When described on paper, Matthew Adams '17 may seem like a thoroughly left-brained academic, focusing on pre-med classes as a freshman before switching to a political science major and ultimately hoping to pursue a career in law after he graduates from Wheaton.
What doesn’t come out on paper, though, is Matthew’s profound love for dance.
“When I step onto a dance floor, especially when I’m there by myself just worshipping God, there’s this peace that comes over me,” Matthew says.
In addition to dancing alone in the SRC studio or informally with his friends, Matthew has found an outlet for his passion through his involvement with Zoe’s Feet, a ministry on campus that seeks to facilitate worship for performers and their audiences through live dance routines.
“Zoe means life; and Zoe’s feet is like ‘life-feet,’ showing the life that God has given us, through dance,” Matthew notes.
The group brings together dancers with different stylistic backgrounds and different degrees of experience, uniting a diverse group of dancers with the goal of embodying worship through movement. While some Zoe’s Feet members have been dancing since childhood, others, like Matthew, only recently discovered their love for dance.
“I started [dancing] my senior year of high school, which is kind of unbelievable,” Matthew explains. “But I really just felt called to dance and worship with my body… I really enjoyed it and I was good at it, as well, so that’s why I decided to start it here at Wheaton College.
Zoe’s Feet members dance together, but they also meet regularly to fellowship and support one another spiritually. To Matthew, the potential for dance to operate as worship is so strong that the connection between praying together and twirling together seems natural.
“I feel like God created dance so we could worship him, because it’s giving our entire selves to him, which is a beautiful thing,” he says. “And that’s what dance allows me to do.”
Matthew Adams is a sophomore political science major from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Learn more about his dreams and favorite Wheaton moments on his author bio page.
After high school, the process of my admission to college was delayed for nearly two years by university strikes in Ghana. During this time, I had an intense desire to reach teens for Christ. I felt compelled to speak of God's love and purpose to every young person I came in contact with. Having prayed and fasted and received the direction to go, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. I began my missionary journey to schools in my community to preach Christ to them.
On one of my visits, the head of the school questioned my credibility and authority in visiting schools to preach. He requested a letter of introduction from a recognized institution or I would not be allowed into the school premises. This began my partnership with Scripture Union.
In 1998, I was appointed as a Bible Clubs Coordinator (BCC) for Scripture Union. This involved planting Bible clubs in schools, nurturing existing ones, planning evangelistic rallies for the clubs every school term, organizing evangelistic holiday camps for club members and their friends during summer breaks, and holding teachers’ consultations once a year. I was 19 years old and had enormous passion with little knowledge. Yet in less than two years God’s grace allowed me to plant over 100 Bible clubs in junior high schools. Glory be to God. It became easy to recruit, train and deploy many high school leaders to help with reaching other schools for Christ and his Kingdom.
My experience with Scripture Union influenced me in joining the Ghana Fellowship of Evangelical Students (GHAFES) on my campus at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in 1999 to continue influencing other leaders for Christ. After college, though I went to serve in corporate Ghana, my passion was always in finding means to influence others for Christ. In 2008, it became clear that my drive to raise leaders needed more impetus, so I resigned from my corporate position and gave my whole attention to intentionally raising leaders.
After a decade of serving in many capacities in churches and parachurch organizations, I desired more. My search brought me to Wheaton College in fall 2014 due to seeds sown in me by Wheaton alumni across the globe. I have come to appreciate Wheaton's academic excellence and its spirit-filled, gifted faculty. In my evangelism and leadership master’s program, I am receiving from faculty and the community the skills and grace necessary to sharpen my ability to inspire hearts, inform heads, and empower hands of emerging leaders.
Kingsley Kwayisi M.A. ’15 is pursuing a master’s degree in evangelism and leadership at Wheaton College Graduate School. Learn more about the Wheaton College Graduate School’s programs and apply on their website.
From the first BITH 111 class to the last senior seminar, Wheaton students become well-versed in talking about the integration of faith and learning. Slightly less common is the conversation about faith and work—until last month, when Opus: the Art of Work launched on Wheaton’s campus.
Headquartered in the Billy Graham Center, Opus is a new institute that “exists to provide leadership in the interdisciplinary study of faith and work, and to prepare Christians to flourish in a breadth of vocational roles for the sake of the common good.” Opus intends to serve Wheaton students, faculty, and off-campus constituents by hosting activities and programs such as an undergraduate vocational discernment program, a faculty fellowship program, church workshops, and various public speakers and events.
On Saturday, January 24, Opus hosted its first official event to kick off launch week. Nancy Writebol, a missionary and Ebola survivor, and Admiral Tim Ziemer, coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative, spoke to an audience of students, faculty, and community members about their callings to service.
The rest of the week was filled with one fantastic event after another, including panels on solutions for poverty alleviation, entrepreneurship and innovation, a public discussion on faith and vocation, and a lecture and interview with members of the Redeemer Presbyterian Gotham Fellowship.
On Tuesday afternoon, I attended a panel called “Creativity Wanted: How Business, Mathematics, and the Hard Sciences Need Artists and Other Creative Thinkers.” Steve Garber, Dr. Kristen Page, Phil Vischer, and Mark Woodworth each spoke brilliantly on how art and science are never separate within their respective professions, but are integral parts of their work.
Mark Woodworth summed up the discussion well by saying, “We need art for life, and vice versa.” He posed the question, “How can I serve the needs of others, especially needs for truth, beauty, and good?”
