An ongoing story of God's work on campus: God is real, Jesus saves, and you are loved, always.

Senior Spotlights

Senior Spotlight: Teresa England

Each and every member of Axiom holds a special place in the heart of the ministry.  Whether you are a part of the leadership team,serve on campus with us,  join us for retreats, or just worship with us Thursday nights, your presence makes a difference, and when you leave, you are missed.  We want to give our graduating seniors the opportunity to speak their wisdom into our lives, and give our underclassmen the chance to meet, and be influenced by, the students who have come before them.   (If you’re a part of Axiom and graduating this spring, please send us an email!)

  • What did you study, and why?

Sociology and Spanish. Since high school I’ve wanted to go to grad school and become a Social Worker so I can help address the needs of the growing Hispanic population in the US.

  •  How did you find Axiom, and how did God use it in your life?

I came to Axiom my Sophomore year searching for a good student ministry to get plugged into with some other girls from the Stratford House. I absolutely loved the atmosphere, the worship, and especially the love I saw this ministry had for God, each other, this campus and this world. God allowed me to join in fellowship with some amazing Christians and friends these past 2 years through this community. They always made me feel welcomed, loved, and offered plenty of opportunities to take part in worshiping, prayer, social activities and campus outreach programs like Water on Green.

  •  What are you up to now; do you have any plans in the works for the future?

I’m finishing up some classes this summer to get my degree in August. I’m still job hunting for the Fall, but I’m getting married in January, and applying to some Social Work Graduate schools for next year.

  • What will you miss most about Axiom and U of I?

I don’t know if I can pick just one thing but I’ll definitely miss the spirit-filled and hardcore rocking-out of the Axiom worship band. Those guys are pretty rad. About U of I, I’ll miss helping out with all the student organizations I was a part of.

  •  Favorite thing about campus life?

I like being surrounded by so many diverse and interesting people my own age.

  •  Words of wisdom, caution, etc?

Word of caution: avoid walking by Kam’s. Ever. It smells.

  • Biggest fear?

I have no idea where I’ll actually be in a few years. I’ve always had a “plan” for what I want to do in life, but it’s really up to God in the end. I know and have faith that he will provide for me–which is absolutely amazing and terrifying at the same time.

  •  Advice for incoming students?

GET INVOLVED!! Set out of your comfort zone and join at least one RSO on campus you can stay really involved in your whole time here. 

  •  Anything else?

I wish I could thank everyone who’s been a part of my life the last 3 years individually for helping me to grow and experience so many wonderful things. I’m so sad it’s almost over! However, I know great things are waiting for me in the future, and I can’t wait to discover what lies ahead!

Peace and love,

Teresa :), Graduated: May 2011

Advertisements

Senior Spotlight: Jill Hedrick

Each and every member of Axiom holds a special place in the heart of the ministry.  Whether you are a part of the leadership team,serve on campus with us,  join us for retreats, or just worship with us Thursday nights, your presence makes a difference, and when you leave, you are missed.  We want to give our graduating seniors the opportunity to speak their wisdom into our lives, and give our underclassmen the chance to meet, and be influenced by, the students who have come before them.   (If you’re a part of Axiom and graduating this spring, please send us an email!)

  • What did you study, and why?

Major: Business Concentration, Concentration: International Business.   Minor: German

  • How did you find Axiom, and how did God use it in your life?

I went ministry shopping and loved it the first time I visited.

  • What are you up to now; do you have any plans in the works for the future?

Find a job!

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

Employed!, with a cat, living in an apartment

  • What will you miss most about Axiom/U of I?

The Peeps

  • Advice for incoming students?

GET INVOLVED, COMMIT TO AXIOM, TALK TO PEOPLE BEFORE AND AFTER AXIOM, MAKE FRIENDS WITH PEOPLE IN AXIOM, TALK TO PEOPLE IN YOUR CLASSES AND OTHER GROUPS, INVITE THEM TO AXIOM–YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. A CITY ON A HILL CANNOT BE HIDDEN!

