When it came time for Nate Sullivan to choose a college
experience, he didn’t want to just “go through the motions” to land a
degree. “Huntington places an emphasis on community and an authentic
faith in Christ that I didn’t find anywhere else,” Nate explains.
“Huntington is where I wanted and needed to be.”
From the first
time he stepped onto campus, Nate realized that life at Huntington was
full of opportunities for real life experiences. “Huntington has
presented me with real opportunities to gain experience and
understanding of my studies and my faith – both in and out of the
classroom,” says Nate. “From J-term mission trips to the other side of
the world, to student leadership opportunities, to just sitting and
chatting over coffee with a professor – the experiences are there for
He has also discovered countless opportunities to
gain real-world experience. Internships, jobs, volunteer opportunities,
conferences and hands on classes all work together to keep Nate’s
experience rooted in reality.
Nate is confident that
when he graduates, he will have a clear picture of who he really is.
“Time and experiences have brought a lot of clarity as to what things I
love to do, what things I don’t, and how I want to invest my life.”
Love India: In his own words
When I applied to go on the India J-term trip four months ago, I had hopes of ministry opportunities and cultural experiences — the usual things a person hopes for when going on a short-term mission trip. What I experienced, however, was far beyond any of that. I can clearly see how it has — and is continuing to grow, challenge and change me on a cultural level, a spiritual level and a relational level.
Flying to the opposite side of the world, I expected plenty of things to be different. But nothing allows you to understand and embrace a culture like experience. From eating rice and curry with our hands to traffic conditions that were unceasingly intense, we were undoubtedly within a cultural environment that vastly differed from our own. Seeing the way that the people of this culture live ushered me into a new and greater understanding of a world beyond my own — to see the differences and beauty in humanity outside of my Midwestern U.S.A. sphere of culture.
But the traffic and the spices were not the only cultural differences that I took to heart personally.
The common religious practices of India are so interwoven into the fabric of society that, in many ways, each seems to coincide with the other. Their identity was so invested and rooted in their religious beliefs that without them their identity would be dramatically impacted. In many ways, this has pushed me to further invest my identity and lifestyle into what I believe, and as I continue to work this, I will undoubtedly call to mind the religious devotion that I saw first-hand in India. On a relational level, the friendships we found in the girls at the Home of Love were truly life changing. To experience love from a five-year old girl who has lived much of her young life in the hands of suffering and abandonment is truly powerful. To have a scarred hand hold your own and a scarred heart love your own is an intensely humbling experience. It serves as one of the strongest testaments I have ever witnessed to the power of Christ’s love for us. For, if these girls have only ever known loss, abuse and abandonment, then how can they love? More so, how can they love us, a group of foreign white people from some university in the middle of cornfields? There is one answer and explanation I can find: Christ.
I learned a lot this J-term—relationally, culturally and also spiritually. I still have a lot to learn. But this one thing I know: the love of Christ makes all the difference. And this January I saw that to be true in my life and in the lives of dozens of orphaned girls on the other side of the world. And for that I am changed.