Where the Consecrated Class is now! (Part 4)
Complied by Joey Nunez, a senior from Harrisonburg, Va.
WILMORE, KY—On May 9, 2009, the Consecrated Class of 2009 graduated. The 305-member class departed Asbury’s campus to pursue various summer plans before continuing further education or starting a career in the work force. In the next few updates, we will hear what our Consecrated alumni are up to these days, exciting changes in their lives and their memories from Asbury!
Right after graduation I took a spontaneous road trip to Florida with a fellow graduate, and at the end of May, I went to Hawaii with my family to celebrate my graduation. I also went to a wedding and got to spend some time with friends in the Lexington area before I made my way out west. In between all of that, I spent the month and a half after graduation living with my aunt and uncle in Columbus, Ohio. It was a semi-stressful time for me as I was waiting to hear about this job, but looking back it was definitely a blessing to have had that time with them.
On June 30, 2009, I set out from Ohio with my fish, Texas, on a four-day drive across the country, arriving in California just in time to see the 4th of July fireworks over the bay in San Francisco. A few days later I began my job with Advent Group Ministries, a non-profit Christian agency in San Jose, Calif., focused on reaching out to troubled youth and their families. One of the offered services is group homes, and I live and work in one of group homes in the boys’ program. I am basically like a house parent for up to six teenage boys dealing with a variety of issues, including behavioral, emotional and addiction-related trauma. All of the boys are recovering from substance abuse, and most come from homes in which they have rarely or even never experienced love, structure and/or stability. My main duties involve: instilling structure in their daily lives, maintaining a daily schedule and teaching them household responsibilities. And in between, I am able to invest in the lives of these incredible kids, ministering to them through example and love. I love my job so much. It is very challenging, and in just over six months, I have already faced situations I never in my life imagined that I would have to face, but I know I am all the stronger for it. And God has really blessed me with the ability to find joy in the little things; sometimes those little things can be a huge accomplishment for the day. Through my job I have also been blessed with an amazing network of a few close friends who are teaching me daily about the importance of relationships.
In October I ran in the Nike Women’s half-marathon in San Francisco! It was a HUGE race (over 40,000 runners), and it was a beautiful course. Thanks to the encouragement of friends at Asbury, I began running half-marathons while I was a student, and I am so excited to be able to continue this newly found passion 🙂
I cannot put into words how well my four years at Asbury prepared me for my future. While at Asbury I built an indescribable academic and spiritual foundation that left me feeling confident and excited to face the world ahead. I have been very blessed with a great community here in California, and I think I am able to appreciate it as much as I do, thanks to the focus on community at Asbury, not to mention the amazing people that I spent four years getting to know and will spend a lifetime, I am sure, connecting with. I had many memorable moments during my three years on Kresge 2nd Mid. And I think my favorite memory at Asbury might be an accidental excursion to a little place called Shady Grove, while on the trip to Washington, D.C. with the Washington Federal Seminar class in January 2007.
This summer, I went to Thailand and Cambodia on a mission trip, went to a beautiful wedding in North Carolina, welcomed a niece and a nephew and applied for who knows how many jobs! After graduation I needed a chance to unpack my four years spent at Asbury and the two weeks I spent in Asia, so the first part of the summer was spent processing many different experiences.
Four days after graduation, I was on a plane headed for Bangkok, Thailand with 10 other Asburians/Asbury alumni. We worked with many different anti-human-trafficking organizations, learning about the work that they do and getting the opportunity to partner with them in their daily ministry. We spent two weeks between Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Chiang Mai, Thailand. We met men and women who are all passionate about bringing the Light of Christ to very dark areas of the world. God taught me so much about Himself and about His love for a hurt and broken world. In short, the big lesson learned was “God is God, and I am not.”