Much love,

Jill Hedrick, Graduated: May 2011


Senior Spotlight: Justin Neally

Each and every member of Axiom holds a special place in the heart of the ministry.  Whether you are a part of the leadership team,serve on campus with us,  join us for retreats, or just worship with us Thursday nights, your presence makes a difference, and when you leave, you are missed.  We want to give our graduating seniors the opportunity to speak their wisdom into our lives, and give our underclassmen the chance to meet, and be influenced by, the students who have come before them.   (If you’re a part of Axiom and graduating this spring, please send us an email!)

  • What did you study, and why?

I’ve studied sport management because I have a passion for sports. Through this pursuit, I feel like God led me to the opportunity of combining both my love of sports and heart for ministry in serving the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

  • How did you find Axiom, and how did God use it in your life?

Well, being the Axiom old timer that I am, I actually found Christian Campus Fellowship first. A gentlemen who grew up in my home town became aware of my interest in the University of Illinois and told me about his experiences living in the Christian Campus House and being involved in the ministry there. I thought it sounded like a great place to grow in Christ. Since I first came to Axiom, it’s been a tremendous blessing seeing what God has done and is continuing to do through this ministry. Personally, Axiom has opened me up to a world of experiences, both here on campus and abroad. I have had the opportunity serve in Taiwan, Los Angeles, and Romania as a missionary. I’ve been a part of campus-wide service projects and outreach events and I’ve grown spiritually through the incredible teaching and discipleship Axiom offers. Plus, I can’t even begin to describe all the fun I’ve had a long the way.

  • What are you up to now; do you have any plans in the works for the future?

Currently, I am serving on staff with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. My hope is to further my degree, either in graduate school, seminary, or both, with a goal of serving in full-time ministry either with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes or as a pastor.

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

Wherever God leads me. Wherever that may be, I pray it involves serving Him, loving life, and starting a family.

  • Favorite college experience?

Beating Michigan State in basketball my Junior year, and rushing the court with the Orange Krush.

  • What will you miss most about Axiom?

Are you trying to make me emotional right now? 🙂 Honestly, a lot of things. I’ll miss my Thursday evening escape from the busyness of life. I’ll miss incredible worship in a room reminiscent to the size of my garage. I’ll miss witnessing Aaron Bird preaching with so much passion that he not only takes his audience’s breath away, but his own. I’ll miss popping in Ben Wood’s office, stealing his candy, and sharing my heart knowing he wants nothing more than for me to know that I am loved. I’ll miss the good times with Mary Baird and wondering how a woman so small could have so much energy and joy for life. I’ll miss seeing Gary Umphrey serve others with a heart so big it shouldn’t realistically be able to fit in his body. I’ll miss Zach Duncan occasionally letting a fart slip during prayers, Rusty Reichman catching squirrels in the trash can, Joe Matuch wearing Rockawear, John Geyer singing “Dead Puppies”, Myles Womack’s magic tricks, Ryan Mathews being allergic to blue jeans, John Edwards dancing, John Stef’s cooking, and Justin Pettit falling off the top bunk. I’ll miss the karaoke nights, the Battles of the Sexes, the retreats, and the endless servant leader meetings. I’ll miss saying goodbye to my home away from home, but I’ll praise God for the lifelong family its given me.

  • Words of wisdom, caution, etc?

This campus and this ministry gives you so many opportunities to get involved. In whatever you do, pour your heart, soul, and mind into it and God is going to bless your efforts abundantly. Don’t spread yourself too thin with thousands of activities. Do what your passionate about and do it with all of you.

One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”  (Luke 10:25-28)

Live.

Justin Neally, Graduated: May 2011


Senior Spotlight: Rachel Small

Each and every member of Axiom holds a special place in the heart of the ministry.  Whether you are a part of the leadership team,serve on campus with us,  join us for retreats, or just worship with us Thursday nights, your presence makes a difference, and when you leave, you are missed.  We want to give our graduating seniors the opportunity to speak their wisdom into our lives, and give our underclassmen the chance to meet, and be influenced by, the students who have come before them.   (If you’re a part of Axiom and graduating this spring, please send us an email!)

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! … For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” – Romans 11:33, 35-36

One thing I’ve learned over my past three years of college is that God can use anything – the random, the joyful, the crazy, the mundane, the surprising, the devastating, the unexpected, anything – to bring us closer to Him. So it makes me smile that the story of how I found Axiom starts with a Frisbee.

