Faith, Hope, and Messiah College

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In coming to Messiah College, I expected to make some really good friends because people always said that your lifetime friends are the ones that you meet in college. I expected to love my classes and love going to class. I expected campus to be different and I expected to be pretty involved on campus. I was very involved in high school so I kind of assumed that I would be in college too.

Surprisingly, I did feel a culture shock. I grew up in an all-white community. And my race was never a big deal. And then I came to Messiah and I became very aware that I racially am different than the majority of students.

I miss my mom’s cooking. I miss good home cooked meals. And I miss just the comfort ability of being home and being in my stomping ground.

Since coming to college this is the first time that I’ve ever had female friends. In high school I had three of four female friends. Now I have mostly female friends. There has been a drastic shift in that. Some of my friends are white some of my friends are Asian. I have Hispanic friends. I have a wide variety of friendships as far as all of those things go. I have friends from other countries and friends from other states and ages, and professors even.

My reaction in coming to Messiah College as a freshman was that it was scary,overwhelming and exciting. I cried when my mom left me after convocation. During the candlelight service I definitely cried. I adjusted well and quickly which was nice.

My favorite Quote: Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.

My favorite scripture is 1 Corinthians 13:13 “Three things with last forever. Faith Hope and Love. And the greatest of these is Love.

In 10 years I will be 30. Living alone with my cats. But really, I hope to be living in an urban setting. Be that Philly or Williamsport or York. Somewhere close to home but in the city working with teens  and youth ministry with teens between the ages of 14 and 18.

My favorite thing about Messiah College is the opportunities. You have to try very hard to be bored around here. Between the minority clubs you have opportunity to try new food and learn about new cultures. Through study abroad you can go to new cultures and meet new people and go to new places. You can learn what it means to be a diverse body of Christ.

The Road To Justice

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In coming to Messiah College, I didn’t know what to expect. But with the title, Messiah I was expecting a campus that would enhance my faith and provide me with a strong education.

Coming from Zimbabwe it’s impossible not to have a culture shock when you arrive in America let alone a little city in Pennsylvania.  Everything from the food to the air to the very people I encountered required me to adapt and learn.

I don’t necessarily miss anything about home. I don’t ever feel as though I should ever miss anything. Home is not lost. I will return to it at some point. People are not lost. I will met them again eventually.

Every day I walk out of my room knowing that someone will say something, do something, and look at me a certain way because their eyes perceive that I am different from them. In class, comments like “you speak really good English” and “do you guys have like…houses” may be said with good intentions, even with the intentions of trying to make me laugh, but they are microaggressions nonetheless. Keep in mind that this is just a small segment of my entire time here. The effort and time professors and faculty take to drive into the heads of students that even when they think they couldn’t learn anything more about how they address differences, there is always some way to improve. I find it funny how a beanie or a hoodie can clear my path if I walk down the clearly unsafe streets of Messiah College in rural Pennsylvania [ I am being sarcastic]

Everything is different to me. Even that which is familiar. There is a clear distinction between me and my fellow Africans on campus. My friends from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Niger look familiar but are a world unknown to me. The Americans are a brilliant type of strangeness to me. They outnumber us A hundred to one. And yet, are so different within themselves. It’s amazing to me how they manage to acknowledge the difference between themselves and yet have enough concern to acknowledge my struggle in understanding them as a whole. From those who live just across the road to those Americans who feel excluded from the title of American because they sit south of the equator.

It was wonderful coming to Messiah College as a freshmen student. It’s a wonderful community. The professors are just brilliant and take the time to understand you. The students are what I imagined a typical college student to be like. But it’s the campus. There is something about the campus that just makes you feel at home. There is a warmth and a sense of security that makes you feel rooted.

