Even before high school, Jessica Felicio found herself struggling with an eating disorder. By the time she discovered that what she had—bulimia—was an illness, she had already collapsed from malnutrition and exhaustion after struggling with bullying for most of her life.
During rehab, Jessica found herself beginning to binge eat and vomit again, starting the harmful cycle all over.
To read Jessica’s full story, visit Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories. I had the privilege of working on this powerful story about eating disorders with Letitia Bullard, student chaplain, who identified this story and interviewed Jessica. I hope you enjoy this very transparent and direct account of this student’s journey.
Jessica, thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for being part of the spirit of Andrews.
Stories of Andrews: Gabriela Melgar
About six years ago a student found her way into my office at Campus Ministries. As she walked in, I was immediately impressed by her sincerity and unassuming confidence. She and her friends, leading a group called “Makarios,” hoped to infuse Hispanic churches with their music ministry. Wow! I was inspired by their sense of mission and desire to shift from passive participants in a resource-rich environment to proactive leaders bringing the treasure of their time and talent. Gabi struck me as an able leader who had a heart for helping people. There was more there, but I wasn’t quite sure how to describe it.
Fast forward several years later to when I met her again at LifeRx gym, where she volunteers as a Zumba instructor. Not much had changed about how she carried herself: sincere with an unassuming confidence. But as I got a closer look at how she interacted with others, I began to see more of what I had sensed before. There was an internally-fueled peace and joy, and nearly everyone around her leaned into her calm, reassuring presence.
How does someone learn to care like this about people? This time I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear her story. So we sat down, we talked, and I walked away mind-blown at how blessed we are to have Gabi as part of the Andrews University family.
Read more of Gabi's story by visiting Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories.
By José Bourget, associate chaplain
A new academic year has begun and as with last year, three times a month you will be receiving in your inbox a story of some member of the Andrews community, someone I or the other storytellers (provost, chaplains, new VP for diversity & inclusion) want you to meet. The individuals in our stories are part of the rich mix of the Andrews University story—each of them brings his or her unique qualities and gifts to make this University a better place. (You can find all of the past stories in Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories.)
For my first story this year I want to introduce you to an individual who is taking on a new responsibility on campus that might be important to you. This year Rubén Pérez-Schulz will be one of the two ombudspersons; this means that he (and Elynda Bedney, our other, longstanding ombudsperson) will try and help you resolve a campus challenge where normal processes seem not to work.
Let me share his story.
One of Rubén Pérez-Schulz’ parents was from Chile and one from Argentina and Rubén has had the opportunity to live in both countries. He was born in Argentina, later meeting his wife there, but he lived much of his early life and career in Chile. He also lived in Australia for a year, studied and worked in Canada and then moved to the U.S. and Andrews University in 2006. A true world traveler!
With strong modeling on both sides of his family of passion for faith and service, it is not surprising that Rubén, along with his three brothers, has chosen that same route. Now, whether serving in his role as head elder of the Berrien Springs Spanish Church, assisting students as assistant dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, or teaching as assistant professor of Spanish, Rubén’s motivation remains that of a servant-leader: to see those he serves find their own paths of faith and service. As I listened to Rubén during over an hour of engaging conversation, I wrote down the following phrase that seemed to encapsulate his approach to life, “Every opportunity is a path to better service.”
Rubén’s life has not been one of dramatic events, but rather his story is inspiring because of the consistency of his faithfulness, his commitment to God’s leading and his evident joy in embracing fully the goodness of God’s gifts. I do hope that by reading his story further you will get to know him better and will discover, as I did, the depths and strengths of this teacher and leader on our campus.
Thank you, Rubén, for sharing your story and living the spirit of Andrews in your faith, responsibilities and relationships.
Lhorraine London Polite
Lhorraine London Polite transitioned to Andrews University in August 2014 when her husband, Michael, was called to serve as associate chaplain here. Shortly thereafter, Lhorraine was called to serve as project manager and assistant to me as the dean of the School of Graduate Studies & Research, and in 2015, she continued her role with me as I transitioned into my new role as provost.
Born in Panama City, Panama, Lhorraine relocated with her family to the U.S. when she was 8 years old. The difficulty of the acclimation process still lingers today. She and her family have dedicated their lives to be champions for the cause of those who have similar stories to theirs, and use their successes to reach others who are also navigating difficult lives.
I am honored to have worked with Lhorraine for the past three years. Her excellence in service is refreshing. Lhorraine’s Andrews Heart is on display every day; she flourishes by sharing that heart. She enjoys serving our diverse student body because she understands what it’s like to take a risk, start from scratch, acclimate to a new culture and push through until the goal is reached.
You can read Lhorraine’s full story in Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories, where you will also find stories of others here at Andrews University.
Lhorraine, thank you for sharing your Andrews Heart! You epitomize the Spirit of Andrews.
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