4/25/2019│Nathan Peterson, Urbana Missions
For Claire, everything about Urbana 15 was unexpected and life-changing.
Between bad weather the night she was supposed to drive in to St. Louis and frustration over missing out on a ski trip that was happening at the same time, she almost didn’t come to Urbana at all. “Now I cannot imagine having missed it. That’s terrifying to me,” she said.
From the first night, God started removing barriers and moving in Claire’s heart. One such barrier was her concept of missions. “Growing up, I definitely had a concept that global missions required going to another country, preferably one that was very poor and dangerous,” she said. “I expected to get this call from God to go abroad, but that was not the call I got. Every time someone was speaking about racial justice issues, I would feel the Holy Spirit and just be entranced by their message.”
Those messages have continued to influence Claire and inspired her to share what she learned from Christena Cleveland’s presentation on structural racism with friends and family. By the end of Urbana, God had given Claire a new passion. “I got this calling to come back and be a missionary in the Greek system. It was like all of the sudden I had blinders taken off, and I could see racial tensions and problems with the Greek system that I had never noticed before,” she explained.
With this new perspective, Claire returned to campus and began attending events sponsored by other ethnic groups to show support as a representative of her sorority, an act which those within the other groups deeply appreciated and recognized as something that had been missing before.
Encouraged by this, Claire worked with several other sorority members to present a proposal for a diversity and multicultural board on their Pan-Hellenic council. After she graduated, the council decided to add the group.
Besides her work in the Greek system, Claire grew in her views of evangelism through Urbana and changed her career path. After moving to Washington, D.C. to work as a research assistant, Claire’s plans include eventually pursuing a master’s degree in Public Policy and then working to improve immigration policies. “I doubt I would be on this path had I not gone to Urbana,” she said.