Graduates leave MU equipped to serve

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Categories: General

Last Friday, our spring graduates walked across the stage of Rolling Hills Community Church to receive their diplomas. Among them were Parker Jones, Nicole Verrett, Katie Schefter Sheron, Moses Clark, Ashleigh Rich, Gregory Stansel and Susie Amato, seven students who picked up much more than a quality education at MU. They took some time to reflect on what they’ve learned, how they’ve changed — and where they plan to go next.

parkerParker Jones

Hometown: Yakima, Washington

Undergrad majors: Bible and Theology and Youth Ministry

Favorite MU experience: My freshman year while I was living in community, making some life-long friendships and going to all the Multnomah sports games with my friends.

Favorite class: Abnormal Psychology with Professor Velez, Mission with Children at Risk with Dr. Burch and all of the science field-trips with Dr. Swenson.

Favorite thing about MU: The community of students. I also love being able to learn from all the students and professors while really getting to know them.

Favorite thing about Portland: I love the various city ministries to get involved in, the Blazers, the variety of different foods here, and being outdoors in the springtime (when it’s not raining) with my friends.

Plans after graduation: After high school, I started a sign advertising business. I was blessed with this opportunity, as it has opened many doors through these five years. But before coming to Multnomah, I knew I wanted to help out in youth groups. So this summer I will be working in a church as an intern for the summer in youth ministry. After this summer, I want to get involved in a Christian nonprofit for youth in the areas of education, sports and community development. I look forward to continuing my entrepreneurial dream in starting another business.

How MU impacted your spiritual journey: Multnomah has not only given me Bible knowledge, but it has transformed my relationship with Christ in a new way. I have grown in my reverence for God. I value the local church more now and the importance of trusting in the Lord in every season. Through my years at Multnomah, I’ve learned that when I hold tight to my plans and things I want to do, I’m cheating myself of what God wants for me. Coming into Multnomah I had so many ideas and expectations for my life, and as I graduate from Multnomah I am more open and confident in the Lord’s plan for me in the coming seasons.

Advice to your first-year self: The relationships you make at Multnomah will matter equally as much as the education you receive. Don’t neglect the opportunities you are given in your time at school. Don’t be afraid to do new things and be challenged.

nicoleNicole Denise Verrett

Hometown: Vallejo, California and Murrieta, California

Program: Bible and Theology & Global Studies

Favorite MU experience: My favorite MU experience was playing for Multnomah’s Women's Basketball team. Also building relationships with the professors and the community.

Favorite class: All the Intercultural Study Classes: World Religions, Intercultural Communications, Strategies of Evangelism, Theology of Missions, Spiritual Warfare, Pressing Issues, etc.

Favorite thing about MU: The professors. They care for and love the students so much. The professors are what make Multnomah University, at least in my opinion.

Favorite thing about Portland: There is good food, lots of wonderful hikes, and the people are open-minded.

Plans after graduation: I intend to finish my practicum, travel and find a job, while living a life of servanthood.

How MU impacted your spiritual journey: MU has grown my spiritual awareness for Christ. It has helped me build my relationship with Christ. MU has encouraged me to build relationships with people as well.

Advice to your first-year self: Be yourself, be open-minded, love God and love others. Challenge yourself, take risks and get out of your comfort zone. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t go the way you want them to. Be kind and loving. Become a servant, a servant of Christ.

katieKatie Schefter Sheron

Hometown: Yakima, Washington and Vancouver, Washington

Program: Master’s of Arts in Counseling

Favorite MU experience: Getting to be a part of a counseling triad from the very start of our program. We are all from Vancouver and are graduating together. 

Favorite class: Spiritual Integration and Social Concern. I loved how Dr. Feil was able to integrate counseling and spiritual issues in such a practical and applicable way.

Favorite thing about MU: I loved my cohort!  We were a small but mighty group, and I am forever grateful for the relationships that I gained after taking on this journey together.

Favorite thing about Portland: The view of Mt. Hood on a sunny day.

Plans after graduation: Immediate plans?  To recoup and love on my kids for a bit. Professionally, I know God has called me into the counseling field to sit with hurting people and walk alongside them in their journey to find healing and hope.

How MU impacted your spiritual journey: MU and the MAC program came to me at a crucial junction in my life. Having to choose to trust God’s plan, even when it didn’t make sense along the way, was a major part of my growth and healing over the past two and a half years.

A theme in your life: Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Advice to your first-year self: Trust God. It will all turn out OK.  And hang on tight!  The time goes so fast.