I am at home in Standish, Mich., taking a break from school. I am currently working, but not in my field of study. I spent a lot of time this summer applying for jobs as a social worker. None of those opportunities worked out, so I started working as a cashier at a local Farmer’s Market the first week of August. I am still working there full-time. Sometimes it is hard when people ask me what I am going to do with my life—they don’t see working as a cashier as a worthwhile job after I spent four years getting a college degree. Personally, while sometimes I wish I were elsewhere, I am beginning to understand that I am where I need to be. I chose social work as my course of study because I wanted to be better equipped to understand people, their needs and their hurts and to be able to help them in some way. I am in a job that allows me to get to know people and to help them when they need it. I use my training every day as I interact with customers and co-workers alike. So no, I am not referring anyone to an agency, I am not providing counseling and I do not process cases on a daily basis. But I am learning what it really means to serve Christ in any occupation. Though it is challenging and some days frustrating, I like that I am being pushed to find opportunities to use my abilities in not-so-obvious manners.
Being at Asbury really prepared me for the fact that once we graduate, we are not always going to be surrounded by a Christian community, so we need to know what we believe and why we believe it. I am so grateful for many different people who took time over the four years at Asbury and really made an effort to pour into my life and to encourage me in my spiritual development. Being in a secular environment is tough. I knew it would be, but I am learning that I can do it. I can live my faith, I can be challenged by people who do not agree with me or who dislike my beliefs and I stand for my beliefs when it feels like I am being attacked. My time at Asbury really taught me the importance of finding a lesson in all of life’s unexpected and sometimes unpleasant circumstances. No, I did not graduate and expect to work a minimum wage job as a cashier. I can be honest and say that. But I am also able to say that I would not trade the lessons I am learning for anything else at this point. For those of you still at Asbury, think of it this way. You may not always like what a professor has to say and you are not always going to agree with the Chapel speaker. But instead of always griping, ask yourself why you do not agree with them and go from there.
I have several favorite memories from Asbury, since I cannot choose just one: Running around Glide-Crawford right around community hours with my roommate Paige Greenway—we painted our faces white and then knocked on our friends doors and photographed their reactions; Sunday night Bible studies with my small group, they were amazing; midnight canoeing with a few friends one night on Senior Retreat; and having Happy Birthday sung to me when the Johnson Men came Christmas caroling last year—it was fantastic.
Right now, I am looking at starting graduate school next summer, and I have begun working on the wonderful process of applications and essays.
This summer I unsuccessfully looked for work in the film industry. I applied to many jobs, with no results. I tried registering at five different temporary work agencies. And after almost four months, one six-hour assignment was all I got from any of them. Since then I have registered at a sixth agency with much better results. They are constantly trying to find me work (successfully – praise God) and I have even had a long-term assignment at a digital studio through them.
I live on the west side of Los Angeles in a great location that is right next to Beverly Hills and Hollywood. It is centrally located and about equal distance from each of the studios, the beach, the valley and downtown. I had been working part-time at a traffic data collection and analysis firm. Most of the time I watch videos of intersections and use a video controller to count how many cars go through, turn right or turn left for each direction. It is like playing the worst video game in the world. I also go in the field to lay tubes across roads and take down speeds with a radar gun. Sometimes I write bid proposals for potential contracts. And I have even gone to a traffic industry convention in the Anaheim Angels’ baseball stadium. What do I like about my job? God has been faithful to provide it as a way for me to pay my rent, and even better that He has provided other opportunities that have allowed me to go on to better things.
What has been much more exciting than my job is the time I have had to write screenplays. I have started writing my second feature-length film. I competed in the 168 Film Festival’s Write of Passage screenwriting competition. Each writer was given a Bible verse to provide the theme of their script and then had one week (168 hours) to write three drafts of a 14-page-maximum script. The scripts had to integrate the Scripture but did not have to be blatantly Christian. To my surprise, my script was passed along into the second round as part of the top 10 percent, and I then passed onto the final round as one of 20 finalists. What has also been exciting is how God is opening doors for more and more freelance work. I am working on shooting and editing projects for humanitarian and missions organizations. I already have work with Community For and the Wesleyan Seminary of Venezuela. If you have any questions, or if you or anyone you know is involved with a ministry that could benefit from media that has low cost and high production-value, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or look me up on Facebook.
My time at Asbury provided me with a network of great friends who, thanks to the L.A. Film Studies Center, have all ended up in Los Angeles at the same time. This has been a huge blessing as we share the excitement and stress of starting out in our pursuits of a life in film-making.
