Because the student body of our Institute doesn’t fit inside the living room of a small home as it did in 2004, we now make special consideration for students in their first few years at the Institute who are adjusting themselves to a new endeavor.
Beyond the normal adjustments of new housing, a new city, a new job, and new financial responsibilities, students are also adjusting to new relationships. They are studying, living and working alongside a whole new set of people.
With this, one of the values that we maintain in our community is that a person can’t just create a friend base out of people like them. In following Jesus, we have to broaden our perspectives and learn to live and even thrive alongside people with differing personalities, differing gifts and even differing preferences.
In addition to the natural venues that these relationships are cultivated, we also plan social gatherings and events that make room for students to strengthen friendships and draw near to the LORD together.
Recently, as the semester came to a close, we hosted a retreat that allowed students to get out of their normal environment, set aside the busyness of everyday routines and responsibilities and worship together, discuss God’s word together, have some fun together and even discuss the challenges and joys of the season they are in. Here are a few testimonies from students:
Second year student Jameson Parker - “I really appreciated the extended amount of time given to the small group conversations that followed our time in the Word. They gave me an opportunity to speak my thoughts and be understood by people I am close to.”
First year student Kyle Becker - “God met us. It's not really my kind of thing, stuck in a house playing games and such, but what... am I gonna be mad that God met us?"
Second year student Amanda Byrd - “I liked that we got to have fun and just have a time set aside to enjoy each other. I also think the encouragement we got from Gregg was really nice, and a great way to celebrate ending a semester and think about the summer coming up that we have that's really busy. It was refreshing.”
Times to rest, take in the gift of friendship and connect with the LORD together are opportunities that energize our students to continue along what is much more than a college experience, but a growing commitment to serve God alongside those with whom they are learning. The best part - all of them will use these times invested to serve alongside each other both here and around the world this summer.