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March 30, 2015, 6:00 PM

Student Stories - Megan


Thoughts from Megan, on the eve of graduation~

Megan Flowers, a soon-to-be 2015 Texas A&M University graduate, serves as the Program Team Leader and Office Director for Treehouse. She will graduate with a degree in Community Development and has a passion for social justice. Megan can be reached at meganl.flowers@yahoo.com.

For four years now, Spring Break Pilgrimages with Treehouse have proven to be an incredibly powerful experience for me. My freshman year I was intrigued because I could entertain my sense of adventure with a trip to St. Louis on a budget. Yet it was this trip that that really showed me the ministry and community of Treehouse. It was here I saw and experienced the incredible love of this group. There was an openness to vulnerability and a willingness to share that almost seemed foreign to me. And in this open space, as we encountered homelessness and poverty, I grew from the wisdom of older students who would become mentors and role models for me. I doubt they knew they were being wise, as the most influential moments were often when they were challenging and questioning themselves about their own beliefs, actions, and understandings. It was in this community where I first heard the call to stand with those in the margins. 

This is why I love spring break with Treehouse and why I look forward to them every year. I look forward to being uncomfortable and to being pushed outside of my own boundaries; to hearing sacred stories of the people we meet, many of which both bring me to tears and show me great hope; to seeing Christ in the faces and hearts of people whom society would prefer to toss aside; to the way these trips mold me, how they influence my views of the world, and how they challenge me to be an advocate with communities that are most vulnerable; to no longer see something as an "issue," whether it be homelessness, violence, food insecurity, or immigration, but as the lived experience of a woman named Esperanza or a child named Dante. 

It is difficult to remember the freshmen me, newly baptized and so hungry for deeper faith. Opportunities with Treehouse, like spring break, have enabled tremendous growth in my own faith. And alongside that I've gained numerous skills in developing deeper relationships, servant leadership, justice and advocacy, and much more. I am so grateful to have had this community in my life, as it continues to shape who I am and how I live.

                                              - Megan Flowers '15




March 4, 2015, 6:00 PM

Student Stories - Blythe


Thoughts from Blythe, on the eve of graduation~

Blythe Schultz, a 2014 Texas A&M University graduate, served as Bible Study Leader for Treehouse. Blythe can be reached at blythe.schultz@yahoo.com. 
 
One of the neat things about Treehouse for me has been recognizing my growth alongside Treehouse's growth. When I first started college 4.5 years ago, the ministry was just re-starting and struggling to figure out who it was. As a freshman, that's who I was as well. My faith was young and uncritical, and I didn't know how to address the tough faith questions that I had. But then Treehouse started to ask those hard questions, and, as the ministry started to deepen, I started to grow. By the middle of my senior year, I felt like I had come into a deeper, more mature faith -- much like the ministry as a whole. As I come close to graduation (this week! [God willing]), it's neat to be able to watch other, younger students being transformed into a deeper person of faith.
 
       The most powerful Treehouse event for me was our Spring Break trip to St Louis, where we stayed in a homeless day center. It was the first time in my life where I felt 100% different and 100% uncomfortable. I had lived for 19 years in a bubble and without seeing anything so painful and horrible - (homeless) people who are fully Christlike, but who are treated and seen otherwise. I had assumed that the world was great, but the trip opened up my eyes to injustice and poverty, and was a catalyst for helping me figure out what to do with my life. 
 
         Because of my faith, I care about food security. That's what I want to do with my life now. I want to explore how livestock can move food security forward. After graduation, I will be pursuing graduate work in Food Security, then Agriculture, with the hopes of working with an organization on the ground in the developing world. For me, this is what it means to follow Christ into the world. 
 
                              - Blythe Schultz '14



December 26, 2014, 12:00 AM

Student Stories - Justine


Thoughts from Justine, on the eve of graduation~

Justine Ealy,  a 2014 Texas A&M University graduate, served as the Treehouse administrative assistant and was active with service projects with the group. Justine is completing her last semester as a student of Urban Planning in Germany. Her involvement with Treehouse and its affiliated social programs greatly broadened her horizons for future plans. She is looking into graduate school (for Urban Planning) and jobs related to housing, homelessness, and community development. If you want to chat, email her at justine.ealy@gmail.com.

Treehouse has been such blessing in my college career. Never before have I met a group so welcoming. These folks are truly genuine; they see all people for who they want to be seen as and show them nothing but love. It has been a delight to be challenged by and grow with this group through service and conversation, alike. The opportunities for service to which I have been introduced have not only caused me to grow, but they have inspired my professional life. I hope to one day incorporate the spirit of giving in my field of Urban Planning, and to keep those who are marginalized in mind. The greatest gift of all has been the realization that even small efforts can impact the world. From the gift of time or a listening ear to the delivery of a breakfast taco, creating relationships can mean the world. I can't wait to see how this ministry continues to grow and inspire growth in our community.

                                   - Justine Ealy




December 19, 2014, 6:00 PM

Student Stories - Hannah


Thoughts from Hannah, on the eve of graduation~

Hannah Watson,  a 2014 Texas A&M University graduate, served as Bible Study Team Leader for Treehouse. She is currently serving for a year in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina with Young Adults in Global Mission through the ELCA. Hannah can be reached at hannahjoywatson@gmail.com.

Looking back at my three years spent in Treehouse, I will never forget the relationships I've formed with the people in this ministry. The Bible studies I have been a part of, and the community within them, built around trust and compassion, have helped me feel comfortable enough to explore the deeper meaning of God's Word and be transformed by it. Members of Treehouse have hosted me at their houses when I was in the process of moving apartments. They have driven me to events when my 1997 Mercury Sable decided not to start. They have truly accompanied me on this journey of life, rejoiced with me when I was joyful, and mourned with me when I experienced loss. God's love has been shown to me in remarkable ways these past three years, and I look forward to hearing the ways this ministry continues to impact, challenge, and care for people.

                                        - Hannah Watson '14




December 12, 2014, 12:00 AM

Student Stories - Amy


 Thoughts from Amy on the eve of graduation~

Amy Gulliksen is currently living in East Jerusalem with a Palestinian community, learning where God is working in this place. She is volunteering at the Helen Keller School for the Visually Impaired through Young Adults in Global Mission of the ELCA. During her time with Treehouse, she served on the Worship & Spirituality team and the Justice & Service team. Amy can be reached at AmyGulliksen@gmail.com.

I vividly remember coming to Treehouse for the first time. It was my junior year, and, by then, I had stopped going to church, feeling too judged by the church I'd been going to. Sort of randomly, I found Lutheran Campus Ministry. And here, from my very first visit, things felt different. People wanted to know me, genuinely, and wanted to care for me. Treehouse's theology of welcome showed me that I was worthy of God's love. This was the first time I experienced this in college. Talk about life-changing.

I was reflecting this past weekend [graduation weekend] - all the friendships that have lasted in college have been through Treehouse. Because they're different. When a whole community of people are journeying alongside you, with the same challenges and questions, openly sharing who they are and what they struggle with, God is so profoundly present.

This fall, Treehouse hosted an interfaith dinner, which I chaired. It was amazing. To have Jewish and Muslim and Christian students and leaders all in the same room, breaking bread together and sharing stories - where else do we see this? People were so gracious and happy to be invited. I want to re-create this in my post-college life - hosting small interfaith groups to build deep relationships across faiths. This is one of many gifts Treehouse has given me, one of the things I'll miss most. Among other things, I'd like to give this back to the greater church.

                              - Amy Gulliksen '13


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