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Lincoln Inspired Me to Earn My College Degree

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As Lincoln, a resident at MSC Jamaica's Jacob's Ladder, celebrated his 46th birthday on Sunday, May 17th, Brandon Emery graduated with a degree in psychology that Lincoln inspired him to pursue.

Lincoln's Message to Mission Volunteers

Lincoln Inspired Me to Earn My College Degree in Psychology

Brandon Emery

Brandon and LincolnIn the spring of 2014, I was a junior at St. Thomas More High School in Rapid City, South Dakota. It was through my school that I was given the opportunity to travel to Jamaica to visit the Mustard Seed Communities. We spent a week at Blessed Assurance, as well as a week at Jacob's Ladder.

During my stay at Jacob’s Ladder, I was fortunate enough to meet Lincoln, who would turn out to be a huge inspiration for me to pursue my college degree. Upon meeting Lincoln, we immediately engaged in deep conversation about each other's interests and passions. I quickly realized that Lincoln was passionate about psychology and counseling others. I wasn't really sure what my interests were yet but I was very entertained listening to his love for helping others.

In 2015, I was fortunate enough to go back to Jamaica, where I got to visit my friends once again. I was so excited to get back to Jacob's Ladder to see my friends Joseph and Lincoln. I spent the week hanging out with these two, and spent another large portion of time talking to Lincoln about what I was going to do after high school. I did not want to go to college but Lincoln definitely pushed me to further my education, and find something that I loved. "It’s an opportunity you cannot pass," he told me. That spring I enrolled in college at the University of Wyoming, where I went undeclared for a whole year.

Spring 2016, my dad was still chaperoning the trip for my high school, and when he was at Jacob’s Ladder, I was able to FaceTime with Lincoln. He was asking all about my classes and how I liked them. I told him that I hated every course I had taken besides Psychology. I remember him saying, "So will you take another psychology course next year?  You should." I had already enrolled in my classes and sure enough was enrolled in two psychology courses. That next fall I declared my major as psychology, and that was largely influenced by my very first conversation with Lincoln when I was 17 years old. I was blown away by his passion for talking to others and helping those in need. He helped me through a hard time in my life in the short week I was able to visit him.

Brandon Emery GraduationI was able to visit with Lincoln every year since 2015 until this spring, because our school’s trip was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, I graduated college from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. in Psychology, as well as minors in Outdoor Leadership, Sociology and Environment and natural resources. It is in my future plans to find a way to mix my love of psychology with the outdoors so that I can share the beauty of this planet with those in need. Oddly enough, the date of my graduation was Lincoln’s birthday!

Thank you to Lincoln for being an inspiration to me and for keeping in touch with me throughout all of these years. Lincoln played a large role in my decision to go to college, and furthermore to stick with it to the end! I can’t wait to make it back to visit someday.

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