Occupation: Full-time missionary, wife, and mother
Pursuing: Bachelor of Science Ministry & Leadership
As a missionary in a volatile and war-torn country in the Middle East, Julie, her husband, and their children have learned much about unity. With Syrian refugees pouring into a nation already fractured by decades of civil war, the change in demographics, strain on infrastructure, resources and economy, produce varying levels of expressed prejudiced division. This division, she notes, is not limited to the macro/socio stage, as she has found that even among the small evangelical community, there is often isolation.
As a result, the Hattabaughs have begun to organize conferences to bring all the local ministry leaders together to equip leaders to promote unity in their own areas:
“In June, we organized and hosted a conference specifically designed to create unifying fellowship among the evangelical leaders. When we first did this in 2016, everyone told us no one would come, and it wouldn’t work. Our idea was simple: gather pastors’ wives and women in leadership roles in evangelical churches from around Lebanon. In 2016, we had 40 ladies gather together. Last month, we had 74 from 18 different churches! After the first event, these ladies went back to their respective churches and organized events among themselves.”
Sergeant Corey Chaney
Occupation: Non-Commissioned Officer- Team Leader/ U.S. Army Infantry-Operational Detachment, Founder of Regional Discipleship Scholarship Foundation
Pursuing: Associates in General Studies
As a team leader in the infantry, Sergeant Chaney is responsible to train, equip, and lead a unified team, but most important, he emphasizes, is the unity he is finding with God and his will:
“Before I discovered OKWU, I had a master plan to attend a different college after exiting the military. Just before my second tour to Afghanistan, I got real with God. I surrendered all of my selfish ambitions and told Him that I was open to whatever he had in mind for me…my eyes and heart were opened to the idea of starting my degree program with OKWU and eventually moving back home and continuing my education [with a Bachelor’s and Master’s] on-campus… Financially, spiritually, educationally, and logistically, it was the right move…God knows my circumstances, and what’s ahead of me.”
Occupation: Environmental, Health, and Safety Program Manager for Textron Aviation in Independence, KS
Pursuing: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Leadership
As a husband, father, student, and safety program manager for Textron Aviation, Jamahl Lawrie understands the balancing act of life. With the Christ-focus and weekly class schedule, OKWU’s AGS program at OKWU fits perfectly for Lawrie and his family, and exemplifies collaboration:
“The journey at OKWU has been a great opportunity. I have been introduced to many great students and staff members. The coursework is often based on group collaboration, which places an emphasis on the ability to unify as a group to reach a common goal. The cohort shows the ability to look past differences and rally around the team’s needs. It is refreshing to see others put the needs of the team above their own.”
Occupation: Area Manager at Walmart Distribution Center 7015
Pursuing: Associates in General Studies
For Sgt. Cory Carter, the AGS program is the perfect solution for his family. After Carter had been a Marine for nine years, his wife Katie enrolled at OKWU as a traditional Pre-Med student, and he enrolled in the AGS program shortly thereafter.
The focus of both wanting to pursue higher education has helped Carter and his wife be unified and flexible, since they “have been balancing the home responsibilities, the kids’ activities and school, fixing a home to live in, and work” on top of each of their own schooling.
These clear goals uniting the Carter family have helped them find the balance they need with the many aspects of their lives.
Interviews by Blythe Freshwater (Class of 2020)