Stories of Transformation


Vennyei MedallionMA in Martial and Family Therapy, Class of 2015

My Western story really began in India back in 2005. I was working as a youth pastor in my local church when a group of American doctors, nurses, and students came to our town to provide a free medical camp. Among that group was a young, beautiful U.C. Davis engineering student named Kate who after three years would become my wife. I came to the U.S.A. in 2008 and got married to this woman I met back in India in 2005.

Like any newcomer to this country, I too was struggling to find a job, fit in, and of course experiencing culture shock. Not too long after I got married, I found a job at a group home for troubled teens. I worked as a direct care staff dealing with very challenging behaviors with minimal experience and education. I also volunteered at University Covenant Church in Davis as a co-leader for high school youth ministry.

Over the years of my employment at the group home, I had come to love working with teens and as challenging as it was, I found being able to help troubled teens change their lives to be greatly rewarding. Even with all my passion and interest in the field though, there was something missing — the right kind of education. Prior to coming to the United States, I had completed graduate school in India but that didn't really seem to align with the direction I wanted to go with my new found career interest.

At first, I looked around the area for grad schools with social work, clinical psychology, and marital and family therapy degrees. I have to say Western was not on my list — I didn't even know the name of the school. I can't recall exactly how, but someone introduced me to this small yet unique institution, and the rest is history.

My Western journey has been life changing in terms of my spirituality and profession. I have always loved science and theology and have always been fascinated with how opposite these two subjects are, yet they remain intrinsically connected. The integration of psychology and theology taught at Western is extraordinary. Western has taught me to not simply learn about God but to know him and to live out His word among people.

My spiritual transformation happened not when I learned about theology and psychology, but when I experienced the genuine love and care of professors and fellow students. These friends stood by me during my struggles with assignments and projects, and most importantly when my mom passed away in the middle of my program.

The knowledge and experience I gained at Western has brought me an opportunity to help people who are mentally, emotionally, and relationally struggling. It is immensely fulfilling to be a tiny part in someone's journey of healing and restoration. I fall short every day in living out the Word of God; nevertheless, it's a joy to try every day to be His light. 

Thanks to Western for enabling me to be what I wanted to be. I'm excited for the possibility and opportunity ahead! 


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Western Seminary is an accredited graduate school founded in 1927. It offers trustworthy and accessible training for gospel-centered transformation at both the graduate credit and personal enrichment levels for those currently serving, or aspiring to serve, in key ministry leadership roles. The Western system consists of four campuses (Portland, OR; San Jose and Sacramento, CA; and Online) and a teaching site (Seattle, WA) that together serve approximately 950 credit students annually.