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In your time at NWC, who (past or present) has shown you a bit of God’s love?

One very influential person in my life at NWC is Coach Carrie Krohn on the cross country and track team. She has been so helpful to me as I made the transition from Hesston College to here, and she is a person that I look up to a lot. She has given up so much of her time to write workouts, meet with us individually about training, and get to know each one of us on a personal level. She challenges us every single day to come to practice ready to give our all and she expects nothing less. Showing the love of God can be hard to do when life gets difficult or it feels like you’re not getting it back, but Coach Krohn has taught me to push through it and love everyone even if they don’t deserve it. It has been such a privilege to be coached by her, and she’s someone that I will never forget when I graduate from Northwestern.

What advice would you give to underclassmen regarding their personal faith walk while here at NWC?

My advice for underclassmen is to keep an open mind about your faith and listen to people who have differing opinions while still holding to a set of values that are unwavering. When you start to question your own person values, it’s easy to give into the temptations of this world, and it’s easy to pick up habits that you wouldn’t have normally given into. I think being strong in what you believe in and understanding why you believe it is key to not only grow in your spiritual life, but in all facets of your life as well. College is all about growing into the person you are called to be, so having a strong set of values and a rock (Jesus Christ) you can always fall back on will get you on the right track to being the best you. It’s a time to find out what you’re good at, and never settling for anything less than being the person you are made to be.

In what ways is God challenging you to grow now?

I think God is challenging me to grow now by throwing things in my life that I have never experienced before and making me learn to accept the outcome, even if it is failure. I have struggled with being afraid of failure all my life. However, God is showing me how to be confident without controlling things. For example, money has been one of those things that is always consuming my thoughts and has kept me from being the person I want to be. God has put a beautiful woman whom I love in my life to show me that money isn’t everything and that I don’t need to solely depend on it to live my life. God loves me, rich or poor, and ever so slowly I’m realizing that money is a materialistic thing that won’t travel with me when I die. However, my relationship with God is forever, and I’ve got this life to live and focus my whole heart on God.

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What attribute of God has been the most evident in your time at NWC?

In the past four years at Northwestern God’s faithfulness has been overwhelmingly evident. When I look back on my time here, I see the ways in which God has orchestrated every detail to lead to the plans he has for me, with every event and life decision effortlessly connecting to the next before I was even made aware of the opportunities that would be presented to me. When I chose Northwestern, I had a lot of hesitations about the cost, the location, and my major. Despite every hesitation I had, God continued to lead me to Northwestern. I started my time at Northwestern as a Social Work/Youth Ministry double major and a member of the softball team. I remember feeling so confused most of my freshman year because I was at the place God had clearly brought me to, but I wasn’t enjoying my classes and even after playing softball for 13 years of my life, I struggled to find the same passion for the sport and a sense of belonging on the team. I began praying for the things I thought I needed like affirmation, passion, and a sense of belonging. However, I wasn’t expecting God to completely change the trajectory of my college experience through these prayers.

At the end of my first year, I was offered a youth ministry internship at American Reformed Church, literally by the grace of God, which was not even a little bit a part of my plan. I had already accepted a position in Campus Ministry for my sophomore year, so that summer I prayed for discernment about whether or not to accept the internship, knowing that if I accepted it I would have to quit the softball team because I wouldn’t have time to do all three. It became clear very quickly that this was where God was leading me. When I came back to school in the fall, I met with my coach and hung up my cleats, closing the door on my softball career. I also dropped my social work major and continued as a youth ministry major. Throughout my sophomore year, I realized that this closed door was the beginning of my future, and as I look back at it now it was in this single act of obedience that God opened up a multitude of doors for my future.

After my sophomore year of working on CMT, I discovered a love for pouring into my peers and into the NWC community. I decided to apply for an RA position in Steg, where I have worked for the past two years. In these two years as an RA, God’s faithfulness has sustained me and caused me to fall so in love with residence life and student development. Now, as I am anticipating graduate school in the fall for a Master’s in Higher Education & Student Affairs. I look back at the journey that led me to this point and stand in awe of how God gave me so many opportunities to say yes to his plan, not knowing what it would eventually grow to be. I can reflect on these events with confidence that God has been and always will be faithful when I remain obedient to his voice.

In what ways is God challenging you to grow now?