 Musa (Moses) Clarkmoses

Hometown: Allat, Cameroon

Program: Masters of Arts in Global Development and Justice

Favorite MU experience: After class on Wednesdays, a group of us in Cohort 3 go to East Glisan Street Pizza, two blocks away, and enjoy their $1 New York Style Pizza after 10 p.m. It is a great time of fellowship and setting aside all of the stresses of life to enjoy yummy pizza and share some laughs.

Favorite Class: Conflict, Refugees, and Complex Disasters with Dr. Karen Fancher. This class really taught us about approaching difficult situations in a nurturing and holistic way. God came to seek and save the lost, so should we come alongside our brothers and sisters in a loving and delicate way. This class taught us a lot about being involved in humanitarian development, and we researched case studies around the world implementing different methods as organizations took into consideration location, culture, and prudence.

Favorite thing about MU: It may just be Cohort 3 in the MAGDJ program, but there is such a close bond and connection within our community. We all encourage each other, pray for each other, rant about homework, challenge growth and are really investing daily. It is hard to believe that in just two short years, so much will have happened, but we’ve created a strong network of support which is exactly what makes global development successful; a strong global network.

Favorite thing about Portland: I love the pace of life and the activities that are always going on in the city. Portland is a city where you get the city feel, but not overwhelmingly like major US cities. The vibes surrounding the Portland Timbers, Blazers and Thorns has been really fun to experience firsthand as part of a great fan base. I love the location of Portland, with the coast in one direction and the mountains the other. I’ll have to say the trees are what really strikes me as wonderful. Growing up in Sub-Saharan Africa, you learn to appreciate green trees when you see them.

Plans after graduation: I plan to continue working at RH Construction as a Project Engineer. I will continue to network and develop relationships with international organizations as I make plans to return to Africa and partner global development with construction engineering and business. There are some amazing organizations doing wonderful things in transformational development directed around building. But beyond building buildings in His name, I want to build relationships that will last for eternity.

How MU impacted your spiritual journey: MU greatly emphasized the need to look at development from a biblical perspective, similar to my undergraduate experience at John Brown University. They ensure that with whatever you are learning, you are applying a Christian perspective and engaging your community missionally. Living out Micah 6:8 in its entirety is something that has ignited a passion in my heart as I prepare to obey the Great Commission.

Advice to your first-year self: Prepare your eyes for an insane amount of reading. I read and wrote more the first semester than all 5 years of undergrad combined. When you do a math-based engineering degree, then switch to a Master of Arts, there is a shift in what your brain is used to. I had to push myself to stay engaged. 

ashleighAshleigh Rich

Hometown: I’ve moved several times in my life (lived in Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, and now Oregon), but most recently and for the greatest number of years, I’ve lived in West Chester, Ohio.

Program: Masters of Divinity, Theological Studies

Favorite MU experience: My experience at MU has been great all around, but I think one of my favorite experiences was being a part of the Hebrew tutoring program last year. It was just a really unique opportunity to connect with other students and to get to know Dr. Josberger and Dr. Kutz in a more relaxed, relational way. The Hebrew family is awesome.

Favorite class: This is a really hard one. I’ve really enjoyed a lot of my classes and I feel like there have been so many that have changed my thinking in one way or another. It might be a three way tie between Dr. Metzger’s Readings Ethics class, Patristics with Dr. Robertson, and Ecclesiastes in Hebrew with Dr. Josberger.

Favorite thing about MU: I really love the community at MU and the access you have to your professors. That’s one of the nice things about a smaller school and small class sizes: You really get to know your classmates and your professors in a way that isn’t possible in other places. I knew no one at Multnomah when I started, and now it feels like a second home to me.

Favorite thing about Portland: Probably the Timbers. I love going to games with my husband. He has a season tickets in the Timber’s Army, and it is fun to go to the games with him and cheer the team on. It’s a really unique environment, unlike any other sporting event I’ve ever been to. I wasn’t really a big soccer fan before I moved here, but the Timbers have converted me. Also, there’s a ton of great food in the city that’s really unique.

Plans after graduation: Right now I have a part-time, summer position at my church, Beaverton Foursquare, as the Camp Office Director (mostly doing administrative stuff for their four summer camps). I’ll be doing that until the end of July. I’m also working on a book in my spare time (which I’ll have more of after graduation), so I’ll probably keep working on that and see if it goes anywhere. After July, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but I’m eager to see what God has in store.