Ryan Mathews threw it, and Taylor Pinion caught it. Taylor and I knew each other a little bit from high school, and we ended up living in the same dorm our freshman year. We’d hung out a bit, and she asked if I wanted to come canoeing with this campus ministry she’d visited a couple times. Taking off to Indiana to canoe with a bunch of people I’d never met? It sounded every bit like the kind of crazy college caper I’d anticipated so much. I showed up at the House for the first time, met a bunch of people for the first time, and, for the first time at college, felt like I’d found somewhere I could belong.

Having accomplished His purposes in leading me to Axiom via Frisbee and canoe, God began growing me in my faith my freshman year. I’d grown up a Christian and really wanted to please God, but for the first time, I was on my own – and in an environment that seemed to promote everything BUT following Jesus. In the midst of darkness like I’d never seen, God grew my love for Him. Axiom has channeled God’s love and revealed His word to me in so many ways: in Aaron’s sermons that made me think in new ways, in the Lifegroup I was in my freshman year, in times of fellowship with other women through GO, in getting to know the amazing ministers and their also-amazing families, in having wise Christians to talk to, in being given an outlet to serve, in being encouraged to pursue my gifts in ridiculous video production, in having community.

Axiom has been a really important part of my life for the past three years. When life got crazy and it felt like I had so little to give, every time I walked in the front door (or the side doors, for that matter) I felt like I was loved, accepted, and wanted there.

God has used Axiom for so many of His amazing purposes in my life. It’s where I met Joe, an incredible man of God who will become my husband not too long from now. I’ve made so many great friends, had so many good memories, been served in so many ways, and have been humbled to serve in what God is doing with Axiom.

And in the end, it’s not about the things that God has used  and is using to be glorified in my life and on our campus. It’s not about the Frisbee, or the canoe trip, or the amazing worship, or the great sermons, or the friendships. These things are beautiful because they point toward a beautiful God. It’s about Him – and Axiom is so valuable in that it willingly, passionately seeks to carry out God’s purposes.

From here, everything changes. I won’t be a college student any longer. I’ll work… somewhere… God willing. I’ll get married in September. I’ll move from being immersed in college ministry to serving in the local church. I’d love your prayers for these things – that God would lead me (and Joe!) well and be honored in every decision.

To him be the glory forever.

It’s been a blast.

A whole bunch o’ love,

Rachel


Senior Spotlight: Brian Pierce

Each and every member of Axiom holds a special place in the heart of the ministry.  Whether you are a part of the leadership team,serve on campus with us,  join us for retreats, or just worship with us Thursday nights, your presence makes a difference, and when you leave, you are missed.  We want to give our graduating seniors the opportunity to speak their wisdom into our lives, and give our underclassmen the chance to meet, and be influenced by, the students who have come before them.   (If you’re a part of Axiom and graduating this spring, please send us an email!)

  • What did you study, and why?

I studied Engineering Mechanics (TAM). At the time, I chose it because it sounded pretty interesting. I think that’s about all most high school students can say around that time. I stuck with it because it rocks – that’s all there is to it.

  •  How did you find Axiom, and how did God use it in your life?

I went to some other Christian ministries for the first half of freshman year, but eventually, God placed me at Axiom through a friend. I instantly knew this was the ministry for me, and have stuck around ever since. God has used Axiom to broaden my perspective on what it means to sincerely follow Christ, as well as to give me lots of examples of people showing Christ’s love on a daily basis.

  •  What are you up to now; do you have any plans in the works for the future?

Headed to Stanford to study more TAM.

  •  Advice for incoming students?

Invest as much as you can into as few things as possible. Pick a club or activity or group and run with it. And if you’re wondering what group to pick – pick Axiom!

Much love,

Brian Pierce, Graduated: May 2011


Senior Spotlight: Christine Cheng

Each and every member of Axiom holds a special place in the heart of the ministry.  Whether you are a part of the leadership team,serve on campus with us,  join us for retreats, or just worship with us Thursday nights, your presence makes a difference, and when you leave, you are missed.  We want to give our graduating seniors the opportunity to speak their wisdom into our lives, and give our underclassmen the chance to meet, and be influenced by, the students who have come before them.   (If you’re a part of Axiom and graduating this spring, please send us an email!)