As I prepare to move on from Northwestern, God has been challenging me to dig in deeper with those around me and begin to reflect on the ways he has transformed me over the last four years. I cherish Northwestern deeply, and as God is preparing me to move on, he is challenging me to think about what it means to move forward and discern how to use the lessons I have learned throughout my time at Northwestern to continue to grow deeper and form new community in the next chapter of life.

How has your view of God changed or been strengthened since coming to NWC?

My view of God has definitely become more holistic since coming to NWC. I think before I got here, my view of God was limited to an understanding of my personal relationship with God, but lacking an understanding of the powerful, missionally minded God of the universe. My experiences with SSPs really changed my view of God. My sophomore year, on an SSP to Amsterdam, I became aware of the vastness of the Kingdom. I was amazed by the work that God was doing all over the world and began to truly

understand what it means to be the Church in the world. We were able to join with people from all different countries to share the Gospel with travelers and hear about the ways God is working in so many areas of the world. This trip taught me that the same God that is working in my personal life, is aggressively at work in every corner of our world, too. Being a part of the Northwestern community invites us into the lives of others to experience our God at work in so many ways outside of ourselves. To summarize this change I would say that I came into Northwestern open to God changing my heart and pulling me closer to him. Now, I’m leaving Northwestern excited to participate in God’s work in the world because of the joy and love of God that I have experienced in my personal faith walk at Northwestern.

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What attribute of God has been the most evident in your time at NWC?

“You make your plans and you hear God laughing.”

Some of you might recognize that line from Thomas Rhett’s hit song, “Life Changes.” Now I know some of you do not like country music, but let me tell you this: Mr. Rhett couldn’t have nailed that line on the head any better.

I came to Northwestern as your typical wide-eyed, excited, and nervous freshman, ready to begin what everyone was telling me would be the “best four years of my life.” And these years have been pretty much just that. However, they have not gone like I expected. From changing my major, to having struggles and challenges with my faith, I can say for certain that I am leaving NWC as a different man than I was when I came in. Most of that can be attributed to God coming in and messing up all of MY plans that I had in mind. And let me tell you, it has actually been a beautiful thing.

You see we always talk about God’s faithfulness, his plan for our lives, and his perfect timing. But that faithfulness has never been so evident to me until this year as a senior. I went into this year with incredible expectations as to how I saw myself finishing college. That list including trying to meet more people on campus, being a part of a national championship basketball team, getting a girlfriend (*reader laughs*), and getting the dream teaching job in Omaha. I’ll tell you right now that most of these things didn’t happen for me. You see, we may have these plans and we think we can take them to God and say, “here are my plans, do something with them. Make them come true for me.” But that isn’t how God works. Instead, I think God expects us to keep going after those things we desire, while trusting that He will make a way if it is meant to be.

What advice would you give to underclassmen regarding their faith walk while here at Northwestern?

Keep working hard, keep enjoying life, and keep waiting for God’s faithfulness to show. Even if we do not get some of those specific things we want, everything will still be fine. I didn’t get the national championship I wanted this year, but I did get some of the best memories of my life from being a part of the NWC basketball team. I didn’t get a girlfriend, but I did get new friendships and strengthened the friendships I already had. I didn’t get that teaching job in Omaha, but I did get a teaching job in Le Mars which will allow me to be closer to friends and family. And even if I wouldn’t have gotten these things, I still have the biggest aspect of God’s faithfulness to look forward to: His plan to be a part of our lives, His plan for us to have eternal life with him, and His plan that all of the suffering of this Earth will be wiped away when Jesus returns.

So keep fighting the good fight. Keep running the race. And keep preparing your fields. For one day God will bring the rain, and those days you suffered through the drought will be nothing more than an afterthought. One day his faithfulness will show through, and you can look back on your life with a smile knowing all of your disappointments led you to this amazing joy today.

