From Apathy to “Axion”

AXIS Speakers Carrie and Mandy speak in unison, reciting quotes to the student body.
AXIS Speakers Carrie and Mandy speak in unison, reciting quotes to the student body.

By Victor Jeong, News Editor

The introduction of AXIS with their unorthodox approach towards faith plunged students into a unique and unfamiliar situation during Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW).

“I feel like [Daniel] understood everybody’s feelings and he was able to share his testimony with us so we could relate our lives to his life.”

Coming into a brand new year, Student Life Minister Mr. Lozano had the task of designing another successful and meaningful SEW. “Keep in mind, SEW was something that was a school program before I ever started working here. And it was expected that three days would be kinda given towards reminding ourselves of who we are as a Christian school,” Mr. Lozano voiced.

The main problem with designing a meaningful SEW was reaching out to an audience that contained an assortment of students in different stages of faith. “In the past, the big thing was to bring out a worship team and maybe getting a local speaker,” stated Mr. Lozano. The problem was that the worship team did not have enough of a long term impact on the students and their spiritual growth.

The solution for the conundrum of long term spiritual growth came in the form of an organization by the name of AXIS. “Why not bring in a different type of a team, that wasn’t a band, so that SEW wasn’t just about the music,” Mr. Lozano explained. The group would provide a different speaking platform that was more acceptable for non-believers. Mr. Lozano felt that pastors and other speakers were good at targeting the Christian audience, but fell deaf on the ears of those who weren’t quite there yet. AXIS served as a way to reach out to as many students as possible, and if it didn’t work out, GSIS could always go back to a band the next year.

Along with the hope of a more effective group, came creeping doubts within the student body. “I was pretty surprised [when I heard AXIS was coming], because singing and watching the band is really different. I honestly think watching a band is more fun, so I expected a lot out of the AXIS team,” commented Sophomore Justin Lee. Fellow second year student Eugene Song reaffirmed his doubts by saying that he “really enjoyed” the band last year and upheld “high expectations” for AXIS.

When asked about the genuineness of AXIS, Mr. Lozano assured that he spent time himself verifying the group. It wasn’t until spring of the 2012-2013 school year that Mr. Lozano was sold on bringing AXIS out.

With the passing of SEW, students and teachers alike were left to reflect on the teachings of AXIS, and their overall impact. Mr. Lozano was especially pleased with the results, mentioning that coming to Korea and being able “to fit into a pre-existing DNA of an organization” was a great feat.

Students had a change of heart after meeting AXIS and experiencing their program. “I liked them because they blended in with us,” said Sophomore John Park. The main point of attraction for AXIS seemed to be their uncanny ability to meld with the student body. “I feel like [Daniel] understood everybody’s feelings and he was able to share his testimony with us so we could relate our lives to his life,” remarked Justin. Eugene also voiced an observation, by mentioning that AXIS was “very communicative” with interactions not only amongst themselves but with the student body overall. “It allowed students to think critically,” explained Eugene. AXIS seemed to reach to many, regardless of faith or personal beliefs, and it was noticed by the students.

With the success of AXIS, and the passing of another meaningful SEW, lingering questions about next year remained whether GSIS would go back to a band or bring back something like AXIS again. “I think [AXIS] would be a great addition to our SEW program next year,” replied Mr. Lozano after being questioned about a possible return from the team. “It would be nice if AXIS came back next year to talk again,” concluded Justin.

Mr. Lozano said that the “AXIS approach” allowed students that were more closed to “get in the conversation.” “What I’m going for is long term change in the community,” stressed Mr. Lozano. “The door is wide open for AXIS [to return].”