In 10 years I will be where God wants me to be. My hope is that God’s plan looks somewhat like this: I will be a lawyer working and creating connections so that I will be able to move up the ranks and find myself as a prosecutor or defense attorney for my nation and leaders of nations who are being accused of crimes they have not committed.  Ideally, I would only reach this pinnacle after handling cases of great injustice against social groups, nations, and minorities. The biggest of these are colossal franchises who feed off of poverty, industries that make profit off of national conflicts. My vocation is simple, it is do dismantle enemies of justice to unravel the worlds eyes to those powers and principalities that sit and fester on thrones that were designed to benefit those they serve. It’s not all doom and gloom though. Although my life will be dedicated to such a morbid task, I am hopeful that God will bless me with the courage to join my best friend on her journey through life and help her achieve her vocation as she helps me [ and thrown in a couple of kids].

The one thing I adore most about Messiah College is the foundation it provides me. It has given me my own faith, and not that of my parents, not that of my pastors, but simply my own understanding of who God is and why I believe what I believe.

I’m My Own General

In coming to Messiah College as a first-year student, I expected it to be focused internationally. I came to the school for the study abroad programs. I wanted a really strong international tie. It was my main focus. I obviously wanted to have fun & all that stuff. I didn’t feel a culture shock in coming to Messiah College.  I grew up in this area so I know the demographics in this area and this was to be expected. I don’t miss anything about home. I’m not a homebody.

When asked if people look at her differently because of the color of her skin or because of where she is from, Brooke replied “No”.

In describing her friend group, Brooke notes that it’s diverse. She said, “I think that goes into my initial idea of Messiah. I really love learning about different cultures and people from different cultures and I feel like my friend group reflects that”.

As a senior, looking back on her freshmen year seemed like so long ago. Brooke remembered that it was exciting meeting so many new people. The first few days of welcome week were filled with time getting to know everyone and a lot of fun! I’m a go-getter. I was excited to jump in and get started with everything that college was about.

As for Christianity at Messiah College, they have a lot of avenues that they give people to grow in their faith. It’s left up to the discretion of the individual and some people choose to ignore all the avenues completely.

This quote has been my guiding force: “I’m my own general”. I take things & I’m a go-getter. I go after things. I like that quote. As for Scripture: I like the overall emphasis of Jesus’ mission of social justice and caring for the poor. How he went to the outcast of society & ministered to them. That’s a strong message that I try to emanate today.

In 10 years, I will have my master’s degree. Hopefully I will be enrolled in a PhD program. I want to live abroad. I want to work abroad, hopefully in East Africa or Eastern Congo. I want to working on grassroots nonprofit level with the mindset of peaceful resolution and justice.

My favorite thing, oh snap! My favorite thing about Messiah…I don’t know if I can choose one. There are so many different things. When I came I wanted to get the most out of my education as possible. I really enjoy the education abroad. I like to focus on global engagement. I like to focus on social justice. I really do like the community aspect of it. How everyone is here and how there is this greater community of the college as a whole and then your little community of friends. It would be harder at a different university where people start living off campus and you see less of people. It would be harder to have that connection.

I didn’t get involved until last year in the Multicultural Programs. I didn’t feel like I could because I was Caucasian. I was wrong. Since becoming involved it’s been great. I’ve made so many more friends. I feel like I can have an avenue of being able to practice something that I am really passionate about and I really try to strive for in my own life.

The Messiah Trail

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In coming to Messiah College, I expected a school with a close-knit community. Where I can have close relationships with my professors and friends.

I miss being in the city. I didn’t go through a culture shock in coming to Messiah College. If anything, it was difficult moving from a city where everything is accessible, to a place where I can’t go anywhere if I don’t have a car. I miss the convenience of being close to everything.

When asked if people look differently at him because of the color of his skin, or because of where he is from, Top responded with, “maybe, a little bit”. Top noted that “It’s not necessarily a bad thing always. But I do know that sometimes there’s a difference”.  He did think that he sees it in sports, but eventually people get to know who he is.

My core group of friends are mostly Americans. But we do have different ethnicities mixed within our friend group. I have friends who are half Philippino, half Mexican, half Pakistani, and I have a British roommate as well. And then I have all my international friends.

