“If I could title my own biography, I would want it to say…. Emily: Friend to All. And it would say that I always tried to be there for anyone and everyone.”
I was born in Webster, Texas. After a month, my dad got the opportunity to move to Chicago for work. My childhood in Chicago was really nice. I had really good friends and we went to a small church, and that church was like our family. I lived there until the end of my third grade, and for my fourth grade, I came back to Texas.
As a Freshman in college, I became a lot more outgoing and willing to talk to different types of people. I reached out to everyone. I had a network at church that was stronger than it was before, not just people my age and going through the same things as me, but people who were older than me with all kinds of backgrounds. I was learning through their experiences. And in the process, I felt like I grew from them.
Ever since then, it’s always been my goal to make people I typically don’t talk to feel like they are loved or like they are special, or let them know that someone sees them. I always try to look for the people who are not looked after, or not recognized. And I fail a lot. It requires going out of your comfort zone. That’s what Jesus does with us. He reaches out to the people who aren’t noticed, who feel like they are alone, and shows them that He is their Father.
I joined the Christian organization OneWay. I think the Gospel shows God’s love — how selfless it is. I feel like I’d heard it so many times, to the point where I was numb to it. When I heard it in a new setting through new people, it really showed me God’s love. That really shaped me and motivated me to live my life through Him. I knew I wanted to live my life fully for God because of this new understanding. It’s the love of God that motivates me to be more loving, to be selfless, to be like He is while I’m on this earth.
Once I was passing out flyers for OneWay and I saw an Indian girl frantically running around. I approached her and I was like, “Hey, you should join OneWay!” She was like, “Thanks! But I’m late to class and don’t know where my class is.” So I took her to class. She’s an international student, she’s from Mumbai. I gave her my number and told her if she ever needs anything to let me know. She joined my Bible study, and she’s Hindu, but she’s been attending my Bible study. I know she has times where she feels anxious, but she knows when she has those times she can always text me. Being able to talk through it with her and be there for her I just find to be such a privilege.
Through OneWay, I became a small group leader — every week I lead a Bible study for a group of 4–7 girls. I’d never imagined I’d be able to do stuff like that in college. I always thought you had to have some sort of background or some sort of qualification.
Initially, when I was a small group leader, I didn’t like the concept of it. The way they shared the gospel was different from what I’d heard before. I thought the way you get a message across is through preaching. I remember telling a OneWay staff member I felt like this is not how it should be. There should be one person saying the truth and that’s it. Isn’t that more convicting? More powerful?
I used to pick my own passages secretly and go over them with my small group. But I talked to staff about it and they were like no, she can’t be doing that. It was abrupt. I was like, “Okay, I have to start doing this now.” But then I started doing the passages they selected and I realized these passages were a lot better than the ones I was doing, and that was humbling. That humility opened me up to take a step back, hear other people, and realize God has something to say through them too.
I had to realize that Emily Abraham is not the only one with the truth. I had to realize it’s not all in my hands. Sometimes it’s okay to let go and just hear what people have to say. And often, people say something that’s more powerful than could have been in your mind to begin with.
I really value when you have a heart to heart connection with someone. From that place, you can be there for them. If I could title my own biography, I would it to be called Emily: Friend to All. And it would say that I always tried to be there for anyone and everyone. People are the pillars in your life. More than being a student and making good grades, what I’ll remember are the lessons I learned from others.