“Being in a learning environment that puts peace-making and social justice as a priority helped foster my passion for fighting injustice as a career”
MAJOR - SOCIAL WORK
I spent the vast majority of my childhood in Nairobi, Kenya, as the daughter of a missionary ophthalmologist who worked in a locally run hospital and periodically traveled to war-torn areas such as Somalia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to set up temporary medical clinics for people who typically did not have access to them. During this time, I was able to experience the interesting cultural mix of international aid workers, wealthy business owners, and people experiencing poverty that you often find in many major and fast-developing sub-Saharan African cities. Getting to know and respect people from all of these different groups as peers and mentors gave me an interesting and well-rounded perspective on poverty and social injustice in the third world. It also gave me a solid idea of how some peacekeeping and aid projects can be effective and how some can be problematic. Experiencing all of this and being deeply bothered by blatant injustices surrounding me as well as some of the problematic methods that were used to alleviate them gave me a deeply rooted passion for social justice and the effective application of aid for all.
When I moved to the US at the age of 16, in addition to culture shock that I experienced, I was amazed and disturbed to learn that there was a huge amount of social injustice here as well, but of a different variety and caliber.
When I started school at George Fox I was able to learn about the root causes of injustice in our society and through my social work classes, learned how to fight that injustice in a manner that promoted self-sufficiency on micro and macro levels. Being in a learning environment that puts peace-making and social justice as a priority helped foster my passion for fighting injustice as a career, and I hope to use my degree in social work to work in some proximity with people who have experienced trauma, oppression, and/or abuse, and to advocate against injustice in my personal and professional lives.
“I am passionate about serving people, building relationships with people, experiencing and celebrating different cultures, and working towards social justice.”
MAJOR - BIOLOGY
My experiences at George Fox have really shown me that what I am really passionate about is serving people, building relationships with people, experiencing and celebrating different cultures, and working towards social justice. I have also realized that for me, working in healthcare is not the end goal, but rather a way to serve people and pursue these passions. This has caused me to explore a variety of fields and paths for after graduation, including social work, Peace Corp, and non-profits that work with refugees and first-generation immigrants.
“I wish to work towards an increase of peace and justice in the world largely because I believe in the power of hope to enact change.”
MAJOR - BIBLICAL STUDIES
As I look ahead to the near future, I plan on pursuing an MDiv. degree and entering pastoral ministry. Though I am often impressed by my own ignorance and inability to adequately address much of the injustice and lack of peace in our world, it is my hope that I may help bring people closer together. I have experienced the power of God’s grace and learned about his desire to reconcile nations while in relationships with others, and it is in community that I wish to cultivate others-conscious living.
I wish to work towards an increase of peace and justice in the world largely because I believe in the power of hope to enact change. Hope is transformative and real, both able to heal my heart and change a nation’s oppressive political policies. “It does not lead to disappointment” as Romans 5:5 declares. I trust to hope because I think that it establishes a state of expectancy among people in which the Holy Spirit will move. As I serve the Church, I want to engage with others in communities of hope, for I see in Scripture that God is in the business of reconciliation with the marginalized, and desires that we participate.
“To serve is to build trust, friendship, and alliance.”
MAJOR - NURSING
I have early memories of sitting with my dad and listening to him speak of his much loved grandfather. His grandfather was born to medical missionaries in India at the turn of the century. They spent their lives serving the medical and spiritual needs of the people in the village of Miraj and the neighboring areas. I grew to love a man I never met through the stories my dad told of a reserved and loving soul who spent his life quietly caring for the people of his rural, medically underserved community. Later, my own grandfather and his brother became physicians and joined their father caring for the citizens of the timber and fishing community of Ketchikan, Alaska. After deciding to pursue a career in nursing with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner, I realized that I felt called to serve on the medical mission field like my family before me. It was with that in mind that I began my career as a nursing major and Spanish minor at George Fox University.
In this age of information overload, the most powerful tool we have for peace and justice in this world is as it always has been: the compassionate touch of one person to another in time of need. Hatred is easily nurtured in pockets of the world by people whose only knowledge of foreigners comes from armed conflict, or secondhand from leaders of extremist groups. But the fact remains that people will inevitably call upon their own personal experiences first. If someone's only contact with an American was with one who came to serve their needs, hatred and the conflicts that stem from hatred will not stand. To serve is to build trust, friendship, and alliance. Violence and hatred cannot exist side by side with love and service, and from love and service, peace can only grow.
The only way we can promote peace and justice is to break down the barriers of fear and of the unknown in different cultures, as my great grandfather's family did, and to get out of our comfort zones to go the places God would have us go. We must be willing to work hard, deal with the unknown, and have faith that God will see us through. We are told that God will never give us more than we can handle, and if God is for us, who can stand against us?
“I hope to live a life of active ministry.”
MAJOR - PSYCHOLOGY
As a third year Psychology student from Portland, Oregon I currently serve on the Friends Leadership Program. I hope that regardless of my future vocation, I can continue to live a life of active ministry by providing the space for others to find peace.
“I believe peacemaking to be central to GFU’s mission in preparing students to “think with clarity, act with integrity, and serve with passion.”
MAJOR - INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
Jesus urges his disciples to “mourn with those who mourn… live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:15-16, NIV). The past few years have been especially dire for part of my family. Someone close to me was mourning. Mourning with him meant helping take care of his children, providing transportation while he was without a license, and being his best friend in a time of crisis. Being a disciple of Christ means being a peacemaker: an active vocation, a daily lifestyle. And whether it is keeping peace among neighbors, or bringing peace to a friend, practical peacemaking is an integral part of every imaginable relationship at any level within or among societies.
I believe peacemaking to be central to GFU’s mission in preparing students to “think with clarity, act with integrity, and serve with passion.” This is our role for active local and global engagement. Neighbors and compatriots alike are responsible for their own relationships, and at GFU we have the resources to equip ourselves to be leaders in this venture. The power to flourish enables the power to corrupt, and thus the responsibility to cooperate. But it need not simply be our responsibility to cooperate and our Christian duty to make peace; let it be our joy.
“I want to use this road to show the light of Christ that has been given to me.”
MAJOR - NURSING
I am pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Nursing here at GFU and, I am not only gaining knowledge of Biology, I will graduate with a skill set to apply this knowledge to serving my fellow Sisters and Brothers of Christ. I dream of graduating and honing these skills and sharpening my knowledge at local hospitals and then pursing missions work with an organization that does Good Work. I want to use this road to show the light of Christ that has been given to me.
“My hope is that pursuing justice and peace is something that is a part of my everyday life.”
FALL 2014 Graduate - Brooke Nolte
BACHELOR'S DEGREE - SOCIOLOGY
My hope is to pursue a career in law, so that I may be able to stand up for the exploited and oppressed. I want be a voice for those who have had theirs taken away - to help restore their human dignity and instill the truth that they are worthy and loved. But beyond that, my hope is that pursuing justice and peace is something that is a part of my everyday life: in my relationships, my consumption habits, my prayer life, and my generosity. I hope to be an agent for God’s justice and peace, but to also be transformed by it daily.