Huston, we have a vacancy

12 years ago Joy Hartman 0

by Joy Hartman, senior staff writer

Amanda with seniors Liesl Schoenhals and Elisa Cruz. Photo submitted by Amanda Allquist.
Amanda with seniors Liesl Schoenhals and Elisa Cruz. Photo submitted by Amanda Allquist.

Whether she is soaking up warmth in her hammock or radiating it to others in her relationships, Huston Residence Director Amanda Allquist has become a core part of the Bryan College community and it will, no doubt, be a little “chillier” when she leaves after the current semester.

“Amanda is a great person and has a heart for loving the Lord and leading others to do that,” said fellow Residence Director Myra Goza. “She has had a huge impact on her residents and the Res. life team…and we will definitely miss her.”

Amanda came to Bryan in the spring of 2006 after reading the college’s mission statement off of Bryan’s website.

“I liked how it [the statement] did not place education above Christianity but integrated them: ‘educating students to become servants of Christ to make a difference in today’s world,'” she said. “I felt passionately about that.”

So passionately, in fact, that she left family and friends behind that summer and flew across the country to begin life anew.

Life in Dayton

According to Amanda, her first year at Bryan was a difficult one as the “city girl” from the West Coast experienced major “culture shock” and then, in January of that school year, the death of her mother.

“It was rough and I questioned whether I should stay,” Amanda said, “but I was so sure that God had directed me to Bryan that I couldn’t leave.”

Over the next year and a half, Amanda said she absolutely fell in love with Bryan. She recounts her first birthday at the college as one of her favorite memories.

“I didn’t think anyone would know it was my birthday, and I was kind of sad because everyone at home is in a different time zone and probably wouldn’t call until later in the day,” she said. “However, I had about a hundred people wish me happy birthday. I felt so loved—birthdays at Bryan are the best.”

Simultaneously, many people at Bryan fell in love with Amanda.

“Amanda has simply lived life alongside me here at Bryan,” said sophomore Rachel Carr. “I have seen her in some pretty tough times as well as some great times, and her relationship with the Lord has been consistent. This in itself is a testimony to me; she has mentored me without even knowing it.

Leaving Bryan

While this passion for discipleship is what brought Amanda to Bryan, it is, in many ways, what is taking her away.

“I’ve always wanted to do missions overseas,” Amanda said. “Bryan was always supposed to be a temporary arrangement.”

Amanda with her RAs after they surprised her for her birthday. Photo submitted by Amanda Allquist.
Amanda with her RAs after they surprised her for her birthday and took her to Paint the Town in Dayton. Photo submitted by Amanda Allquist.

She said that a visit to her sister who lives in Tunisia has increased her sense of urgency to do overseas missions, and through a recent series of circumstances, God has made it apparent that now is the time to leave.

“Leaving Bryan is so bittersweet,” Amanda said. “Everyday I question if I’m making the right decision, but I really do feel that it’s time for the next step.”

Currently Amanda has applied to several programs that would help make an overseas move reality. Her top choice is an internship position doing international disaster relief through Samaritan’s Purse.

In the meantime, Amanda said she is living by a quote from Jim Elliot that says, “Whereever you are, be all there.”

“I’ve filled out the applications, and that’s done,” she said. “Now I’m just going to concentrate on enjoying every minute left of my time and Bryan, not focusing on what’s ahead.”

The search for a new RD

According to Goza, Bryan has received some applications for the newly-opened residence director position, but will not begin the hiring process until the resident assistant selections are completed.

“The role of an RD at Bryan College is a chance to have a huge impact on the lives of our residents,” Goza said. “We need wisdom to find the person that will work well with the staff and make the connections that will have lasting impact on students. I know the staff would appreciate prayer as we go through the process and for Amanda as she looks for what the Lord has for her next.”