Undergraduate Alumni Stories

Matthew Elmore (B.A. '12)

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Your Story

When I came to Cornerstone, I wanted basic training, not a Bachelor’s degree. I had recently recognized my guilt before God, and I knew that Jesus offered God’s forgiveness. I didn’t understand a great deal of his message, and I didn’t remember much of the Bible from my upbringing. At that time, Cornerstone offered a one-year Bible certificate, so I signed up. My first semester, I took Christian Theology with Jeremy Grinnell (adjunct at the time, now full-time at the seminary) and Old Testament with Andy Smith. Before long, I was hooked.

I registered as a full-time Pastoral Ministries major, but that summer, they got rid of the major. At the recommendation of Dr. Bustrum, I took some core classes and prayed. One day in a World Civilizations class, I was given the opportunity to handle a Hebrew scroll from the middle ages. It was a profoundly moving moment for me. The effort and belief of the people who put it together was staggering. “The Bible,” the teacher told us, “is the most frequently and faithfully transcribed book in human history.” I knew I needed to learn its languages.

Four and a half years later, I graduated as an Ancient Studies major, picking up two minors along the way (Philosophy and TESOL). I came to CU to study God’s Word, but it seems the more I learned about it, the more interested I became in God’s world. My academic emphases were in language and thought, I also grew more interested in the health sciences, and I began to consider how I might put my studies to work in Bioethics. Today’s physicians are often futurists, but humans have always gotten our sense of moral accountability from the past. The Hippocratic Oath, in fact, dates back to the early cult of the Greek healer god Asklepios.

As I began to trace a network of bioethical thought from the ancient world to ours, I was falling in love with a beautiful young lady I’d met through church. If I was going to marry her, I needed a better-paying job out of college than the sort a history degree typically garners. I planned to pursue graduate work and a career in academics, but I needed something to fill the gap. So during my final year at Cornerstone, I trained to be an EMT. It soon became clear to me that it would be best to work in a clinical setting, where I would have regular contact with nursing staff and physicians, and I would be face-to-face with ethical issues daily.

As soon as I was certified, I began applying for jobs at local hospitals. I should note, in passing, that Grand Rapids has a booming health field. In the city’s shaky economy, healthcare seems to be the one trustworthy choice among local professions. Butterworth Hospital has the tenth-busiest ER in the nation, and I’d heard that since the work is very hard, it has a fairly high turnover rate. I figured I could get in easily.

Nope. I must have applied for 40-50 healthcare positions. I worked the entire summer as a temp on third at Steelcase, driving forklifts and trying not to worry. I applied for maybe 4-5 jobs every week, some not even in healthcare. I had a few interviews, but nothing came through.

Then it happened, and it happened quickly. I was contacted for a preliminary interview, sent on for a second interview, and within three weeks from first contact, I’d landed a job as a Nurse Tech in the Blodgett Hospital ER. I’ve learned two priceless lessons from the whole thing: God loves giving good gifts, and one of the greatest He can give is perseverance.
I begin in two weeks, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. The work will be rewarding, practical and necessary, and I will have more than a theoretical basis for my future studies in ethics. The Spectrum Health Network has a Bioethicist on staff, and I think I will have a chance to do a job shadow with him. God has blessed me in an enormous way, and I know I will love my new job.

I just hope I don’t see you there.

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