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Kendra Broekhuis (’11) “embodies what it means to be hospitably reformed, and she does so in a way that is open and honest,” says Brandon Huisman, director of alumni relations at Dordt. In 2017, Broekhuis was the first to receive Dordt’s new “Horizon Award,” which honors young alumni who are becoming leaders and innovators committed to faithful living.
“The most significant things I learned at Dordt were not facts or dates, but attitudes and postures,” says Broekhuis. “The professors gave me personal, valuable training in the field of education, teaching me that my work is an act of worship to our Creator. The friends I met taught me that within the body of Christ, there is home, even when you are 11 hours from your parents.”
Broekhuis was drawn to Dordt because it offered her support as both a volleyball player and a student. She didn’t have to choose between academics and athletics; she majored in Elementary Education with endorsements in reading and English as a Second Language (ESL) while playing competitive volleyball. Dordt provided her with practicum experiences in real elementary classrooms, which cemented her desire to become a teacher.
After graduating in 2011, Broekhuis married her husband, Collin (’09), and one month later they moved to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, to teach at Inter-American School, a Christian English immersion school. There, they were reminded that their faith in Christ tied them to the community of the global church and that unity transcends differences in nationality.
“For three years we were the ‘strangers,’ but we were graciously welcomed in,” says Broekhuis. “We really gobbled up Guatemalan hospitality. The slower pace of life taught us the beauty of not always rushing to get to the next thing.”
While in Guatemala, Broekhuis began a blog to stay in touch with family. “I fell in love with writing. I was able to articulate better than when I speak and put my endless thoughts into clear words,” says Broekhuis. “It has become like therapy for whatever ups and downs we are going through in life.”
Broekhuis was prompted to write Here Goes Nothing (2017) because she wanted to apply what she and her husband had learned in Guatemala to their lives when they moved back to the United States. “The book captures tensions I feel day-to-day—for example, finding value in my work as a stay-at-home mom, yet knowing that if we are Christ followers we will love people outside our own walls too,” says Broekhuis.
Today, Broekhuis tried to apply the virtue of hospitality she learned, both at Dordt and during her time in Guatemala, to her new community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“The Dordt community was so engaging – both on campus and in the surrounding community. I came from far out of town and didn’t know many people. But people welcomed me as a stranger, invited me to eat and spend time with them, and those developed into lifelong friendships. Now as a family, we try to engage the people in our everyday lives—just like Dordt does—to continue that hospitality now that we’re the adults.”