*This spotlight is also a little belated – Christine graduated this past December!  She spent much of this semester interning in Chicago, but thankfully she’s back now and will be hanging around, gracing us with her presence, for a little longer!  She may not have left campus yet, but she is still quite capable of blessing us with a little wisdom…

  • What did you study, and why?

My major was accounting with a Certificate in Global Business Culture where my area of specialization is East Asia and Pacific. I got this certificate by taking Mandarin Chinese language classes, international business classes and studying abroad at China. I graduated early back in December 2010 with my Bachelor’s degree and the Certificate. Since my college does not hold graduation ceremonies for December graduates, I will be walking in May as a Bronze Tablet Scholar (highest honors), Chancellor Scholar (campus wide honors program) and James Scholar (college honors program).

I was in a different major before, so some of my reasons for choosing accounting include: (1) I want to go into public accounting which means that I will work as part of a firm consisting of accountants. The firm is hired by public companies who are required by law to have a third party, that is accounting firms, to inspect their financial statements. The public is then able to trust these companies as they invest money. This kind of work requires that accountants have very high integrity, which is something I value greatly. I believe that through accounting, I can help increase the trust between the public and companies by helping companies maintain their integrity. I will also help people with their finances that are usually one of the most important things in life for everyone. (2) I realized that accounting has opportunities worldwide, especially through the “Big 4” which are the top four accounting firms in the world. I interned with one of these this past semester (Deloitte LLP) in Chicago and at Deloitte, they have opportunities that allow employees to work abroad in their global offices. I hope to go in this direction. (3) UIUC gives a good education in this field as well as many resources and opportunities particularly for accounting majors. (4) I hope to someday work through a non-profit organization to help people in other countries, particularly less developed countries, through microfinance that allows people to set up businesses.

  • How did you find Axiom, and how did God use it in your life?

I lived at Stratford Christian Cooperative House all my years at the university. A girl who lived there introduced me to Axiom when I was a freshman. God has done so much in my life through Axiom. I will describe only a few things:

(1) One of the biggest impacts that Axiom has had on me is to increase my interest to work internationally. During my first year at the university and at Axiom, I decided to go on Axiom’s mission trip to Taipei, Taiwan. One day I was looking out over the city while we were prayer walking and I just saw and realized the magnitude of the people who were lost in Taipei alone. At that point, I did not know any Mandarin Chinese as I only knew Cantonese Chinese. During the entire trip, I wished that I knew Mandarin Chinese so that I could speak to the Taiwanese people in their language about God. I had had interest in learning Mandarin Chinese since I was young but it was only after going on the mission trip did I decide that I would take Mandarin Chinese classes. During my sophomore and junior years, I took Mandarin Chinese classes. Then I participated in an intensive language program China last summer (2010). That experience was entirely different form my Taiwan mission trip. Since I had taken classes for two years, I was able to speak to my Chinese roommates and friends in Mandarin and with some, I was able to even talk to them about God. I felt God’s hand writing every moment of my summer in China. As of right now, I’m not sure when I will get the chance to go back to China, but I do hope to continue witnessing to Chinese people here in the US.

(2) Towards the end of my sophomore year, an Axiom member who was a very talented guitarist in the worship band asked if I would want to join the band through playing violin. I had played in many orchestras and ensembles before, so I knew how to play classical style violin. Band playing, which required improvisation, was entirely different though. I knew how to improvise on the piano, but doing it on the violin was strange to me at first. Thanks to this Axiom member as well as the incredible encouragement I got from other members whenever I played in band, I  discovered my love for worshiping God through violin playing. Though I do not major in violin, I realized that God allowed me the opportunity to learn violin in order that I could use it to serve Him and help others draw closer to Him. Now, I try to serve in band whenever possible at Axiom and at church. Recently, I’ve begun serving at the chapel service while volunteering at Salt and Light as well.

  • What are you up to now; do you have any plans in the works for the future?

I will be staying one more year to finish my Master’s degree and obtain my CPA. After that I will likely be working full time in the firm I interned at this past summer. Next summer before I begin working full time, I hope to intern at World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse or another similar organization.

