Anderson University alumni Matt and Deanne Perry have been apart since last May. But they are not letting Matt’s deployment discourage them or take away their focus, so the two are turning the deployment into an opportunity to teach.
Deanne graduated from Anderson University in August 2005 with Matt following in 2006. [Photo on left: Matt and Deanne in Budapest during Matt's leave in September.]
Both Matt and Deanne grew up as pastors’ kids. Matt’s parents graduated from AU while Deanne’s graduated from Warner Pacific College, another Church of God-affiliated university. Although, Matt and Deanne came to AU at the same time, they did not begin dating until after they left college. They were married Aug. 17, 2007.
Matt and Deanne met in December 2005, during his final year of school when a group of mutual friends went to a museum in Indianapolis together one weekend. “My best friend was engaged at the time to one of Matt's housemates,” said Deanne. “I came down from Michigan to visit my best friend and she mentioned to me that Matt was going in the group with us, and that she thought he and I would get along well.” After they met, Deanne returned to Michigan, but they continued to talk.
Matt enlisted in the Army National Guard during his time at AU. “I started Basic Training in September 2003 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina,” said Matt. “The National Guard trains with the active duty Army, so my platoon was a mix of active duty soldiers and a few of us National Guard soldiers.” Matt graduated from basic training in December and that same month he went to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, for his military intelligence training, which he completed in April 2004.
During the rest of his time at AU, he had National Guard training requirements. One weekend a month, Matt would drive from Anderson to Michigan for his drills.
Matt first learned of his deployment in March 2009, but was unsure of when he would actually leave. “This was my first deployment, which is unusual since I’ve been in the military for eight years,” Matt said.
The hardest thing about Matt’s deployment was the anticipation of leaving. “There is nothing worse than just waiting for something you know you are not going to like in the beginning,” Matt said. “I am learning that faith is the most important thing you can have in difficult times. I have had to trust more in God to give me wisdom, strength, and endurance than any other time in my life.”
Matt is a sergeant for the National Guard. For this deployment, he is in charge of all the interpreters who support their mission including managing the schedules, housing, and any complications that may occur for almost 100 people.
AU alumna Jeannie Perry is Matt’s mother. The family is a strong support system for the couple and they are able to communicate through video chat via Skype and e-mail while apart. “I admire Matt and Deanne’s sense of adventure and love of new challenges,” said Jeanne. “Deanne has turned her time of waiting into a positive approach to give back.”
Deanne’s passion for travel led her to four Caribbean Islands, 10 European countries, Canada, Mexico, and Turkey, as well as much of the United States. It came as no surprise when she told the family she was going to Hungary during the deployment. “Matt and I both felt that God provided this opportunity for me to be in Hungary to keep me busy and happy while Matt was away,” said Deanne.
Deanne is serving as an intern with a church and ministry center in Debrecen. While in Hungary, she is also teaching English as a second language privately as well as at a public high school. “I knew I'd have the opportunity to teach private English lessons when I came here, but that's all I expected in the way of teaching.” said Deanne. About two months after she arrived, a local high school contacted her boss because they were looking for a teacher whose native language was English.
Deanne agreed to teach two mornings a week as the English conversation teacher. "I don't have to teach from a book, since it's conversation, or give tests and homework unless I want to, but I still spend a good amount of time preparing my lessons and mostly focus on trying to force the students to speak in English,” Deanne said.
Deanne’s love for people makes her stay more comfortable, and although she misses home and Matt, she is confident that she is where she needs to be.
Matt had the opportunity to travel to Hungary on leave at the end of September and spent 15 days with Deanne. Although saying goodbye was hard, Deanne feels that’s what she needed to get through until they can both be back home again. [Photo on right: Sgt. Matthew Perry at the Army base in Afghanistan.]
— Kristyn Rhynard is a senior from Ithaca, Mich., majoring in communication arts. Rhynard is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.