When I came to Messiah College my freshmen year, the biggest thing I realized was the explosion of freedom. All of a sudden I’m out of my dorm room at 1 or 2 in the morning and nobody says anything. At home I would be inside the house at 10pm. When I came to college I discovered that there is no limit at anything. No one tells me what to do. I have to manage my own time and set my own schedule.

As a Christian College I think that Messiah College does pretty good to be honest. I feel like Messiah gives us enough room to develop our own faith and gives us a chance to even shatter our faith and put it back together under a stronger foundation.  Messiah isn’t too restricting that religion feels forced, but at the same time it offers enough encouragement to grow spiritually.

In 10 years I will be at my surgical residency.  I want to be in the city, possibly, Boston, New York, or California. I would like to go to a prestigious University such as Harvard, Columbia, or Stanford.

My favorite thing about Messiah College is the people to be honest. The people and the dynamic you get here. You recognize people that go to your school. You may not know all of them, but it’s not too big that you see strangers all the time. It’s not too small that you see the same people every day. People are pretty nice. I feel pretty safe. I can leave my valuables on the table and it will still be there when I get back. People are honest. People are encouraging spiritually as well.

Some of my favorite quotes are:

A ship is safe in a harbor, but that’s not what it’s built for.

When things aren’t working out as you wish be patient, stop trying to move ahead of God, His timing is perfect.

Do not go where the path may lead go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Messiah College From the Eyes of Bryan

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Bryan is the President of the Asian Student Association on Messiah College’s Campus.

In coming to Messiah College, Bryan had a long flight of 27 hours from Malaysia to Pennsylvania. He made stops at JFK Airport, and in London which he loves. He wasn’t alone on his journey. He traveled with his girlfriend, friend Phoebe, and his other friend. They all went to high school together and were traveling to the United States to two different schools. When asked if he experienced a culture shock, Bryan noted that he didn’t experience any culture shock. He exclaimed “there is Hollywood in Malaysia”. We get an idea of what the United States is like in Asia. It also helped that Bryan had been to the states before when he was younger so he wasn’t surprised. In discussing the culture at Messiah, Bryan did note that a major difference in culture was asking people “hey, how are you?” and expecting a reply. Bryan claimed that he tried doing that a few times and would watch people briefly answer and keep walking. It took him a little while to get used to this.

Of the Christian culture at Messiah College, Bryan felt that the campus didn’t meet his expectations of what Christianity would be like at Messiah College. He said it’s “not a perfect little nominal”. Bryan was expecting something different. He went to a Christian high school which was much different and he expected something similar to help him grow. Bryan expected to have an education that would teach him how to handle his faith in any situation and on any occasion. Bryan said “I love Messiah. It’s a great place”.  Due to the business of classes it’s easy to become complacent.

In Malaysia, high school ends at grade 11. For grade 12, Bryan went to a Christian precollege where they didn’t just accept Christians. There was a mix of people. His faith was challenged on a frequent basis. Messiah College is mostly a Christian college. While there are some students who are not Christian, they are not the majority, they are the minority.

When asked about his friends, Bryan said that he had a safe foundation of friends in the international students at Messiah College. The international students do stick together, they know that they can always eat meals together, but Bryan also has a good amount of American friends. One of his roommates is American, and they have good times, they also have discussions about the differences between the Asian culture and the American culture. As far as being an international student on Messiah College’s campus, getting looked at differently depends on where you are from. There are a lot of Asians. Being Asian is common in American, so Bryan does not feel that he gets looked at funny. When you see Asians in the United States, it is not something that causes anyone to look at them or point them out in any kind of way.

