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OC Christian Family Students Learn From Community Members, Marriage Mentors

Marriage Goals Mentors, The Castillo's
Mentors snapped photos in their #MarriageGoals t-shirts, gifted to them by students.

OC students connected with married couples across generations.

In the Spring and Summer of 2020, Dean of Spiritual Life Jeff McMillon had plenty of down time to prepare for his upcoming academic semester. McMillon's father, Dr. Lynn McMillon, had recently passed down the responsibility of OC's popular Christian Family class. With a couple of years under his belt, McMillon wanted to come into the new semester with a fresh idea. One idea particularly struck him.

"This [idea] was about my love of mentoring and relationship building across generations," McMillon said. "Something that I get this massive privilege of doing on a daily basis...and this realization that many other adults in my age group would enjoy a chance to be a voice in the lives of OC students, too."

OC family members Richard & Pat Lawson

McMillon took his inspiration and turned it into a project for his Christian Family students.

During the fall semester, McMillon asked his students to pair up with marriage mentors in lieu of a book review assignment. These mentors were married for 12+ years (some had 50 years under their belt!) and available for 3-4 video mentor sessions.

Then, the relationships bloomed and advice poured out.

Students asked questions like:

  1. Can you tell me about a time when infatuation led you to make an impulsive decision?
  2. What are some of the conflicts in married life that tend to be repetitive, big or small, that I should anticipate?
  3. What advice do you have for me about helpful spiritual disciplines, habits or practices?

Couples opened up and students formed personal bonds with their mentors. OC track athlete Payton Duesing paired up with OC Eagle parents Keith and Mandy Castillo, ultimately building a strong relationship with the Castillos through spiritually challenging conversations.

"This has by far been the best class I have ever taken and I really appreciate all of the lessons [Professor McMillon] taught," Duesing said. "I have never taken a course more applicable to life and I wish the class didn’t have to end!"

Connecting OC students with the community across generations, this project demonstrated the influence God has to unite people regardless of where they are in their walk in life. Eagles paired up with couples they admire and learned about their humanity, flaws, faith and love.

Keith & Mandy Castillo
"I can’t tell you how many times I smiled, laughed and even teared up a little when I’d read or watched the interviews," McMillon said. "It became clear to me what I’d hoped from the beginning. There are many Godly couples in communities all over the world. They have SO much to offer. And we have so many amazing students at OC. So… getting them together to build a relationship and to work on a project like this… it’s turned out to be worthwhile."

#OCisHome to #MarriageGoals