EU alumni perspective: Danny and Meredith (Bradford) Sebastian
Name: Danny & Meredith (Bradford) Sebastian
Graduation Year: 2011 | 2010
Major: Biblical Studies & Accounting | Health Care/Nursing
Current Position: Missionary Associates with the AG, Continental Theological Seminary (CTS) where Danny serves in the roles of part-time faculty of Bible and Theology and the Assistant Business Manager and Meredith is the School Nurse
City and State: Brussels, Belgium
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
Meredith and I are currently serving for a two-year term. My role at CTS involves me wearing two hats that correspond to my two majors at Evangel. I help in the business office with various accounting functions as well other administrative items required to keep the “business” of the school chugging along. I am also a part-time member of the faculty. This spring, I am teaching classes on the Book of Acts and Apologetics. I have previously taught a course in Homiletics.
I am a Registered Nurse. I was blessed to be offered a nursing position at the local hospital even before graduating from Evangel University. I spent my first four years as a nurse working on a medical-surgical telemetry floor and then transferred to the Medical Intensive Care Unit, where I worked for two and a half years. I loved working in the hospital but always felt that the Lord had another plan coming for my nursing career. I left the hospital in 2016 when my husband and I moved to Brussels, Belgium. I am currently the school nurse at Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels. I love being able to work with students in both a medical and mentoring role.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
This is an agonizingly fun question on which to reflect. It is agonizing because trying to even narrow down my memories to the final group of nominees is difficult. It’s fun because I don’t often have the excuse to reminisce about my time at college. There were so many incredibly diverse and interesting people that lent to a patchwork of experiences that together formed an incredibly rich tapestry that traversed the spectrum of silly and ridiculous to serious and redefining. The joy in recalling all of these memories makes me reluctant to offer one, as if one moment could sufficiently convey the delight that the memory of my time at Evangel brings me. I will say that I won an intramural championship each of my four years at Evangel though! Go K1N!
I have so many wonderful memories from my years at Evangel. One of my favorite memories is a yearly tradition I had with a couple of my fellow nursing student friends. At the end of the year, when everyone had moved off campus, the nursing students had to stay for a few more weeks to finish classes at the nursing school. With the dorms to ourselves, we went mattress surfing down the dorm stairs. As nursing students, we each knew we were in good hands if one of us got hurt, which never happened! 🙂
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
A current day in my life involves me teaching either Theology or Bible, working in the business office on the accounting, and having conversations with students in English, French, or both! The fact that I was able to spend four years preparing myself in the area of Bible and Theology, accounting, and French is absolutely incredible. I love that Evangel prepared both myself, and Meredith, to be skilled in specific fields, yet continued to nurture within us a heart to serve the Lord whether working in accounting firms, hospitals, or as missionaries.
My time at Evangel helped develop and confirm my calling to serve others in the medical field, as well as to one day pursue medical missions. There were some great chapel services where the Lord spoke to me about giving a few years of my life to missions. During my junior year, I had the opportunity to go on a medical missions trip with some of my fellow nursing students. That trip really confirmed the call I knew God placed on my life – that I would be doing missions work one day.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
While it has not been that long since I graduated, I’ve already done a variety of different things. From working in two different public accounting firms in two different cities, completing a masters degree in Religious Studies, to serving as a missionary in Belgium. The preparation I received that has allowed me to thrive in all of these arenas was not so much the passing on of necessary knowledge; rather, my time at Evangel succeeded in its preparation of me because it was a season of formation. The community, other students, professors, classes, chapels, floor devotionals, ministry teams, even intramural events provided a context in which I was shaped and molded, not only on an intellectual level, but on relational, emotional, and spiritual levels as well. I’m a firm believer that you become what you love. Evangel provided the environment to train me how to love the right things in the proper manner. The preparation at Evangel then was truly a formation of my heart and character. Having correctly ordered desires has allowed me, wherever I go, whatever I do, to maintain a life guided and directed by my love of God. It is that type of preparation/formation that has served me well so far and gives me confidence to face whatever may be in store in the future.
My time at Evangel was great at preparing me for life after college. Living in the dorms gave me some great opportunities to take on a leadership role on hall council. Living in the dorms and working in close proximity with a lot of girls was also good preparation for life in the workforce after college. I’m thankful that Evangel helped strengthen and challenge my knowledge of the Lord so I am better equipped to share my faith with others.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
Make sure you learn how to learn. Everything that you are learning now at school will be vital, but when you arrive at work the first day of your job, you will just be starting a new phase of your education. I can’t even begin to describe how much I learned in my first two years of work after graduation. I did not, nor would it have been possible for me to, succeed by relying on the information that I had learned in college already. I succeeded because I had cultivated the tools necessary to continue to learn, and I daily developed new, necessary competencies that I had not yet acquired. If you don’t attain the ability and desire to continue learning, despite all of in the information you will have learned before graduation, you will never know everything that you need to in order to truly succeed.
The advice I would give to current students at Evangel would be to enjoy your time at school because those years can be some of the most enjoyable years of your life. At the same time, take this season in life seriously, study hard and take every opportunity to soak in the wisdom of the professors. If I could go back to my college years, I would take more opportunities to gain godly wisdom and advice from my professors. Even though I was going into a field that had nothing to do with theology, I still used what I learned in my classes to talk with colleagues and students; and here I am now working in a seminary, so it’s coming in handy again!
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
My dad always used to tell me, before dropping me off at practice for the various sports I played growing up, “Work hard. Be coachable.” Before moving to Belgium, I was in a supervisory role at an accounting firm and worked with many new graduates. Some were incredible and some were… below average. The main difference between those two categories was not their intelligence, nor their adeptness with the tax code, not even whether they always kept their debits and credits straight. The new graduates that were a pleasure to work with and transitioned well to their new careers were the ones who put in the effort. They tried even when they were frustrated. They worked hard even if others around them didn’t. And, when they made mistakes, which they did – everyone does – they took the critiquing and training they received to improve. Being willing to work hard and to be coachable can take you a long way in any field or industry.
If I were in a position to hire a new graduate from Evangel, I would look for someone who is hardworking, humble, has a good work ethic, and has a good attitude. I would also look for someone looks for ways to serve others. I think Evangel does a great job of teaching students how to be student servant leaders and I think that makes for a very valuable person to have in the workforce.