Today, Austin Morehouse is a sophomore theology major and the chaplain of Sittner Hall, but this life is a far cry from what he would have anticipated only a few years ago.
Morehouse was born into a family riddled with alcoholism and violence. “You talk about generation curses, […] my family was very heavy into witchcraft, very heavy into drug abuse, very heavy into a lot of very, very dark things.” That generational trauma left deep scars and was further marked by his mother’s suicide when he was only three.
In spite of these traumas, there were slivers of hope. “Me and my brother […] ended up getting adopted together—it was one of the biggest blessings that I can think of in my life.”
The adoption, however, left its own trauma. “We ended up being adopted by a couple who couldn’t have kids and as soon they adopted us, they had a kid of their own.” This led to years of abuse until Morehouse left the house at the age of 17.
“I went to live with one of my friends and he was the complete opposite, his mom didn’t have any rules. […] You can only assume what I got involved in as a nonbeliever. I was down in a pit of everything you can think of.”
Shortly after at 18, the trauma hit in full force, resulting in a six-month schizophrenic breakdown. “I was hearing voices; things were screaming at me. I felt like I was going to get killed every time I walked out of the house.” Despite all this, Morehouse managed to complete high school.
After being kicked out of that household due to a violent episode, Morehouse was taken in again. His friend’s father served as an Army Ranger, which came with a necessary understanding of trauma.
That family’s generosity would allow him to start a landscaping business, where one woman caught his attention on a second visit.
“Shes sitting in her lawn, smoking a cigarette, and I go approach her and […] she just looks at me and goes, ‘Austin you are good, […] and you have gifts.’
I was like, ‘what?’
‘Do you believe in God, Austin?’”
Unsure of his own beliefs, Morehouse joined the woman for church the following Sunday. He struggled to explain what happened then, but “in that moment, God revealed himself to me.”
The following few years came with their own complications, but also their own miracles. The kindness of another Christian couple would lead to Austin finding community among the Adventist church in the San Juan Islands, which led him to Walla Walla for U-Days.
“I talked with some of the theology professors […] and then they gave me the price […] I’ve got like negative three dollars in my bank account, probably not gonna happen.” Except six months later he was offered a full ride scholarship thanks to the NPCU grant.
For Morehouse, this miracle is just one in a pattern of God’s persistent grace in his life. “This is who I was, this is who I should have been, but He rewrote my story.”