Maggie 2013Maggie Gilliam

Major: Social Work
Minor: Theatre Arts
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Choosing a college can be difficult, and I was looking for a small Christian college that gave me the opportunity to pursue both social work and theatre. Huntington is lovely, warm, comforting and Christ-centered, and I felt at peace when I visited. I just had this understanding that Huntington was the place where God was calling me.

Huntington is literally my home away from home, and I couldn't dream of being anywhere else. I've never been a part of a community like this, and I love being on a campus where faith is freely shared and explored. It’s small enough that professors know your name, take the time to know you individually, and are able to help you succeed. I chose to pursue social work because someday I want to empower others, and do it in Christ’s name.

In that respect, the trip to India was especially significant because it opened my eyes to a world beyond my own. By going to India, I finally broke free from my American bubble and from anything familiar. Through the trip, God challenged me and reminded me of things I’d forgotten. Now, I want to live life to its fullest and experience everything I can. I want to see my own brokenness and live my life for Christ first and always.

The Home of Love radiates throughout Chennai, India as a place of hope, joy, peace, love and gratefulness. When I stepped out of the van on the first day and saw the faces of the girls, I felt a rush of peace and joy like I have never felt before. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was going to show me amazing things.

The thing that struck me most about India was the brokenness, both literally and metaphorically – broken buildings, sidewalks, cars, bikes and people. I realized that we all live in a broken world; it’s just how we deal with it that makes us different. In America, try to cover brokenness up with cleanliness, perfect-looking buildings and money. In a place like India where the brokenness isn’t hidden, hope seems to shine brighter. I think we lose hope here because we think we can recreate it. But in truth, hope isn’t created – it is a beautiful result of our brokenness.

My experiences as a Huntington student have taught me that there's a big, expansive world out there begging to be explored. It’s taught me that relationships are vital to life, and helped me understand why God created us to have relationships. I know I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for my roommate, sisters, brothers, fellow students and professors. I’ve become a much stronger woman of God who is more excited about His plans and adventures than ever before. I couldn't be more blessed!