  • What will you miss most about Axiom?  What will you miss most about U of I?

Axiom – the community, worship band, lifegroups, Aaron’s sermons, winter/fall retreats, Much Love, GO nights, being on the servant leadership team, Water on Green…

U of I – living at Stratford House; hanging out with friends through dinner, playing games, watching movies, talking, running; trying out all the different classes and events

  • Favorite college experiences?

Here are some:

– My team placed first in the country in the National Deloitte Case Competition in April 2010 after also placing first in regionals round earlier that year. We were the first Illinois team to ever win at this case competition. I will never forget that moment when the judges announced our school name as the winners.

– Running the Illinois half marathon, I am now training for the Illinois full marathon.

– Participating in the International Business Immersion Program that combined a semester long class that studied the food chain in the European Union with a two week tour after the semester through Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and France

– Studying abroad in China

– Interning at Deloitte LLP this past semester, which is one of the biggest accounting firms in the world

– Leading Axiom lifegroup

– Playing board games with friends late into the night

– Going to Cocomero

  • Advice for incoming students?

If God leads or calls you to do something, just do it. Even if it seems risky or out of your comfort zone or it requires you to give with no guarantee of getting something in return, just obey Him. He will always reward you for trusting Him and He will take you to new heights that you could not have even imagined had you not stepped out in faith.

  • Anything else?

Read Psalm 121, it is one of my favorite psalms in the Bible.

Much Love,

Christine Cheng, Graduated: December 2010


Senior Spotlight: Stephanie Swick

Each and every member of Axiom holds a special place in the heart of the ministry.  Whether you are a part of the leadership team,serve on campus with us,  join us for retreats, or just worship with us Thursday nights, your presence makes a difference, and when you leave, you are missed.  We want to give our graduating seniors the opportunity to speak their wisdom into our lives, and give our underclassmen the chance to meet, and be influenced by, the students who have come before them.   (If you’re a part of Axiom and graduating this spring, please send us an email!)

Put in the simplest terms, God used Axiom to save my faith.

I’m a senior (really?!?!?!?!?!) at Axiom. By now, I’ve been playing on the worship band for almost 3 years and this past year, I had the great opportunity of being the worship and missions intern. Looking back on my college experience, I really can’t imagine what it would have been like without the great community I’ve found at Axiom. I’ve spent amazing weekends learning cool things about God with these people. I’ve had some crazy awesome conversations, lead worship for thousands, handed out water bottles, raked leaves, sat around bonfires, cried, gone on road trips, had coffee, and celebrated holidays….to name a few. And soon, I’ll be experiencing what it is to be Jesus’ hands and feet in Romania with 15 of them. Because of the community I found at Axiom, I have been able to truly transform and grow in my faith in Jesus.

Funny to think that at the beginning of it all, I was pretty hesitant. When I transferred to U of I from Seattle Pacific University as a sophomore, I was running. I’d spent my previous year (at a Christian university) running from Christ’s call to be an active follower. I was struggling with my feelings about the Church that had caused a lot of heartbreak during high school. I wanted little to do with the Church, though I couldn’t reject God all together. Basically, I was trying to live with no convictions and no consequences. I wasn’t failing out of school or partying every night. I just wasn’t living for anything meaningful. And I kinda liked it. I came to Axiom willing to sit in the chairs and listen, but not willing to get up and do something. Funny how things change.

As I started attending Axiom weekly, I was reminded of some important things. I began to remember the value of having community and I started learning exactly why Christians are called to look different than this world. Not long after I started going regularly, I somehow found myself playing piano for the worship band. I was still hesitant to truly engage in worship, still hesitant to really give God my heart in praise or truly plug in to a community, but He found a way to get me to stay. I’ve found that some of my most fantastic moments with God have happened through music. This was completely true of the way God started to work in me. As the year continued, I found myself building community, worshiping God and actually applying his teaching to my life. Much of my Junior year and basically all of Senior year, I joined the worship planning team and began actually designing services. I became passionate again, not only about music, but about making sure that the music we were playing was worship. I’m not sure that there are many things greater than worshiping God with music. And at the end of these few years, I have felt myself being awakened.