On Wednesday evening, I had another opportunity to learn from people who are answering that question in their own lives. Katherine Leary Alsdorf and the Gotham Fellows kindly sat down with students to answer questions in a “speed-networking” format where groups rotated every 20 minutes. I thought this was a great way for students to engage with people who could give invaluable advice and insight into the professional world beyond Wheaton.
Opus Launch Week came to a close on Thursday, January 29th. Junior Zach Kahler, director of the Opus Student Strategy Team, described his own excitement for the new institute: “I’ve really appreciated the opportunity I’ve had to participate in Opus's debut…It’s been great to see a movement on Wheaton’s campus that emphasizes the truth of God calling us to a broad range of vocational fields for his glory.”
Sarah Britton Miller ’17 is a sophomore studying communications and international relations. Photos (from top): Mark Woodworth explaining a wood photography piece during the "Creativity Wanted" panel; Phil Vischer speaking during the "Creativity Wanted" panel; Nancy and David Writebol.
Credits: Zach Erwin ’17.
God is stirring a passion for prayer on this campus. This, I have been told, is customary before God brings revival to Wheaton. So as multiple prayer groups have been popping up in Smith-Traber Hall on Monday nights, at the Chaplain’s Office early Tuesday mornings, in Williston Hall on Wednesday nights, and at off-campus houses on Thursday nights (just to name a few), it seemed fitting to have a space where people from all different Wheaton friend groups and activities could come together in prayer for our school.
Last semester, a prayer time was held during chapel time on a Tuesday for the events surrounding Ferguson, Missouri, the people involved with it, and the change it was inspiring. I was blown away by the power of people coming together from across campus to bring our worries and hopes before God. As I was leaving the campus-wide prayer time, the students I left with vocalized the same thing I was feeling: “This needs to happen all the time.”
This semester we are making it happen every Tuesday during chapel time (from 10:30-11 a.m.). Every person who is a part of the Wheaton College community is invited to come to the east wing of Edman Chapel to join with us in prayer.
Campus Prayer began this past Tuesday, and was led by myself, freshman class chaplain Mikey Mitchell, and sophomore class chaplain Maddison McGee. We all serve in chaplain roles within Student Government. We provided the following prayer requests to give direction and inspiration during the prayer time:
- That God would give the campus a renewed desire to seek him together
- That we would all take advantage of the fresh start of the semester to examine where God is prioritized in our lives and establish new routines that keep him at the center, and
- That Wheaton would become a place where every member of the campus community would be led to confess their sins, and that with the rise of confession would come a spirit of freedom and joy.
In coming weeks, we are asking different groups around campus to lead the prayer time by sharing the things that their group hopes to see God do on campus.
Another element incorporated into the campus prayer time is art. In order to remind those who gather in prayer about the things we have been praying for, every group that leads is providing a picture—drawn, painted, or otherwise—of the things they hope to see God do on campus. The idea is that in seeing the art from past weeks, we can remain faithful in praying for those things as well as recognizing the ways in which God has answered our prayers.
So please pray with us! Whether you are able to be present with us in person on Tuesday mornings or not, we can all be praying for God to do great things at Wheaton this semester. I have confidence that you can stand with us in great expectation that our prayers will be answered.
Katrina Burlet is a senior studying political science. Every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. during spring semester 2015, in the East Wing of Edman Chapel, students, faculty, staff, administration, and local alumni will gather for campus prayer. The photos above were captured at the first meeting of the semester on Tuesday, January 27th. Student Government Chaplain Katrina Burlet, Sophomore Class Chaplain Maddison McGee, and Freshman Class Chaplain Mikey Mitchell led students, faculty, staff, and members of administration in prayer for God to give the campus a renewed desire to seek him together; for all faculty, staff and students to take advantage of the fresh start of the semester to examine where God is prioritized in our lives and establish new routines that keep him at the center; and for Wheaton to become a place where every member of the campus community confesses their sins, and that with the rise of confession would come a spirit of freedom and joy. The illustration above, presented at January 27th’s prayer meeting, was completed by Julia Zeller ’15.
When I applied to Wheaton, I did not expect to have the means to afford attending. Nonetheless, when I received my financial award package, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Wheaton’s financial aid department had made it possible for me to come--something I would have not known if I did not apply.
That said, here are three financial aid tips that have made my Wheaton experience affordable:
- Apply to Wheaton
The first tip I would offer someone who is thinking about committing to Wheaton is to apply. One may well wonder how Wheaton can have a reputation for an eyebrow-raising tuition price tag and also be on Fiske’s shortlist of Best Buy schools. The answer to this is the Financial Aid department.
- Talk to Financial Aid
You’ve matriculated, you’ve had some treats at Sam’s Café, and you’ve Instagrammed Blanchard Hall. It may seem as if your Wheaton financial aid experience can be put on autopilot. Hopefully this is true, but sometimes unexpected events knock one off course financially. When this happened to me, and threatened my return to Wheaton, I went to the financial aid department to discuss my situation. It was then that I found they are not only good at getting students into Wheaton, they are good at keeping them here.
- Talk to Your Academic Advisers
Because I want to specialize in medieval Scandinavian artwork, there are not a lot of travel abroad posters hanging in Lower Beamer student center that apply to me. I had to do some research before I found there was a perfect opportunity for me to study at the University of Oslo. As often is the case for study abroad, finding the funding to go is just as important as finding a place to go. It was with the help of my academic adviser that I learned where and how to look for these funding opportunities. Your academic advisers have likely applied for these kinds of things their whole career and will have excellent instincts and advice.
Stephen Westich ’15 is an art history major from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. Apply to Wheaton and learn more about their financial aid packages on the financial aid website.