Sunday, March 06, 2011

Welcome to Aggieland

I was very excited to be going to Texas A&M. I was excited about living "on my own" in a dorm, making new friends, and studying Engineering. I felt like this was the beginning of my adult life, and there was a world of excitement and opportunity ahead of me.

However, I had this new faith that I wanted to nurture, and I was well aware that college was a place where people often lost their faith. Therefore, I resolved to go to church my first Sunday in College Station, and start a weekly habit. Since my friends who had led me to Christ went to a Bible Church, and I had enjoyed visiting their church, I looked in the phone book for a Bible Church in College Station. I found Grace Bible Church, which was not too far away. I found out the times for Sunday School and the Worship Service, and made my plans.

On Sunday morning, I started out early walking to my car, which was parked far away in the Freshman parking lot. I had been on campus for several days, and had not used my car since it was so far away. When I reached my 1974 Chevy Vega, I found it had two flat tires. Now one flat tire I could have changed and been only a little late to Sunday School, but not with two. I saw this as a test, and I resolved to not be overcome by this obstacle, so I began walking to the church. I think it took about 45 minutes for me to get there, and I arrived as Sunday School was almost over.

I snuck into a crowded classroom where every seat was taken, and many were standing along the wall at the back when I recognized a face. Danny, who had graduated from my high school a year earlier, saw me also and welcomed me. After class he invited me to join him at the worship service, and we sat together. I liked Grace Bible Church; it had a similar intellectual feel that had experienced at Mesquite Bible Church, and there were lots of college students there. The college minister, Dwight, was a very good teacher and was very popular with the students.

Having overcome the obstacles to going to church my first Sunday, I got my two tires fixed, and was ready to go back to Grace the next Sunday. I lived on the fourth floor of my dorm, and as I was going down the stairs, Bible in hand, I met another student going down stairs carrying a Bible. We talked and found out we were both going to Grace, and since he, Ted, had an upperclassman parking permit, he offered to give me a ride.

Through Ted, I met several other students who were active in their faith, and soon I was in a network of friends who encouraged me to grow deeper in my faith, whether through formal meetings such as Sunday worship, Thursday night college fellowship, and a dorm Bible study, or just through eating together and hanging out together. 

I had been concerned about losing my new Christian faith at a secular university, but instead I found an incubator in which it could grow and develop. My Freshman year was primarily a time of learning and just soaking things in. In my Sophomore year, however, I would encounter some challenges.


Elizabeth said...

I was very naive when I entered my freshman year. When my roommate expressed her worry at losing her faith while in college I thought, "Then don't do bad stuff, go to Mass, and don't lose your faith... duh."

As your article implies at the end, it's not always that easy. But your story is a great reminder of how we make the choices that determine much of the outcome. College turned out to foster my relationship because of people like the guy you bumped into in the stairwell. It also raised challenges, which reinforced my faith (after some dark days).

Great post!

Elizabeth said...

Please excuse my poor English in that comment. It's time for some sleep.

Gregory said...

Thanks Elizabeth. In one sense, it does boil down to just doing what you know to do. However, we never know what may be around the corner, so we must always cling to God's mercy and help.