During their freshman year at Asbury, Christy Lee ’06 Swaringen and Caleb Swaringen ’06 were strangers who found themselves working together in the Z.T. Johnson Cafeteria. “I was the salad bar and she was the sandwich bar,” Caleb said —the ultimate Asbury meet-cute.
A little over 10 years have passed since their graduation, and the Swaringens are now married and living with their three children in McAllen, Texas. Caleb teaches 6th grade reading and writing at a local charter school while Christy stays home with the kids (ages 6, 3 and 1) while working as a freelance graphic designer.
Caleb and Christy say they were shepherded well while at Asbury. They were able to learn the importance of community while being mentored by the people around them. As alumni, the Swaringens are now interested in making that kind of transformative education possible for future Asburians.
For that reason, they continue to support Asbury through prayer, through participation in Reunion and other alumni events and through giving financially. Last year, at their tenth Asbury Reunion, Caleb and Christy contributed to the Reunion Class Gift to help support current and future Asbury students.
“We are glad to give,” said Christy. “Any little thing that we are able to give back to Asbury certainly pales in comparison to everything that it gave us — without a doubt.”
Among the gifts Asbury gave the Swaringens are life-long friends — many of whom came back for last year’s Reunion. “My Asbury friends just get me,” said Christy. She mentioned that the bonds she built while at Asbury have become friendships that are truthful, loving and free of judgment. Though the years and distance make it difficult to remain in touch with every college friend, Christy described seeing these friends as “picking up where we left off.”
Christy and Caleb also credit their time at Asbury with laying the foundation for the life their family leads, especially the practice of living in Christ-centered community. Both Christy and Caleb experienced community at Asbury in a way they hadn’t before — dorm life, praise nights, Bible studies and prayer events all played a formative role in cultivating that sense of community. “We can see pieces of our Asbury experience in our lives today,” said Christy.