Claudia (Elias) Tawfik

Deputy Director, Media and Outreach, In Defense of Christians

Just before COVID, I traveled to Egypt, and while I planned to be there for only a few weeks, the lockdowns kept me there for nearly five months. When the airport eventually reopened, I returned to the United States to visit my family, but I decided to return, because I was convinced that there was something for me to learn in Egypt. I saw the Eastern culture I experienced there as a counterbalance to my studies in the Western tradition, complimenting many of the things I studied at Wyoming Catholic College. Entering into the unknown is essential;  otherwise, we become stagnant and we cease to learn.

Going into the wilderness [for the 21-Day Expedition] and being challenged was the foundation for much of what I find myself drawn to today. Through their time in the wilderness, students learn that they are not completely in control of their environment. They also learn that they are not helpless. Putting a shelter up before it rains, for example, will keep you warm and dry. Students learn to take control of the factors that they can and to let go of what they cannot. Wyoming Catholic gives them the tools to explore with confidence.

In my own life, I am taking what I learned in Lander and bringing it to bear on my new experiences, reflecting on them and learning from them. They are not just things that happen to me; they are things that transform me.