As the days ramp up to graduation, I take a moment to sit down, breathe, and reflect on where I am at in life. It may sound cliché, but these past four years of my life at New Hope Christian College have flown before my eyes. No college experience is authentic without its merited frustrations, tears, sweat, and laughter, and my time at New Hope is no different. But the countless hours of lectures, rehearsals, studying, and interning have quickly accumulated and helped shape me into the man I am today.
When asked, “What was the thing that stood out to you the most in college?” Of course, I don’t quickly jump to my feet and begin sorting through all of the lecture notes stored in the layaway section of my mind–not to discredit the formational knowledge I’ve accumulated thus far. Nonetheless, my knee-jerk reaction is remembering all of the beautiful moments in which God made himself present in my life–in and out of the classroom–to transform my character and restore my soul.
God’s marvelous and gentle touch visited my heart numerous times. I can proudly say that the Hill (our nickname for campus) has been the epicenter of my encounter with God’s miracles and promises fulfilled. Never in my life was I expecting to have such a transformative experience at a Bible institute. Although I expected to grow in biblical knowledge and theological understanding, God spared no expense in giving me an additional course or two in my tuition package.
I entered a shy and insecure twenty-eight-year-old with little direction and small dreams. I kept wrestling with the fact that I was an older student returning to the classroom. I began my journey at New Hope as raw, unrefined metals are placed in the fire to be purified. New Hope Christian College not only provided a robust curriculum that has prepared me for vocational ministry but also housed the numerous men and women that would create the safe parameters for me to heal, mature, grow, and be inspired to dream larger than I could ever fathom. God established an entire team of mentors, counselors, and advisors to whom He would entrust me so that I may be restored to the purpose and calling I was designed for.
My professors and mentors have inspired me to continue my education and my career as an academician, looking toward completing a Master’s in Divinity and–with God’s aid and provision–a Doctorate in Education so that I may one day return to this campus and equip the next generation of upcoming leaders in the ministry and marketplace. My heart yearns to come alongside New Hope’s faculty to educate students in multicultural studies, empowering them to contextualize effectively socially and biblically across intercultural dynamics. May God grant me further opportunities to continue investing in the next generation.
Looking back, I can wholeheartedly appreciate that it has all been worth it. I have been through the refiner. I see how everything lined up so intricately and precisely to see me become a pioneer and innovator in the ministry. A week from now, I will walk across the stage and begin a new chapter in which I am empowered to release my greatest dreams and potential.