Natalia Estevez ’26 and David Edwards ’26: Bridge-building for the Kingdom

Natalia Estevez ’26

“When I think about my Gordon experience so far, intentional comes to mind. I visited Gordon for an accepted students day in my senior year of high school, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. But during the visit I knew that the community at Gordon would be special.” 

Natalia Estevez ’26 comes from a close-knit family of hard workers. Growing up in Florida and attending high school in Texas as the daughter of immigrant parents, Natalia was raised to listen to the stories of others, to give her all at school and to remember the sacrifices her family made for her and her sister. In high school she translated these values into a nonprofit organization called the Solidarity Initiative, which she cofounded with a friend: “Our mission was to create a space for our generation to process their feelings and thoughts on the challenges of poverty and homelessness that we saw in our neighborhoods.” Natalia was creating opportunities for young people to ask hard questions and build bridges across the divides in her community. This passion for bridge building would follow her to Gordon.

When Natalia got accepted into the Clarendon Scholars program at Gordon, she knew that God was calling her to the North Shore, though she never thought she would end up in New England. The relationships in the program, along with those she found in the multicultural communities on campus, have helped her define community in a Christ-centered context. “To me, community means intentional inclusion, where each person is loved and represented, regardless of race or ethnicity or religious denomination. It’s not easy, but these student organizations were created with the heart to love all members of Gordon’s campus. I feel invited and included in the hard conversations.”

During this season of growth Natalia has been reminded time and again in her classes of the beauty and wonder of God’s work in the world. No matter how challenging things feel or how broken culture seems, she can look to God’s presence for reassurance. “I was in an anatomy class, and Dr. Sean Clark paused in the middle of a lecture on some physical function and simply said, ‘Isn’t that wonderful?’ Even though the world is broken and needs our help bringing God’s peace to earth, I am reminded every day that what he created is truly good. Even in my classes I am taught how God is moving in the world. It truly is wonderful.

For Natalia, her future in occupational therapy and her growing faith are motivated by the lessons she is learning every day: “I would not be growing like this in any other college environment, and I am so grateful to be here where people build each other up and love one another, as Christ first loved us.” 

David Edwards ’26

For David Edwards ’26 coming to Gordon was God’s call. During a season of heightened racial tensions across the United States, David was doubtful about the community he would find on the North Shore of Boston. His small Minnesota hometown was primarily white––his Christian elementary school, his church and his sports teams were all places where he longed to find companionship with people who shared the two greatest pillars of his identity: firstly, being a son of God, and secondly, being an African American young man. 

“I have experienced challenges when it comes to relating to people who don’t share my background. But I don’t hold that against God. He works all things together for those who love him––and he’s led me to Gordon.”

When he was accepted into the Clarendon Scholars program, David felt God was calling him out of his comfort zone to a new state where he might find the relationships he was craving. “At first I felt like I was at a church camp with homework. But as I started making new friends, I realized that Christ is the center of everything at Gordon. There are people here who look like me, and more importantly, they point me to Christ.

David started building life-giving community in the Clarendon program, and he knew that God led him to people who could resonate with his experiences and keep him accountable to prioritizing rest. “I love leaning into my friends and being someone they can rely on. But I learned that I can’t be the superhero for everyone.”

Since coming to Gordon David has felt like he’s never been closer to Jesus Christ than he is now. Through dark seasons in his life––including the death of George Floyd 30 minutes from his childhood home and moments of doubt in his first year at school––he has experienced the faithfulness of God. “When you’re in the dark God sees you through it. I’ve seen the gospel come alive in my life, and even though things happen to me, God has spoken to me in ways I don’t think he would elsewhere.” He has felt God calling him to set down his superhero cape to pick up his cross for his remaining years at Gordon.

“I came to Gordon because God lives here, and people love me for who I am. In learning about myself, I’ve realized how much I need the gospel and that I don’t have to be the superhero all the time. I owe love to others, and that’s enough.”