My name is Dalton Gibson and I’m a senior here at SMU who just submitted his last project for his undergraduate career! I majored in Mechanical Engineering and Math, though most are often surprised that I’m so STEM focused because my true passion is people and one thing I love most about the Wesley House is the people.
As I came into college, I was following the footsteps of a mother and two sisters who came here before me. I went along my freshman year joining various clubs, organizations, and ministries that I knew about previously from my family, yet Wesley House was simply not on the table. I didn’t really know what this ministry was, besides simply driving by the house. This would soon change as I realized that so many of the amazing people I had become friends with were involved in this ministry.
Going throughout my sophomore and junior year, I found myself in a weird predicament. I now knew so many people involved at the Wesley House, yet my connection to them was not through this ministry. I so admired the community that they had, yet the more I waited, the more I talked myself out of going. Believing lies I would tell myself such as “They have their community, they don’t need you to be part of it”, “you’ve waited too long, you’re too far behind”, “you’d be out of place, these people know you simply outside the context of Wesley”, etc.
That all changed when I finally fought my fear and finally said yes to the countless attempts of people inviting me to spend time at the Wesley House. What I noticed happen was a relentless pursuit by all the people in that house. There was such a passion and spark in every person there. What I realized was that this passion was first for Christ then second for me. Both the staff and my fellow students continued to passionately pursue me with a love that made me feel known and included, one that I could only parallel to a love that God has for us.
I didn’t realize it, but I had been pushing these people away for years. However, no matter how much I pushed them away, they responded with an even greater love for me. I was so caught up in my image and how I would be seen. So much so that I was blind to the love these people had been pouring out all along, through their consistent outreach and invitations. I realized that I simply had to fight this prideful desire to seem like I had everything all together and admit that I was in desperate need of a community that would push me towards Christ.
I gradually became more and more involved throughout my junior and senior year at SMU. I’ll admit however that I still didn’t do the best job! I commonly joked that I was the least involved Wesley House member, as I had never been to The Table (thank you night class). However, the name of this ministry just made so much more sense to me because every new day, the Wesley House felt more like home.
I’m grateful for all my friends who brought me into this ministry, for Andrew and Sarah who pursue and love not only me, but all the students so well, and most importantly I’m grateful for an awesome God that used these people to remind me about the significance of Christ-centered community.
If you are reading this and are someone who keeps talking yourself out of going to more Wesley events or spending more time at the house, just go. Take it from me, these people and this space is arguably the most inclusive that you can find on SMU’s campus. They will bring you in and make you feel at home, because that’s what they do best. They love as Christ loved us first.
Love you guys!