An Inside SNU Story: Bekah Stewart

By Paul McGrady

People of the older generations sometimes get concerned about the future. The America of 2012 is not the America of the 1950's and 1960's. Our culture has changed so dramatically it is sometimes difficult to fully comprehend. We wonder how much it will change in another forty or fifty years. We wonder if the values we hold dear will endure through another generation or two. Please meet Bekah Stewart.

Sophomore Bekah Stewart is a talented athlete. She is strong and moves swiftly as a midfielder on the SNU women's soccer team. On any given Storm soccer game, one will find Bekah heading the ball over defenders, deflecting passes and shots, scoring and generally making a positive difference for her successful team that is headed to the NCCAA regional playoffs. “Bekah covers a lot of ground on the field. She is constantly helping defend and trying to get the job done for her team. She has a knack of doing what is needed to help us be successful. She is a phenomenal player,” says Julie Duncan, SNU women’s soccer coach.

But Bekah is planning and hoping to make a bigger difference in life and getting to know her, one quickly begins to understand a broader picture. She wants to help a hurting world of people. Every day at Southern Nazarene University brings her closer to her goal. She is on a journey of a lifetime and where she will end up brings a world of possibilities.

Last summer, Bekah spent 19 days on a mission trip sponsored by SNU in Swaziland, South Africa. The tiny country is reeling with the ravages of an AIDS epidemic. It was the trip of her young lifetime. "It made me look seriously at becoming a missionary. We worked with the Zakehle Church of the Nazarene. The youth group was serving in their community. Those young people were reaching out providing food and medical care. It was a struggle for me to be from a blessed background and see people live in circumstances with no shelter, food and medicine."

Bekah has always had access to food, shelter and medicine in Miami, Oklahoma where she grew up. She had the kind of parents some kids can only hope for. "My dad (Jeff) is a general surgeon and my mom (Lori) is the most caring relational person. My parents are the strongest Christians I know. They both attended SNU and always told me 'go to SNU'! But my parents told me they would support me wherever I decided to go to college."

The University of Tulsa and Houston Baptist University contacted her about playing soccer and with her college test scores Bekah could literally have chosen any college in the nation. She took the ACT five times with a best score of 35 out of a possible 36. "I didn't want my whole life to be about academics and I didn't want my whole life to be about athletics. I like the spiritual mix and the balance here at SNU."

Bekah Stewart loves to learn. "I love school. It's my thing. I want to go as far as I can with it." She wants to pursue graduate degrees and she wants every step to prepare her to make a difference in the world. "I'm praying about my future. I am open to studying degree programs that prepare me for whatever God has for me to do."

Southern Nazarene University's mission is to transform lives through higher education in Christ-centered community. As a Christian community of scholars, we model the hospitality of grace, the pursuit of truth and the practice of discipleship, all within the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, as we prepare graduates who THINK with clarity, ACT with integrity and SERVE with purpose.