About three years ago, Nicholas Lozito was giving a sermon when he felt strongly impressed to be a chaplain. “It was an afternoon service,” Nicholas says. “God put this on my heart, and that night I was looking at schools.”
The nearest Seventh-day Adventist college was four hours away from his home in Central California. After praying and researching, Nicholas discovered the distance education program at Andrews University. “I feel like sometimes God says, ‘Start walking. Listen to me. Just start walking, and I will open up the doors for you.’ I just trusted God.”
This was not the first time that God had called Nicholas. Earlier in his life, Nicholas spent about 10 years traveling to 60 different countries. During this time, he did a variety of things, including teaching English to Burmese refugees and living on a remote tea farm in China. While in China, Nicholas learned how to pick tea. This led him to start a tea business that provides tea to thousands of stores.
“Tea is a beverage to us here in America, but to many people and cultures it is a lifestyle, a literal pastime. Through tea, I learned to sit with people and talk and enjoy one another,” he reflects. “I’ve been able to use tea to share Christ with people.”
Nicholas was still involved with the tea business, Misty Peak Teas, when he chose to pursue an undergraduate religion degree through Andrews University’s distance education program. This option allowed him flexibility to spend an average of five or six hours each night on coursework in addition to running his business and spending time with his wife and two young children.
“It’s a huge blessing that this is even an option now... I literally wouldn’t have the choice if not for online education,” he says. Earning his degree has been a challenge, but he feels supported by Andrews faculty and staff. “I feel like if I came there [to the Andrews campus], I would be welcomed.”
While studying, Nicholas was offered an opportunity to be a chaplain at a children’s hospital for an eight-month program. This gave him the opportunity to visit thousands of sick patients and their families. Seeing a wide range of experiences helped him understand that each person can benefit from someone listening and ministering to them through their pain.
Following his time at the children’s hospital, Nicholas was hired as a youth pastor. He continues to pursue his degree and hopes to graduate in December 2018. Although he doesn’t know exactly where God will lead him next, he is willing to keep walking through the doors God chooses to open.
“Through tea, through travel, through ALL of my life, God has blessed,” comments Nicholas. “He is using me, and I am finally realizing how to let Him use all that is me to preach to those whom I may be able to relate or minister to because of who I am and who I was.”