The strength and tenacity of their older brother Jackson, who has autism, inspired them to pursue careers in healthcare. Elayna is studying pre-med with a psychology minor, and Jessica is a kinesiology major with psychology minor who plans to pursue a career in occupational therapy.
They both love anything active and outdoors. Jessica is admittedly timid, and Elayna has an adventurous nature. Their parents encouraged them to “lean into” whatever they were doing, and they watched Jackson persevere and try new things. So they push themselves and seek out new experiences and opportunities for growth.
“We wanted to go to different places,” Elayna said. “We went to the same high school, the same university, and we wanted an experience that was ours with God. A big moment in our lives, a big spiritual transformation to be just with God and ourselves.”
Jessica traveled to Slovenia to teach drumming in a music ministry camp. She started drumming her junior year of high school, and had prayed for a way to use it. “I’ve found that pushing myself isn’t as scary as it originally seems. I overcome these fears with the Lord.”
Although medical missions seemed the obvious choice for Elayna, she had served in that capacity before and wanted a different experience. Encouraged by the words of a professor, Dr. Cynthia Powell, she traveled to American Samoa. “She said that at the end of the day wanting to be a doctor is about being with people. If I don’t love people or enjoy being with them, then I’m missing the point. Forget the medical resume, I went across the world because I care about people and want to do things for God’s kingdom.”
The trips were through ACU’s WorldWide Witness and their required training classes were “vital for our preparation.” They researched culture, history and current events, “but they also prepared us by encouraging and motivating us to be closer to God. I loved that they emphasized relationship with God over a list of things to do,” Elayna said.
Jessica’s freshman Bible class was full of discussions about all kinds of differing beliefs and that experience proved invaluable for navigating direct questions about her belief in God while in Slovenia. She also drew from material she learned in her psychology classes for ways to connect with people.
And the adventures roll on for the Bruce twins. Jessica studied in Germany this spring and Elayna is headed there next year. Jessica is interning over the summer with an adaptive sports association in Durango, Colorado. Elayna will be taking courses in their hometown Austin, shadowing doctors and attending as many concerts as she can fit in. And Jackson is currently making pottery at BIG in Georgetown, Texas.