Home is where the heart is, and Bryan misses the food and the city most in Malaysia. He said that “nothing can beat the food at home. When I was home, I did not appreciate the food at home, now I can appreciate the food at home”. Right now, Bryan plans to possibly go to grad school before going back home. In the next 10 years, Bryan will be where God wants him to be. Currently, his life is busy with 17 credits and 2 jobs. It’s definitely worth it. Bryan assured me that “God will grow him through it”. This time is very difficult, and it’s working. He’s relying on God. He gets about 5 1/2 hours of sleep every night, even on weekends, and “God is with me and for me” Bryan said. He also said that “even though I complain, I have nothing to complain about”.

Bryan ended with sharing his favorite scripture:

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

The Student Organizations

The Multicultural Programs at Messiah College houses six student organizations. The Multicultural Council encompasses the six organizations.

Multicultural Council

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Student organizations whose missions are tied to the work of Multicultural Programs (MP) through their focus on racial, ethnic, and cultural celebration and reconciliation gather together to form a common Multicultural Council under the support and advisement of both MP and Student Government Association.

“It is the mission of the Messiah College Multicultural Council to serve the entire student body through our efforts to improve campus life for all ethnic minority students. We seek to bring unification amongst our organizations and knowledge of our cultures to the Messiah College Community. In all things we will uplift Jesus as the head of our council and the Body of Christ. We pursue love. We embrace unity. We uphold the value of our understanding and our differences.”

Contact: Christina Thomas, Vice President of Diversity for the Student Government Association, and Chair of the Multicultural Council
Email: MulticulturalCouncil@messiah.edu
Website: http://www.messiah.edu/org/sga/Multicultural_Council/index.html

Advisor: Scott Hwang

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African Student Union (ASU)

This organization was established in order to emphasize the African community in Messiah: one part of Messiah’s ever growing diversity. We intend for it to foster unity between fellow Africans on campus (and off campus) as well as with other students on campus. For those who hold leadership positions in the organization, it becomes a chance to fine-tune their leadership skills, as well as giving them the chance to share their visions for Africa’s future.

Contact: Albert Mhangami , President

Email: AfricanSU@messiah.edu

Advisors: Wanda Thuma-McDermond and David Dzaka

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Asian Student Association (ASA)

The Asian Student Association seeks to teach the college community, and specifically those who relate to being Asian/Asian American, the foundations of the Bible within a culturally-sensitive context.

Contact: Bryan Ji Yang Leong, President
Email: ASA@messiah.edu

Advisor: Tim Ferret

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Black Student Union (BSU)

This organization provides a venue for all interested students to learn about the realities affecting people in the black community both on campus and beyond.

BSU is committed to:Fostering an environment of self-awareness, Providing opportunities for students to engage in social, political, and educational forum, Providing opportunities to address issues affecting the Black community, and Promoting an environment of unity among black students and all members of our campus community.

Contact: Alaina Byers, President

Email: BlackStudentUnion@messiah.edu

Advisor: Cathy Coleman

International Student Association/MuKappa (ISA/MuKappa)

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ISA/MuKappa aids international students and missionary kids in making cultural adjustments, and provides an on-going network of encouragement, fellowship, and understanding among its members. ISA/MuKappa also works at bring world awareness to the college community and to the community outside of Messiah College.

Contact: Varit Taifayongvichit, President
Email: IsaMuKappa@messiah.edu
Website: http://www.messiah.edu/org/ISA_MK/

Advisor: Kevin Villegas

J.A.R.R.S.

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Justice and Racial Reconciliation in Society (J.A.R.R.S.) strives to promote equality through discussing white privilege and breaking racial barriers that divide our community.  We welcome all students regardless of their racial identity to actively participate in our group.

Contact: Brooke Strayer, President
Email: JARRS@messiah.edu

Advisor: Kerrie Taylor

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La Alianza Latina (LAL)

LAL explores the richness of Latino culture, offers a community for Hispanics/Latinos and those interested in Latino culture, serves the Latin community, and furthers interest in Latino culture through education, language, dance, service, and the Christian faith.

Contact: Gabriela Almeida , President
Email: LaAlianzaLatina@messiah.edu

Advisor: Gladys Robalino

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