Meet Miranda Hodge, YTI’s first Master of Divinity student. She and her husband and their two dogs moved to Bozeman from Dallas to be part of the YTI family. As a nationally certified barista and a strong supporter of the YTI vision, Miranda is excited about helping to develop an open and welcoming community by both organizing the Bozeman area coffee throwdowns and assisting in plans for The Yellowstone Center’s café.
Tell us a little about yourself – childhood, family, religious background, etc.
I grew up in a small town called Borger in the Texas Panhandle. I met my amazing husband via the photo-sharing app Instagram; that should tell you about our personalities a bit! We have two adorable pups—Texas Whiskey and Rebel Rye—and we love to explore with them. Honestly, most of my story can be overwhelming to write, but I will gladly share over a cup of coffee (or wine). Let’s just say that although I did not grow up in the church, I have felt called to be an agent of change for the church. I love what Jesus called his followers to do—love your enemies, pray for those who would hurt you, take care of the widows and orphans, visit prisoners, etc. He constantly made these incredible counter-cultural statements that rebelled against societal (and religious) rules. I long to grow in that kind of love together with others, which is why I am excited to be a part of YTI. I feel that God is calling so many here to the mountains in order to do this “new thing” together.
You moved to Bozeman last summer in anticipation of the Master of Divinity program in the fall of 2017. How was that move? Are you enjoying Montana?
Let’s just say that the best view I have ever had of Texas was in my rearview mirror. I kid, I kid! In all seriousness, as soon as we drove into Bozeman, it felt like home. I can’t imagine living anywhere else right now—we love it here! The ability to adventure in my backyard is unparalleled with any other place I have lived.
What is it about YTI and its vision that appeals to you?
The YTI vision, as I understand it, is to simply be love. In a world that constantly dichotomizes sides, it is important to learn how we can be the body of Christ. We have to be more than just Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, baby boomers or millennials. Dr. Fowler and Dr. Smith both taught me a lot about this kind of love at Howard Payne (where they were both professors while I was a student). Having the opportunity to continue learning how to be like Jesus in this crazy world was kind of a no-brainer for Chris and myself.
How has your YTI experience affected your life thus far? What do you envision the long-term influences will be on your future?
The YTI family has already encouraged me to think outside the box when it comes to loving others and developing community—whether that means coordinating the coffee throwdown (read more on page 1), going on a hike, or simply sharing a meal together. It has been invigorating to be around such an eclectic group of people who share the common goal of loving others well. My hope is that I will continue to grow with YTI to become a physical representation of love to the world and not just a theoretical one.