So, what’s next? In some recent conversations with fellow seniors, we’ve discussed the difficulty of telling this part of our story. I’m an English major. Why? Because it was the quickest route to graduation. I love literature, but I’m not planning to invest my life into it. As of this moment, I’m planning to head to Nashville for the summer to work with an Anti-slavery organization to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking. I’ll be working specifically with trafficking in Nashville, though it’s a problem everywhere. I am more than excited to begin serving and fighting for justice for the oppressed. This is something Jesus fought for too. As I imagine what this future will look like, I just stand in awe of what God has done to bring me here.

As excited as I am for the next chapter, I’m getting really sad about leaving my Axiom family. They are a group of movers and shakers who are gonna make cool things happen on this campus. I’m just a little jealous that I won’t be around to see it all happen. I also want to echo the advice given by last semester’s Axiom alum, Michelle Husz. If you want to get involved at Axiom, just do it. Axiom is place that relies a great deal on the gifts, time and abilities of its students. If you have gifts you want to share or see a need, fill it! Sharing in that kind of community, and seeing awesome things come from it is seriously one of the most valuable experiences you’ll get from your college experience. And it’s this community that gets me pumped to see what Axiom will look like in a couple years. Can’t wait!

So Much Love!
Stephanie Swick, Graduated: May 2011


Senior Spotlight: Zach Duncan

Each and every member of Axiom holds a special place in the heart of the ministry.  Whether you are a part of the leadership team,serve on campus with us,  join us for retreats, or just worship with us Thursday nights, your presence makes a difference, and when you leave, you are missed.  We want to give our graduating seniors the opportunity to speak their wisdom into our lives, and give our underclassmen the chance to meet, and be influenced by, the students who have come before them.   (If you’re a part of Axiom and graduating this spring, please send us an email!)

  • What did you study, and why?

Nuclear Engineering.  I’ve always enjoyed math and science, so a career in nuclear engineering has allowed me to do something I enjoy, and help the world with its energy crisis at the same time.

  •  How did you find Axiom, and how did God use it in your life?

I was looking online for places to live, and found the Christian Campus House.  It was one of the main reasons I came to U of I, and has helped me to become a better disciple of Christ for all four years that I have lived there.

  •  What are you up to now; do you have any plans in the works for the future?

I will moving to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I will be working at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory.

  •  Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully alive, and still working in Pittsburgh or another job related to nuclear engineering.

  •  What will you miss most about Axiom?

Definitely the annual canoe trip, one of the funnest Axiom events.  I’ll miss all of the people at U of I too.  No where else can you find so many people that are the same age as you.

  •  What were your favorite and least favorite things about campus life?

Favorite- living on your own; choosing what you want to do; making your own schedule.  College is what shapes people careers and lives, and it’s an exciting thing to experience.

Least Favorite-  Studying and taking finals.

  •  What is you biggest fear?

Causing a catastrophic nuclear meltdown.

  •  Do you have any prayer requests?

For a smooth and prosperous transition into my new life in Pittsburgh.

  •  Advice for incoming students?

Don’t let the whole college atmosphere overwhelm you, it’s really not that big and scary.

Much Love,

Zach Duncan, Graduated: May 2011



Senior Spotlight: Emily Garrison

Each and every member of Axiom holds a special place in the heart of the ministry.  Whether you are a part of the leadership team,serve on campus with us,  join us for retreats, or just worship with us Thursday nights, your presence makes a difference, and when you leave, you are missed.  We want to give our graduating seniors the opportunity to speak their wisdom into our lives, and give our underclassmen the chance to meet, and be influenced by, the students who have come before them.   (If you’re a part of Axiom and graduating this spring, please send us an email!)

I came to the University of Illinois as a transfer student in the fall of 2009. It was always “in the plan” that I would go to the local community college for two years and save some money before going to U of I. The animal science program was what drew me; it’s the best one in the Midwestern states. After graduation I would go to U of I’s vet school and life would start from there. Beyond this plan I had no expectations.

My community college allowed me to live at home and become further attached to my family, so the transition of moving away from them was very hard on me. I knew I wanted to find a campus ministry to plug in to, but never imagined it could have turned out like it did. My suite-mate brought me to Axiom at the very beginning of Welcome Week and I was immediately comfortable with both the students and staff. I felt a connection with God there that I hadn’t felt anywhere else. During that first semester at Axiom, I found a new home and a new family, and God began working in my life like never before. At the start of my senior year I became part of the leadership team, and fell in love with serving people.