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by Ginny Kjer

At the beginning of the semester I was sitting on the rooftop of my school here in Seville, Spain wondering what God had in store for me. The morning air was crisp with the slightest chill, but I couldn’t complain since it was below zero back at Northwestern. I hadn’t yet decided what word I wanted to focus on for the year. After sitting in silence as I looked out over the city, the first line from the song “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack floated into my mind. It goes, “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.” Wonder, for me, is being in awe of God’s creation. In the past this has been displayed through my friend’s vulnerability, watching children kick a soccer ball in the street, and by enjoying the beautiful sunshine. However, after spending the past three and a half years at the same school, in the same town, with generally the same people, I had almost stopped wondering. The craziest part is that I hadn’t realized that I’d stopped wondering until this semester. For me, it took a completely new culture to realize I had probably missed out on wonder-worthy details at NWC. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time on the field after my last collegiate soccer game or walked across campus a little bit slower, so I could enjoy the beauty.

Naturally, since arriving here in Seville I have had a lot to wonder about, both to question and to be in awe of. Lately, I’ve challenged myself to wonder at my surroundings. This semester I’ve been humbled by how amazing God’s creation is as I’ve seen God’s handiwork all around me. What once was foreign is starting to become normal everyday life after being here for a while. Nonetheless, there is still so much I haven’t seen. Each day, as I walk through familiar (and sometimes not so familiar) streets, I try to look up, down, and around for something new to wonder at. So far, I have wondered how to navigate the curvy streets of Seville, and how to politely tell my host mom I don’t like the juice she packs in my lunch. (That worked out. She was actually glad I told her.) I have also wondered how I can possibly express how amazing my study abroad experience has been, and if my calling is still what I thought it was.

It’s so easy to go through my daily life without thinking much about what’s around me. Many times, I’ve become so accustomed to my surroundings that I’ve become somewhat desensitized to them. The same has been true in my faith journey. I’ve become so set in my routine of daily devotions and weekly church services, that I don’t feel or acknowledge the wonder of God’s love for me. I had become desensitized to the full impact His love had in my life. But, more and more, I have come to realize the God of the universe loves me and that in itself is something to wonder at. Wow. Why would the God of the universe love me? Because in Christ, I am His daughter, His Beloved. I so easily forget this fact when I get caught up in my daily life, but that doesn’t make it any less true. As I finish this semester abroad and come home to start the next phase of life, I hope to continue to witness the wonder of God’s amazing creation.

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By Candice Howell

I recently heard the quote by Pricilla Shirer that said, “The devil CANNOT destroy you, but he will find any way in his power to discourage you.” Although I knew this deep down, it wasn’t until after my family started a church two years ago that I realized the influence that he has in this world and how he is very much alive and on the move, especially against God’s will.

My dad was called into the ministry two years ago after my mom had been praying for the past twenty years. My dad originally went to Wheaton College where he was studying to be a pastor. He knew it was what God wanted and called him to do, but he was not obedient to this call due to extreme hardships that occurred due to his freshly fatherless home life. However, my mom and my aunt continued to pray for seven years that God would work in him and lead, guide, and call him. God answered my mom’s prayers by planting a church, Grace Cornerstone Fellowship, in the spring of 2016 where my dad is now the pastor.

Once we started our church, the spiritual warfare became evident. In no way was he wanting our church to succeed. Due to my dad’s difficult childhood, fears of doubt, anxiety, and depression started to creep into his mind after not having strong attendance for the first year.

But this did not shock me. Of course, satan was going to discourage and attempt to destroy something that is honoring and glorifying to God. Why wouldn’t he? He will not target the people who aren’t trying to live for Christ. He wants the strong ones. There was tension starting to form in our church and Satan was winning. He was using relationships to tear down what God wanted for my dad and our church. I started getting discouraged because I was seeing how hard it was to do God’s will. I cried out to God asking, “God! Our family is trying to do your will, but it seems impossible at times, why?” And that is when God spoke to me. He said, “Candice, my daughter, the people are not the problem. Satan is the problem. You have to start fighting your true enemy.” I started to remember my true meaning on this earth, to love and serve God in everything I do.

This was such a new concept for me. Fighting Satan? Don’t I need to fight the people that are causing the problems? The answer is no. The enemy knows our weakness and insecurities and he will do anything in his power to manipulate people, things, and circumstances. I have learned recently, that fighting people leaves the root of the problem untouched. I need to get on my armor and fight the one who is truly out to discourage, deceive, and divide. 1 Peter 5: 8-9 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” Spiritual warfare at times has been scary, but I know that if I am following Jesus the devil has no power over me, my church, or my family. God has already won the battle, and we now fight from His victory.