Going to Bible College was never part of my plan. I always hoped to get into a prestigious private college and become a famous novelist and editor. When I was 15 years old my mom started taking us to church. With the help of the preacher’s family, my family came to know who God is, and the Son that He had sent. Within a few months I was baptized, and by the end of the year I had a growing hunger for the Word. Bible College still wasn’t on my radar.
My senior year of high school I started writing Sunday school lessons and devotionals for the fun of it. At that point God started nudging me to reevaluate what I wanted to do with my life. I couldn’t justify working for my own glory anymore. I had to use my talents to serve Him. Realizing that I should stop fighting God, I ended up going to a Christian college where I began to receive a good education. Because of my parents’ finances, I accumulated a large amount of student-loan debt.
The summer after my first year of college I started dating a young man (who is now my husband) who had heard about Central’s Full-Tuition Scholarship. He knew about my loans, and he thought it might be worth looking into. As the summer drew to a close we agreed we could at least visit the campus. So the week before classes started, I went down to Missouri so I could say I had given CCCB a chance and move on.
At the other school I had changed my major to a secular degree (for job security) and as I toured Central learning about the different degrees offered, the rigor of the honors program, and falling in love with the library, God captured my heart again with a love for His word and the need to teach it. Finding out that the scholarship would save me $7,000 in loans each year, and being able to transfer in 3 days, made the big decision to move 800 miles away and start college again an easy one.
After my campus visit I went home to pack and turned back around to make it to class in time for the fall of 2012. Those first few months were a doozy. The first week I was away my home church fell apart. Suddenly all of my friends and mentors back home were gone. On top of that I struggled to understand my classes. With Greek and Philosophy, Hebrews and Pentateuch I was flooded with all kinds of new knowledge and ways of thinking, not to mention biblical history I had never heard before. Just as I was starting to get into the rhythm again, a family member committed suicide.
That first semester could have broken me, but the community on campus was supportive. All my professors poured into me. We prayed at the beginning of every Pentateuch class. The friends I made that semester got me through one of the most difficult times in my life. With the community back home shattered, the community I forged at Central and the churches surrounding it became a safe place where I could be broken and built up again in Christ. And while being away from home was hard it ended up being very healing.
Thankfully the following semesters weren’t as turbulent. That first year I served as a youth and worship leader at Cornerstone Christian Church in Bowling Green, Missouri. There my fiancé and I were able to serve together and make friends of older congregants who are still supporting and encouraging us to this day. My second year at Central I became much more involved in academics. I worked as a tutor and as a teaching assistant. I got to know the many congregations that support our school as I followed my fiancé supply preaching. The most satisfying opportunities to serve were when I could use what I had been learning. My final semesters were spent trying to help fellow students who have always struggled with school grasp the education that’s been provided for them as they too prepare for ministry.
I love explaining and teaching truth to God’s people. It’s a skill I’ve honed at Central that will definitely follow me into ministry. In December I got married and earned my Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministries, with a minor in Christian Education. My husband and I look forward to serving in ministry where we can build up the church, work with small groups, and make disciples that make disciples. I hope one day we can plant churches and that maybe I’ll teach at the college level.
I have learned so much in my time at Central. Some of it has been academic, but so much more of it has been how to lead, to be humble, to forgive, how to encourage, listen, pray, rely on God through it all, and to trust in the church family God has given me. I wouldn’t have been able to grow and learn if it weren’t for the donors that have been supporting Central’s scholarship program, and thus also supporting me. I will forever be indebted to those who sacrifice to support CCCB. You made it possible for me to grow in Christ and become prepared for ministry. I just want to thank you so much for it all.