New Student Senate Executive Team

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The results of the April 15 Senate Elections are in. Next years Student Senate President is  Brian Tarpy. He ran against Ricardo Traverez and James Lee. There was no contest for Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer and thus Robert Van Zanen was approved to VP, Monica Brands to Secretary, and Paula Seales to Treasurer. Here is a little about each of the new members of the Executive Team.

President Brian Tarpy: Hi, I’m Brian Tarpy. I grew up in large family of five boys and four girls. We grew up believing in God and attending Mass every few weeks. While in junior high my sister and dad invited me to a “Harvest Crusade.” At the crusade I heard about Jesus for the first time and decided to live my life for him.

Being a Christian became deeply integrated in my life. After high school I attended an unaccredited school named Calvary Chapel Bible College to hopefully become a pastor. While Bible College was great, I did not have the financial support I needed and I was forced to stop attending after one year.

I then served at the local Calvary Chapel and was employed by Turning Point Ministries for a time before being called to Guam International Christian Academy as a Bible teacher. While I was there I grew amazed by the seamless integration of tribal mysticism and Roman Catholicism.  I realized that I needed further Biblical training to be able to unravel the mess.  Shortly after, the school fell under financial hard times and was unable to pay my wages and I was forced to leave.

I enrolled at the local community college and earned my Associates degree. During this time I also met my future wife Cassidy, and we got married. I then completed my Bachelor’s degree at Multnomah University where I received a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Theology and completed a second major in Speech Communications. After a short interim we felt that I was called to Seminary. I am now a 2nd year M.Div student here.


Vice President Robert Van Zanen: Hi, my name is Robert Van Zanen. I spent my first six years of life in rural Minnesota where my father was a pastor. The next six were split between Romania and Lithuania where my parents worked as missionaries. Upon our return to the U.S. we moved to Grand Rapids where I have lived ever since.

I attended Calvin College and received a B.A. in Secondary Education, Social Studies, and History. I met my wife, Becky, the first day of school and we married after graduation. While at Calvin I was a Jubilee Fellow and went on a semester abroad in Hungary.

Last year I taught Social Studies and Bible at Calvin Christian Middle School in Grandville, MI. While I had considered seminary for some time God made it clear that it was time for me to go full time. I am currently a first year M.Div, Kerux Editor, and Student Senator.

Secretary Monica Brands: Hi, I’m Monica Brands. I grew up in the small Dutch town of Edgerton, MN on a small farm—my dad raised pigs and had a small orchard, and my mom was schoolteacher. I was an English major at Trinity Christian College in Chicago, IL, until I took a theology elective and realized theology was my true love. After graduating from Trinity with English and Theology majors, I worked as a paraeducator with children with special needs for three years. However, I couldn’t shake the sense that I was being called to further theological education and ministry experience—which brought me to CTS! I’m almost finished with my first year in the MTS program.

Treasurer Paula Seales: I’m Paula Seales, a second semester ThM student.  I’m originally from Trinidad and Tobago (famous  for the calypso song , “Hot, Hot ,Hot!”) but now Grand Rapids is my home (“Brrr..”). You know that can only be God.  But his ways are far beyond ours. He has taken me from the Good Shepherd Anglican church in Trinidad to Madison Square Christian Reformed Church; from secular interests to studies here for spiritual growth, ministry and academic proficiency; from fishing near the Atlantic sea front to fishing for souls. Life has been full of ups and downs in the joys and pains of being a mother and wife. But these experiences have helped to make me a better person so that my best offering in my role as treasurer of Senate is to represent the crucified Jesus: loving, responsible, and servant-minded.


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