Becoming an adult is a stressful experience, and trying to figure out what career to pursue for the rest of your life is terrifying.
For junior recreational therapy major Hunter Davis, putting his trust in God’s plan has been a freeing experience. His time in college has been a testament to this.
Davis was originally enrolled for college at Missouri S&T in Rolla. However, because of a relationship, he decided to attend Northwest and participate in the pre-engineering program.
“Within the first week and a half of being here, I changed my major,” Davis said. “The change made it impossible for me to return to Rolla.”
Davis did not want to return to Rolla. He loves his college experience and Northwest.
After the first change, Davis proceeded to make three other major changes.
“The first change was the most drastic, from mechanical engineering to elementary education with special education,” Davis said.
Davis quickly realized while he wanted to work with children, the classroom was not his setting. He decided to pursue occupational therapy to help special needs children become independent and live the best life they can, despite their disabilities.
Davis switched to a biology/psychology major, but changed it again to recreational therapy. The more hands-on recreational therapy major will ultimately get him to where he wants to be.
Davis finds comfort in the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 which says: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Changing his major four times was a frustrating and difficult process for Davis.
“I would get so upset or mad when I would realize after going through a whole semester of classes, it was not what I wanted to do with my life. But I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life,” Davis said. “Being able to really put my trust in Christ and do more than say it, but feel it, is a really freeing experience.”
Davis knows God is present and working in his life, even when he cannot see it.
“His plans are higher and His thoughts are higher than anything we could ever imagine,” Davis said.
Davis is an RA in Dietrich and has been since his sophomore year.
“My freshman year I had an RA that was not involved on my floor. I barely knew him,” Davis said. “My commute from home is six and a half hours and I realized how tough the transition was, especially if you didn’t come here with a lot of friends or anyone at all.”
A new RA was placed in Davis’s hall in the middle of the year.
“My new RA was a lot better. I interacted with him a lot and we had movie nights in his room,” Davis said. “I really appreciated that interaction and I saw the impact an RA could have.”
Being an RA also gave Davis the opportunity to share the love of Christ.
Davis is actively involved in the campus ministry, The Navigators. Through this organization, he went through a program called Joshua Team or JTeam.
“No matter how many classes I take or experiences I have, JTeam is where I have learned and grown the most,” Davis said. “I have grown a strong faith and relationship with God and I know what that relationship should look like and how to share that with others. JTeam has been one of the highlights of my life.”
This strong faith is something Davis’s family has instilled in him from a young age.
“My parents worked very hard to not only make sure me and my brother were raised in a Christ-loving home, but that we had a strong fellowship of Christians surrounding us as well,” Davis said.
Davis’s father taught him to put others before himself.
“As far back as I can remember, my dad has always made time for members of the church, coworkers or anyone at all that asked him to help them,” Davis said. “Whether it was putting in a toilet, cleaning out an attic, or completely remodeling a house, my dad has always been willing to help and serve others.”
Davis frequently worked with his father on these projects.
“I don’t know if this was intentionally to teach me the value of serving, or if he just needed some help, but either way, it played a huge part in establishing my values in life,” Davis said.
Davis is also following in his mother’s footsteps for his careers.
“She works very closely with children with all types of abilities and has always made sure we understood that different does not mean less,” Davis said. “We are all children of God and we all deserve the same respect and love as anyone else.”
His mother leads a ministry called Wonderfully Made that provides specialized care to children. Davis was able to see her love for everyone and tries to show those traits in his own life.
Davis is also about to grow his own family as he just proposed to his fiance, Jaci Swengrosh. The two have been together for over five years.
“I chose to do a scavenger hunt around the town. I worked with her best friend really closely and the other girls I knew would be her bridesmaids,” Davis said.
The girls were placed in significant places with poems Davis wrote telling Swengrosh where to go next.
“The last place was our high school theater, which was where we became close,” Davis said. “She walked down the hallway which was decorated with pictures of our relationship.”
Senior Saundra Weigel-Blount was able to be a part of the proposal.
“Being part of his proposal was one of the coolest things,” Weigel-Blount said. “I was one of the first ones told when he had actually decided he was going to do it, so I got to witness all of the planning and fun things.”
Luckily for Davis, Swengrosh told Weigel-Blount she pictured Davis proposing on stage, but Weigel-Blount did not let Davis in on the secret.
“He was explaining to me what he was wanting to do for the proposal and he had so many great ideas, but ended up going with the one that ended on the stage of the theater at their high school,” Weigel-Blount said. “When he told me that, I almost started crying because it was so evident that they are meant for one another.”
Davis hopes to break familial distance, which is a pattern with his extended family now.
“I am really close with my immediate family, but I do not have good relationships with my extended family. Everyone has their own issues,” Davis said.
Just last year, Davis’s grandmother passed away, and he was surprised to see he did not have a strong emotional reaction to her passing.
“I realized how distant I was from my family and it is something I don’t want to continue,” Davis said. “I don’t want my kids to look at my parents that way. I want to be the change in my family.”
During his time at Northwest, Davis has become close with sophomore Max Hill.
“Hunter has impacted my life in so many ways it's crazy,” Hill said. “We hung out almost every single night last year, went to Nav night together, and eventually he began to disciple me.”
Discipleship is something the Navigators believe very strongly in. Older members meet with younger members and build relationships and learn to walk with Christ together.
“He began to speak life and truth in me fueled by the gospel, and his encouragement and leadership helped shape the path I took freshman year to know God more,” Hill said.
Davis helped Hill obtain a job as a student ambassador.
“One of my favorite memories of Hunter and myself has to be last spring when we gave a tour together to a bunch of middle schoolers,” Hill said. “He had bet me that I wouldn't go dunk on the small basketball goal out behind Horace Mann by the football field, and of course I had to go to it.”
Unfortunately for Hill, it did not go quite as he planned.
“So I ran, successfully dunked, held rim, and it snapped back on me unexpectedly so I fell into this huge puddle underneath the goal and soaked my jeans,” Hill said.
Weigel-Blount also has very good memories with Davis.
“Hunter is such a genuine and caring person. His positivity and love of Christ are infectious,” Weigel-Blount said. “If I ever needed anything, I know he'd be there for me.”
Davis has let God lead his life, and through this he was able to have clear impact on the lives of those surrounding him. He will continue to impact lives with his faith and his career and The Missourian wishes him all the best in life.