Part of Walla Walla University’s mission is “to foster the unique gifts of every individual within this Christian community of faith and discovery.” The School of Theology at WWU encourages young men and women to use their gifts for God, and empowers them to be leaders in the Seventh-day Adventist church.
Katelyn Weakley knew that she wanted to serve God after taking a student mission year in the Philippines while attending WWU. She was also highly influenced by taking the class Issues of God and Faith taught by then theology professor Dave Thomas. She said, “DT, as we affectionately called him, was the first one to start equipping me to have conversations that bridged worldviews and helped me see just how important it is to share the Gospel.”
After graduation, she worked as a high school teacher for a time, but now pastors at the Mount Tabor Church in Portland, Oregon. Her church has an early childhood education center, and Weakley loves to teach the children about Jesus. “It’s wonderful to see their eyes light up with excitement,” she says.
Macy Weir originally had no desire to work in ministry. She even says that if she knew God’s plan for her from the beginning, she would have run the other way. However, after conversations with Thomas, she decided to declare a theology major alongside a secondary math education major. Nearing the end of her studies at WWU, Weir felt torn between education and pastoral ministry. She pursued jobs in both areas saying, “I want to be where God wants me.” Having chosen math education in part because of its high job placement rate, she was surprised to receive no education job offers by the end of the school year and several pastoral offers. “For me, that was God confirming where He wanted me. It definitely wasn’t where I thought I was headed, but I couldn’t be happier to be here.” She now pastors at the Tabernacle Church in Portland, Oregon, and loves bringing people closer not only to Jesus, but to each other.
For Emily Ellis, ministry was always an important part of life. At the urging of mentors, and after months of prayer she knew she had to pursue a theology degree as a path to ministry. She said, “Coming to Walla Walla, I had so much peace knowing that was where God wanted me.”
She is now at her “dream job” in youth ministry, serving at Pleasant Valley Church in Happy Valley, Oregon. She fondly remembers Thomas once telling her, “You are not the savior of the world, you only work for Him.” “That has kept me grounded,” she said. When she remembers those wise words, she doesn’t have to worry about being perfect but can instead relax in the knowledge that God is in control. She loves working with young people and helping them through tough times and big decisions. “The mundane and exciting, I get to be present with it all," she said. "That, to me, is such an honor and a gift.”