Posts in Staff
Meet the Staff: Stephen Ray
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This week we want to introduce you to Stephen Ray. After Graduating collage at Oakland University, Stephen moved from Michigan to be a student at Emmaus. After his student year, Stephen joined the staff. He’s now been a part of the teaching team at Emmaus for 2 years.

All right Stephen, what do you do around here?

I have my dream job here at Emmaus, I am a part of the teaching staff. This means I get to teach entire books of the bible for our school, Biblical Literacy Seminars and even our Biblical Narrative Series. I'm also in charge of the weekly devotions that we do with as a community, grading homework and meeting for one on ones with our students.

What is your favorite part of your Job?

My favorite part of my job is seeing the moment of discovery in the students. Whether it be our part time School of Biblical Studies students or people attending one of our seminars, I love seeing people “Get it!” It could be a specific book of the bible is coming alive or the gospel is getting deeper and deeper into their hearts as they dig into the text.  

When did you know God was calling you to be a part of Emmaus?

When I was a student I remember working on my homework for 2nd Corinthians. I was getting so excited about these New Testament books coming alive to me for what felt like the first time. As I was studying, I thought, “Man i wish i could keep going deeper.” At that moment, I felt like God said to me “You can if you stay”. Not to long after that Tom Phillips (the former director) invited me to be on staff.

Which Bible Character would you want to get coffee with?

I would love to have coffee with Paul. His letters are so theologically dense, and people still debate constantly on what he is trying to say. I would love to have a full, in depth conversation with him to talk through some of his more confusing passages and see what he was trying to say. I would also love to have coffee with the Apostle Peter. In many ways, Peter reminds me of myself and i would love to talk with him over our similarities.

What was your favorite Christian Song to Jam out to growing up?

When i was a kid Switchfoot was just getting big. So I would rock out to “Meant to Live” and “Beautiful Let Down.”

Why Emmaus?

One thing about this ministry that has continually drawn me in is the community. We aren’t just a bunch of intellectuals debating theology, seeking deeper knowledge of scripture. We are community of believers committed to walking with each other through life. It was pretty easy to say yes to Jesus and come on staff because I have always felt such a strong presence of “Home.” I’m genuinely friends with every single person that is on staff. That’s a great gift to have.  


If you would like to partner with Stephen financially or read his blog follow the links below.

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Meet the Staff: Morgan
 
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This week we would love for you to meet Morgan Phaneuf! Morgan first came to Emmaus as a student during our pilot program. Born and raised in North Carolina, Morgan and her husband Justin moved to Florida with their two kids, Drake and Tannis. Morgan is an excellent student and teacher of the Word.

Morgan, Let’s cut to the chase, what do you do around here?

The short answer is, I enjoy myself WAY too much! If you're talking specifics, I'm the instagrammer on staff. Instagram is a "look in" at our daily life here and I love that part of my job is sneaking around taking candid photos! I also get to use my "nice camera" to take photos as a way to document everything from our community events, to photos for blogs/support raising needs, and just our ministry and school life. I taught my first two books this Spring and I am looking forward to adding to my repertoire in the Fall (starting with the Book of Joshua). As with most ministries, we all do a little bit of everything as needs arise.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Is it cliche' to say all the parts? It's probably cliche' but I am going to say it anyway. All the parts! My job is to be in my Bible all the time, talk to people about the Bible all the time, and be in community with people who love the Bible and want to talk about it all the time! I love my coworkers as well, they are a pretty great part of the job. I legitimately miss the people I work with on the weekends and I look forward to Mondays when I get to go back to work! If I had to narrow it down to just one thing though, it would have to be watching the way studying the Bible captivates people and changes them. God's word is living and active and it messes with the people that really spend time in it. Having the opportunity to watch that in all its incarnations is beautiful and wonderful!

When did you know God was calling you to be a part of Emmaus?

I think I knew that God was calling me to Emmaus to be on staff in the same way that I knew He was calling me to be a student, it just kept coming up! During my time as a student, I experienced life and heart change beyond what I thought imaginable. I spent a lot of time bewildered and overwhelmed. However, during that same time I also started teaching in my Neighborhood Group. I hadn’t even been inclined to speak up in discussions in group prior to that but, suddenly, I couldn’t help but share what I was learning in class! I wanted people to know what I was discovering. I couldn't stop talking about the Bible!  I tried to find any way I could to tell people about Emmaus. On occasion, people would say "You should teach the Bible" or "Your passion for this is infectious, you were made for this!" Those comments made me embarrassed and awkward, but they also made me think. Fast forward to coming into the end of my student year and I was absolutely unsure of what was next. What I was sure of was that I was completely bereft at the thought of leaving Emmaus for good. I would have never anticipated that being on staff at a ministry where I stood in front of people and gave lectures was in God's plan for me, but, here I am!

Which Bible Character would you want to get coffee with?

Jesus of course! Shouldn't everyone say Jesus? Everyone probably says Jesus right? Well, if Jesus is a given, I would say my second choice would probably be Mary, the mother of Jesus. If you think about her life, what she was told, what happened to her, what she saw through the eyes of a mother, her story is just incredible! I would love to pick her brain about seeing Jesus through the eyes of both a mother and a disciple! I imagine some of it would be heart wrenching, like the crucifixion. However, I think some of it would also be humorous. I mean, what was Jesus like as a kid? I’m a parent, I have some great stories about the things my kids have said and done! I also cannot imagine hearing the sweet, soft pride that only a mother can feel as she spoke of watching her son grow as a Rabbi and take his ministry forward.

