Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, Severna Park, Md.
Junior at Roanoke College, Salem, Va., majoring in literary studies with a minor in creative writing

I find grace in nearly every possible capacity: the kindness and loyalty of my friends; the dedication and wisdom of my professors; and the opportunities college has afforded me thus far. I’m fortunate enough to live in an environment that allows me to wake up to days filled with opportunities to serve others and be grateful for all of God’s blessings.

I believe it’s important for young adults to realize that one’s faith journey doesn’t end with confirmation. It begins. I wish congregations would afford more opportunities for young adult ministry activities for those older than 18.

I wanted to attend an ELCA college because I knew it was important for me to have a strong faith community since I was going to be leaving a very supportive congregation back home. I figured an ELCA college would have an active Lutheran group, and I was not disappointed.

My experience this past summer as a Fulbright Summer Institute participant in the United Kingdom allowed me to find confidence in myself that I never thought possible. Not only did I experience academic validation, I also learned I can be a world citizen. Traveling abroad is an essential experience, and I encourage anyone with the means to pursue it. I’m so thankful to the Fulbright Commission for this experience. The trip encouraged me to not only travel internationally again, but also to take advantage of some of the fantastic sights in our own country.

Being involved in Roanoke’s campus ministry (RC Lutherans) has not only given me the chance to take part in fun activities and meet great people, but our chaplain leads several weekday activities that help me consider my faith and engage with God on more days of the week than just Sunday.

I wanted to major in literary studies because literature has been integral to my life ever since I learned how to read. There is something indiscernibly intimate about reading. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, that message is meant just for you. I remember reading Ray Bradbury’s Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed in seventh grade. I was so taken that I thought about that story for the rest of the day. From that point on, I understood that stories are impactful and personal, and I want to spend my life delving deeper into those feelings.

Something I wish more people knew about young adults in the church is that we’re hardly different from any non-churchgoing person. We simply have a different outlook on our purpose in life. Most of us aren’t going to preach at you or make you feel guilty for not believing. If we invite you to church, it means that we want you to have the same opportunity to enjoy God’s presence and feel his love in the world.

My faith has helped me through everything, but especially when I suffered anxiety attacks as a child. Knowing that God was with me and wouldn’t let me endure more than I could handle helped me get through those rough times. And even when I didn’t feel God with me in those moments, he sent my family and friends to comfort me and get me through.

The Lutheran church is a place where I feel safe, loved and free to question what I do not yet understand.

I’m a Lutheran because I feel engaged with my faith. We do our best to seek out God’s will and then do our best to execute it. We question so that we may learn and become closer to God. The Lutheran church is a place where I feel safe, loved and free to question what I do not yet understand.

An issue I’m passionate about relates to our new dependence on technology as a crutch rather than a means to communicate and become closer to others. When we stare at social media to avoid talking with strangers or when kids play iPad games rather than observing the world around them, we miss out on vital opportunities to connect with one another.

I pray for all those I can. We are so blessed to have a God who cares for us, so I try not to take it for granted that he wants to hear from each and every one of us. As corny as it sounds, I’ve been praying more for world peace recently. Being on another continent this summer provided me with a firsthand example of how we need to stand together as nations. People don’t want to be enemies and they are more than willing to listen if you will listen back.

My favorite church memories are when my church would take annual Habitat for Humanity trips to a specific area of West Virginia each summer. We used to share the same lodge every year with another congregation. There wasn’t cell service for most of the participants, so we all became really close throughout the week. We worked on the houses, played volleyball games after hours and bonded through prayer. That one week would be my favorite of the whole summer.

After college, I’d like to get my doctorate in literary studies and become an English professor at a university. I have a passion for literature and film, and I would love to be able to convey those passions to students who feel the same. A professorship would also afford me the opportunity to do research and publish papers, which I’m very interested in.

Megan Brandsrud
Brandsrud is a content editor of Living Lutheran.

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