One of my favorite Asbury memories was a midnight trip to Steak n’ Shake. Earlier that evening, during the opening night performance of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged,” I was met with a little spill. During our fourth (or was it the third? I can’t keep these details straight) run-through of Hamlet (which we did in reverse) I leapt into a puddle that Ophelia had formed by trying to repeatedly drowning herself. I slipped on that wet stage and fell. But we finished the show, and about 45 minutes later, when my arm had swollen to twice its regular size, I was finally convinced to go to the hospital. So I talked my future-girlfriend into cutting her double-date short, and she and her date drove me to the hospital (it sounds more awkward then it was, but maybe I am not the best judge since all I remember is the overwhelming pain). After an agonizing wait, the hospital ex-rayed my arm, declared my elbow broken and pumped me full of grade A narcotics. Later that night, we met my sympathetic friends and roommates for a late-night tasty treat at Steak n’ Shake to satisfy my munchies.
Four months after graduation and I still had no idea what I was doing after graduation. I lived at home in Northern Kentucky and worked part-time over the summer, pursuing a few different ideas and opportunities. Nothing worked out, and for a while I was really disappointed. But God was teaching more how to trust Him, and I can see now that the time of uncertainty was a precious gift from Him. Depending on God took on new meaning in my life when I could literally say: “I do not really know for sure where I will be living next week.”
Last summer brought two new additions to my life: my niece, Charlotte, and a black Chevy S-10 named Chesterton. I really love being an aunt, and I love being a truck girl. One of the advantages of not going straight into a full-time job was that I got to spend a lot of time with my family. It has been great to get back into the day-to-day swing with them and see how God is working in us as a family.
A lot of things fell into place in late September 2009. In the same week, I got a job at a law firm in downtown Cincinnati and moved into a house with Carolyn Tegge ’09 and Ashley Jeffries ’09. When I realized I was settling in Cincinnati for a while, I decided to get involved in a large local church. I just finished my first writing project for them, and I am also co-leading a small group. In March 2010, I am going on a mission trip to Mamelodi, South Africa, so I am right in the middle of fund-raising and all that goes with it.
I really do not know what is next from here. I will definitely be going to graduate school at some point – possibly seminary next spring. I still have to trust Jesus every day, because, honestly, this is not where I pictured myself. As an English major, I did not really think I would be working 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a cubicle, but one of the most important things I learned at Asbury is that God does not usually work how I think He should. He has better plans for me than I could have for myself. After all, it was not my plan to go to Asbury, and look how that turned out.
When I think over the last four years, I am awestruck by God’s goodness. Asbury was truly a place of transformation for me. Classes, Chapel, conversations with friends and professors – everything worked together to build a solid foundation and set patterns for the rest of my life. Four years at Asbury sparked in me a desire to never stop studying and learning, and sealed in me a love for Christ and His people that has irreversibly changed my life. I cannot be thankful enough. Plus, where else would I have had the chance to discuss Victorian poetry over an Ale-8? Totally priceless.
Kayla Menkedick ’09 Gilbert
I got married this past summer on June 27, 2009. For our honeymoon, we stayed in a cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The view of the Smokey Mountains was absolutely magnificent!
I am currently working for a Louisville, Ky. company named SHPS. We handle health insurance claims and flexible spending accounts for various government departments and Fortune 500 companies such as Macy’s, Pepsi-Cola and Marathon Oil. My main job is to take the claims and scan them into our computer system to be processed. I also key scanned claims when needed. What I love most about my job is that I mainly work independently, but at the same time, I am constantly in communication with others and working with them toward the same goals. I really love that I am not constantly working with group of people, but at the same time, I am not constantly by myself in a corner of the room. Asbury’s emphasis on professionalism has greatly impacted my behavior in the workplace, and I think that has set me apart from other employees.
There are so many great memories from my four years at Asbury College. One of my favorite experiences was participating in the Math Modeling competitions. Late nights, rolling chair races, eraser bowling, all the junk food you could ever eat … what could better? Another great experience was the bi-annual Handbell Choir and Men’s Glee Club tour. My favorite memory from that tour was when the bus broke down just outside Bowling Green, Ky. We sat and waited for hours for a replacement. We ended up not making it to a church in Alabama in time for the concert. Instead, we did a concert the next morning for a school, and all these cute little pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students were able to come, who would not have able to hear us if we had the concert the previous night.