What was your favorite Christian Song to Jam out to growing up?

Well, I didn't grow up listening to Christian music often as I didn't have what you would call the "traditional" faith history. I mostly jammed out to The Beatles, Harry Belafonte, Jimmy Buffett, show tunes, 60’s rock and some of whatever was popular. However, my best friend (the person responsible for dragging me to youth group and church kicking and screaming, if you’re reading this Melissa, I love you!) only listened to Christian music in her car. I rode to school with her in the morning and she had a few songs she would put on blast and repeat until we joined in her joyful 7am worship sessions (yes, there was dancing). I really enjoyed "The Devil is Bad" by The Ws. That's a fun one to sing with 6 people stuffed into a Mustang!

Why Emmaus?

I’m not sure I have a concise answer for this question. I simply feel like this is what God made me to do. I know, I know, that sounds like such a “this is my calling” super spiritual type answer. It’s true though. Once I graduated college, I would tell people “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.” As my transcripts can attest, I certainly didn’t know when I was still in school! (Four schools and I think 5ish majors?) During my student year at Emmaus, even when the workload was hard and balancing life with class was demanding, I always felt sadness knowing that one day it would end. I would have to graduate and leave Emmaus. Often, I’d demand an “Emmaus 200 level” course catalogue or I would threaten to just camp out and blatantly refuse leave! Emmaus has been such a gift, not just to me, but my family, my friends and my faith community. I am who I am because I have allowed the Bible to mess with me. I am a different person than I was prior to January 2018. I cannot believe that now I really do get stay at Emmaus! It’s not just that. I get the honor and the incredibly humbling privilege of watching students while the Bible messes with them too. All that to say, “Why Emmaus?” is really more a “What else but Emmaus?” question to me. There’s nothing in the world I can imagine that I want to be involved with more than this ministry with these people!

If you would like to support Morgan and her family or read her update blog click the buttons below.

 
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Meet the Staff: Sarah
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Sarah Wise has been on staff with Emmaus for the past 3 years. After Graduating from Asbury Seminary Sarah (along with her husband, Kris) was ready to go anywhere in the world to serve Jesus. Imagine their surprise when they felt the call to stay home and serve King Jesus right here in Oviedo! Today we sit down with Sarah to learn more about her!

So Sarah tell me, what do you do around here?

Boring things I oddly find exciting like quickbooks, financial reports and board meetings. And exciting things I find life giving like teaching in the classroom, giving seminars, meeting one-on-one with students and hosting a discussion group called "Tea & Topics."

What is your favorite part of your Job?

Teaching hands down is my favorite part of the job. Being a life-long learner, it helps to have times when I get to intentionally and indepthly study books of the bible for the sake of teaching. The best way to learn a book is to teach it. The neat part also is to reteach books of the bible. You get to see scripture in a new way each time you teach it. It is one thing to say that scripture is living, and another to experience the reality of that statement when you see it apply in new ways each year.

When did you know God was calling you to be a part of Emmaus?

I knew that I wanted to be on staff when I went to a community dinner at Tom Phillip's (prior to joining staff officially) and felt like I was home. It was over dinner and prayer that night, where I recognized the group of people surrounding me were connected with a shared mission that brought us together as a team of families, not just individuals. It felt like a breath of fresh air to gather with Christians who cared passionately about living authentic, Christ-following, and self-sacrificing lives. I was always interested in the mission of Emmaus, but what compelled me to join was the community I experienced there.

Which Bible Character would you want to get coffee with?

I'm torn. I wanted to say John the Baptist at first. The one who said "I must become less, so that he can become more." Those are powerful words that humbly accepted Jesus ministry as greater than his own, and yet still struggled with that identity. I get that kind of experience. My second thought was Mary, sister of Martha. The one who stayed at Jesus' feet to listen to the teaching. The one who, with tears in her eyes, desperately sought God to ask "Where is my Lord." Genesis (and really lots of the Old Testament) is full of God asking humans "where" are you, but here, the woman who's life had been so radically altered, asks it of God. Her story also resonates with me. That she got to be the first witness to the resurrection is just icing on the cake. So lets say that my final answer is Mary, sister of Martha.

What was your favorite Christian Song to Jam out to growing up?

Funny enough, my first thought (likely because of its relevance) was the song that goes "The B.I.B.L.E. Yes that's the book for me. I stand alone on the word of God. The B.I.B.L.E!"

Why Emmaus?

Prior to joining the staff here at Emmaus, I worked as a teaching and research assistant at Asbury Theological Seminary. While I loved the academic environment there, I missed the one-on-one nature of discipleship which I grown to love during my time in college and para-church ministry. There is something transformative about the intersection between the head and heart. I love the nerdy academic side of diving into the world of the ancient near east and 1st century Judaism, but to learn and teach about it, without interacting with people wrestling with the significance the scripture in the here and now, doesn’t quite satisfy my teaching itch. My family likes to say that we are called to equip others, grow disciples and serve our community, and we know, without a doubt, that the best way we can do all three of those is here at Emmaus.

If you would like to financially team up with Sarah in her Mission here at Emmaus or read her family blog, click the buttons below!

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