Stories of Emmaus

Curious what students have to say about Emmaus?
Check out their stories below:

When I first came to the Emmaus house, I found myself much like the man attacked by robbers in the story of the Good Samaritan. I felt beaten down, attacked, and robbed by religious ideologies and their followers. The religion sold to me in my youth was legalistic, exclusive, and depressing to me; I left the church at a young age, believing that my very own personhood and identity had no place of value in a religious context.


My teenage years and first years of college were plagued with an anger towards all religion. I saw it as a divisive tool that was used to separate me from others, others who believed they were on a higher ground than me, who thought they had a place in heaven when I did not.


All of this changed when I met the Emmaus community over the spring break of my junior year. I was cynical of them, but this quickly faded as they opened their arms to me and my identity with love. I experienced the full capacity of human love and acceptance that religion has to offer through Emmaus. Although I still consider myself an atheist, I now understand the feeling of community and acceptance that religion has to offer us as human beings.


At Emmaus, there are limitless benefits to diversity. I was no longer an outsider when I became part of this group; I am a loved child of a god that I don’t believe in to Emmaus, but most importantly, I am a loved human within the group. God’s love covers all distances within Emmaus because it does not exist as an ideology or conceptual object. It is real, it is present, and it is right here within these two houses that I now call home.

by Lindsey Buck

Growing up in a fairly conservative evangelical church, I always felt like something was a little off. While I loved my church family and respected their opinions, they seemed a little closed-minded. I struggled with my faith quite a bit before coming to college.


My freshman year, I was unable to find a campus ministry that was a good fit. I missed having that sense of greater community in my life as well as the opportunity to have deep, meaningful conversations, though, and I kept looking. Toward the end of last November, I found Emmaus. I started going to the weekly meetings, and I moved into The Ark. I feel like I’ve finally found my niche. I’m so grateful to have a fun, supportive group of people surrounding me.


At Emmaus meetings, we talk about topics that I care about, and I feel spiritually fed (in addition to feeling physically fed; I have yet to meet a less-than-excellent cook in the group). It’s a blessing to be around tolerant, open-minded people willing to engage in peaceful, productive dialogue. Emmaus has also afforded me the opportunity to exercise my passion for social justice, and I’m extremely excited to go on the mission trip in San Francisco to learn about and confront these issues. I’ve so enjoyed my time with the group so far, and I look forward to seeing what lies ahead.

by Abby Lynes

I’ve had a year long break from ECM, and have returned to my final year at UM excited, as always, for the community that Emmaus has to offer. Emmaus has been an opportunity to explore the burning questions as I stumble through college and push to understand my faith as it applies to the real world.


I’ve found in Emmaus a group of people often seemly mismatched: we all have different majors, different faith backgrounds, and different things to bring to the table. The fact that Emmaus can gather together a group of people so varied makes us all the richer for what we can do in the community. Emmaus is a place where we can look outside ourselves, our next homework assignment, and ponder the questions no one asks us anywhere else. Not only that, but Emmaus provides an outlet and opportunity to become involved with the greater community at large, through service or interfaith events in Missoula, and even as far as Vancouver, Portland, or San Francisco. Whether it’s a quiet time in the middle of a busy week for dinner church, a weekend retreat spent in God’s creation, or an afternoon giving time at one of Missoula’s many non-profits, Emmaus is the family of caring, fun individuals that I looked forward to returning to.

by Jessica Wurzel

It is my pleasure to be writing to you as a peer minister this year and share with you a bit about my time spent here at Emmaus. 

This year will be my third year of involvement with Emmaus and my second year as a resident. I was born and raised in Kalispell, which becomes more and more special to me every year I leave to come back to school. Missoula has become a perfect second home, however, leaving behind the crystal clear lakes, Glacier Park, my family and my home church never feels quite right. Luckily for me, the community at Emmaus has made these yearly transitions easier to manage, and that is why I couldn’t be happier to be a peer minister this year. Emmaus is a special place that does special things in and for this community, and I am proud to be a part of it and hope to continue building upon the foundation previous Emmaus residents and students have established. 

Two of the building blocks that I see vital to our group is our Wednesday night worships and Sunday night discussions. As a peer minister, I hope to focus on these two events and create services and discussions that allow students to grow in their faith, attempt to answer questions they have always asked, discover new ideas, and form relationships of support and honesty, and in so doing, I hope to grow in my own faith as well. 

I was raised in Northridge Lutheran Church where the mission of our congregation is to become a fellowship of Christian believers who touch people’s lives as Christ does. I want to touch the lives of those around me so they feel supported and accepted. As I spend the next year as a peer minister, I pray that I am able to do just that and to continue to do so for the rest of my life.

By Halle Wilson