How MU impacted your spiritual journey: MU has had a big impact on my spiritual journey. I’ve been a Christian all my life, and it’s been easy for me to think that I know pretty much everything there is to know about Jesus and how to live like him. My time at Multnomah has opened my eyes to so many other facets of theology that I hadn’t thought of before, and to other ways of thinking about the things I had thought about. It’s also been great to interact with so many brothers and sisters in Christ who think differently from me. I love the diversity at Multnomah. It gives me hope for greater unity in the midst of diversity in the church at large. That’s been a huge spiritual development for me as well.

Advice to your first-year self: Make sure you always have margin space in your life, whether that’s a free day each week or even just a couple of hours. It can be easy to let homework and school commitments take over your life, but make sure you always have some space to just enjoy life with God, your family, and friends. School only lasts for a couple of years, but those relationships last forever. Sometimes it’s better to say no to an opportunity (even if it’s a good one) than to make your life overly hectic.

gregGregory Stansel

Hometown: Tarkington, Texas

Program: Masters of Divinity, Theological Studies 

Favorite MU experience: My favorite MU experience is being part of the Hebrew family and working through this beautiful language with my fellow students. Not only did we deepen our knowledge of the Word and the Hebrew language, but we also developed a family. We were able to speak the Word into each other’s lives, pray for each other, laugh and grow.

Favorite class: There is no possible way to decide just one favorite, so I am going to give you three. First was BIB 502 – The Prophets with Dr. Josberger. In this class I fell in love with the Old Testament, how the Scripture is beautifully woven together, and how to really read the prophets. Second, TH 628 – Contemporary Theologies with Dr. Metzger; this class changed the way I looked at theology, the marginalized, and Kant (just don’t tell Dr. Metzger). My last (but not least) favorite course was BTH 633 – Methods in Biblical Theology with Dr. Baylis. I cannot say enough about this course, but it has changed the way I read Scripture and how I preach forever.

Favorite thing about MU: My favorite thing about MU is the diverse nature of the student body. I have grown more being in classes with those who have different points-of-view than I could have anywhere else. I have been humbled and strengthened getting to know the diversity of the body of Christ because of MU, and I am eternally grateful.

Favorite thing about Portland: My favorite thing about Portland has to be the coffee, Powell’s Books and of course MU.

Plans after graduation: I am pursuing several different opportunities in pastoral ministry at the moment, and I am confident that God will place my family and me in the perfect place. Regardless of where we land, I am confident that God has called me to preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2).

How MU impacted your spiritual journey: I would say that the greatest way MU has impacted my spiritual journey is by helping me fall in love with the Word of God.

Advice to your first-year self: What a great question! I would say to my first-year self, “Schedule your time well, protect your Sabbath rest, family is much more important than grades, and get involved with the MU community.” I have the tendency to get lost in my work, and it is very important to remember what the important things are in life and godly living.

suzieSuzie Amato 

Hometown: Sherwood, Oregon

Program: Degree Completion Program, Leadership and Ministry

Favorite MU experience: Being in a cohort with three other amazing women that I probably would have never met otherwise, and sharing our lives, our hearts and our passion for Christ.

Favorite class: Acts and Pauline Letters, Pentateuch, and Effective Communication of Scripture. I grew the most in my faith and as a person through each of those classes. I learned that the Bible is a beautiful, living, breathing story about creation, redemption and restoration and that I, personally, fit into that story. 

Favorite thing about MU: I felt a sense of peace and calm that is unexplainable come over me each and every time I was on campus. No matter what was going on in my life, the outside world seemed to stop for a little while, and learning about God in the cohort setting was like a beautiful act of worship each week. The DCP staff and instructors all come in a close second to that. There was always a sense of community pulling for you to succeed. The passion displayed by the faculty who taught us was contagious, and the love and grace shown by the staff of the DCP office made Multnomah feel like home. 

Favorite thing about Portland: The location is the best; equally close to the beach and the mountains. The food is pretty amazing too! And when the sun is shining I can’t think of a better place to be.

Plans after graduation: I’m still trying to discern between pursuing a Master’s Degree in Leadership or going to seminary. But ultimately, I’ll go where the Lord leads. 

How MU impacted your spiritual journey: I came to understand God’s character in ways that I never fully understood before. Not only through my education, but through relationships I built here with people I met and during quiet times spent alone on campus. It felt as though God used MU as the place in which to show me how to fully depend on Him and how to take my eyes off the horizon and only think about my next step, one at a time.

Advice to your first-year self:

God led you to MU in his perfect timing, and he will not allow you to fail. So enjoy every moment without worrying, and put 100% of yourself into the experience in order to get the most out of it.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" Matt 6:34.