the time to stay connected with your fellow alumni! I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve as your Class Agent and to have shared four years with you all at Westmont, costumes and all. Take care!

Alair Conner, M.A.
Class Agent for 2004

Growing in Grace and Faith: Waking Up

1984 alumnus James Banks reflects on how God has grown his heart since his time at Westmont:

Cari (Dotres) and I left Westmont over 25 years ago, but some memories are as vivid as if they happened yesterday. Read more.
Alumni Prayer Requests

Email your prayer requests to classagents@westmont.edu.

Please join the campus community in praising God for provision and seeking grace for a strong end to the semester, students dealing with family issues, and for those who have to leave Westmont for financial or other reasons.
Spring Sing: 50th Anniversary

Spring Sing will celebrate its 50th Anniversary on April 2 at the Santa Barbara Bowl. For more information, click here.

Westmont Athletics

Catch up on the latest news from Westmont Warrior Sports by visiting their website at westmont.edu/athletics.

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