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From Papua to the Pacific Northwest

PHOTO COURTESY OF JACINDA BASINGER

SEATTLE IS A FAR CRY from the humid jungle rainforest of Papua, Indonesia, for Maria Weya, Frans Agapa, Filia Rifurareany, and Jidon Yeimo. All four students came to SPU in fall 2021 on full scholarships from the Indonesian government.

Maria Weya is excited to be at SPU, but admits it wasn’t an easy adjustment. “I wanted to come here because it’s where Jacinda and Matt attended,” she said.

Jacinda Wiley Basinger ’02, and her husband, Matt Basinger ’03, are missionaries in Papua, Indonesia, and it is through their education work on the island that these students found their way to Seattle Pacific University. (Read more about the Basingers’ work on page 35.)

Weya, a global development major, appreciates the diversity of SPU’s student body, its proximity to downtown Seattle, and meeting people from around the world. “In all of the struggles I face here, it’s faith that keeps me strong. I pray. And I call Jacinda, and she counsels me,” Weya said.

Weya says she’s also found a community of people — from her resident advisor, Noha, to her faculty advisor, Assistant Professor of Global Development Mohammad Qadam Shah — eager to assist. “Everyone’s very open and wants to help,” she said. “My family is very proud of me as their firstborn woman who can go to college outside the country. There are so many struggles in Papua for its development, politics, justice system, and economy. I want to be educated so I can be used by God to bless the people of Papua.”

Frans, a computer science major, is the social justice director for Hill Hall’s area council. He plays intramural basketball, soccer, and volleyball, and
he holds down several campus jobs, including working as a library assistant and as a staff member for athletic events. He attends Every Nation Church Seattle, where he sings on the worship team.

Frans expected his computer science professors to be serious, but they surprised him. “One of my professors, Carlos Arias, is so funny. I thought the professors wouldn’t even smile. He likes making jokes while he’s lecturing.” Frans is pondering a career in machine learning. Filia Rifurareany is an apparel design major. Jidon Yeimo is an engineering student.

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