I was not accepted into veterinary school, but that’s ok. I have a much stronger faith now, and believe that whatever God wants me to do he will guide me towards it. “The plan” now is to simply follow.

My advice for those of you who are new to the ministry, or thinking about becoming a part of Axiom, is to invest in the ministry and the people there. When I began investing in them, they began pouring back into me to an extent that I never dreamt was possible. The more you invest, the more you will be filled, and the friendships you form will change your life.

I know I will miss Axiom, but I will be living in the Champaign area, for a few years at least, after graduation, so I’ll still be around occasionally.

Much Love!

Emily Garrison, Graduated: May 2011



Senior Spotlight: Michelle Husz

Each and every member of Axiom holds a special place in the heart of the ministry.  Whether you are a part of the leadership team, join us for retreats, or just worship with us each Thursday night, your presence makes a difference, and when you leave, you are missed.  We want to give our graduating seniors the opportunity to speak their wisdom into our lives, and give our underclassmen the chance to meet, and be influenced by, the students who have come before them.  Towards the end of each semester, I’ll be contacting the Axiom seniors to write a little bit about themselves – to say good bye to their friends and family here at the University of Illinois.

Admittedly, this Senior Spotlight is a little late, but Michelle was our only graduating senior last semester, and even though she’s been out in the “real world” for two months or so already, we’re still not willing to accept that she’s not around… So, without further ado:

My major was Undecided when I first applied to college. The week before my Junior year I chose to become a Psychology major, but 120 hours of classes, a workshop, and several career books later, and I still don’t know what my calling is. However, I do have a very long list of options, and I intend to start at the top and move down the list until I strike gold. If you could pray that I would find my vocation, I would really appreciate it. And, yeah, if you want to get into a long, ridiculous discussion about what it feels like to throw tens of thousands of dollars into the wind, gimme a call.

When I first came to the University, I had no idea what it would be like. Neither of my parents had gone to college, and none of us knew where to start or what, exactly, I was getting myself into. It was just the “next step” in life. I was in Romania when I applied to the University, so I didn’t even tour the campus. While I didn’t know what major I wanted, I was determined to find a solid Christian ministry to plug into. The first few weeks of school, I went to countless Bible studies and large groups, but I didn’t find anything that was right for me. When I talked to my friend Natalie from high school, she told me about her friend Joe Matuch, who happened to live at a house that had a ministry on the first floor.  After an awkwardly declined invitation to Fall Retreat, I came to my first Thursday night meeting. I didn’t know what I needed at the time, but God did. In a place where I didn’t know up from down, God gave me a solid group of friends and a safe place to grow into maturity and, eventually, a leadership position.

On vacations when I’d come home and talk with my parents, I found myself explaining a lot about my time at Axiom; not just funny stories, but about Publicity team and the dreams that I wanted to accomplish and how difficult dealing with logistics was sometimes…and so on. My dad nodded thoughtfully and said, “Your real education is happening outside of class.” I really appreciate how Axiom gives people the opportunity to work with their gifts and serve their community. All you need to do is ask. My Freshman year, I bullied Ryan Mathews (before he was my boyfriend) into letting me help with the announcement slides so that he could worship with everyone else once in a while. I ended up turning down a position on the leadership team, at first, because there wasn’t anything I wanted to be a leader of. Later, however, when the Publicity team was created, I fell into a leadership role. Axiom runs on the generosity, willingness, and gifts of the students in it. If you want to do something that isn’t currently happening (or even something that is), just ask. There is a place for you.

Of course I miss Axiom. I miss being able to take a short walk across campus and visit my home away from home, full of many of my favorite people. Unfortunately, they tell me this is part of growing up. I’m not sure if I want any part of this growing up business – you’ll have to ask me in a few months or maybe years – but I am really excited about the amount of fellowship I know is possible, and I am determined to find it outside of campus. In any case, I hope to visit Axiom again really soon!

Much Love,

Michelle Husz, Graduated: Dec. 2010