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By Nnenna Nwaelugo


A brief background on my life: I was born in Nigeria, but grew up in Gambia and Ethiopia. My dad is a doctor, mum works for the African Union, I have 4 siblings, and we were raised in a Catholic charismatic household. For as long as I can remember I have seen the hand of the Lord in my life and in the life of others all around me. I believed in miracles and in the power of answered prayers and never for a second doubted that there was a God and he loved me.

I’ve always lived among a diverse group of people, moving within and between countries, and going to private international schools. So, the idea of people who were completely different simply loving each other and living life together was not only plausible, it was a way of life for me. I firmly believed that this was God’s plan for humanity. However, when it was time for me to go to college, I made a decision that would test that faith more than I had ever imagined – I decided to leave home.

Coming here to Iowa, I was exposed to a world totally different from the one I grew up in. I left the safe bubble that my parents and my community had cultivated for me and ventured out into “the real world” for the first time. It was also the first time I realized that Christians were capable of hate.

Before I elaborate, let me make it clear that I would have realized this eventually regardless of where I went, and it may be completely coincidental that it happened here. So, with that said, I begun to have deep conversations with several fellow Christians students who expressed very strong negative views on homosexuals and people from other religions – hatefully negative views. I experienced racism for the first time, also coming from said Christians. I saw people use their faith as a justification to think and openly say rude and degrading things about other groups of people, not always aware that a member of that group was among the crowd they were speaking to.

By the end of my freshman year, after talking to some of the targets of such remarks, I was ashamed to be called a Christian. We were the ones claiming to serve a God that IS love, a God that embodies love in everything he says and does, yet we are not able to see that our distaste, discomfort, whatever word you please, of people who were different from us was NOT love.

There is a silver lining to this seemingly drab story. I feel like I’ve grown 5 years older in the two years I’ve been in college. I was forced to look inside myself and confront those same tendencies I was ashamed of seeing in other people. When I went home this summer, it was clear to everyone I used to know that something had changed. I believe that this was God’s wake-up call for me, that just because I thought and said I was a believing Christian didn’t mean I was actively following Christ.

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By Kyle Swart

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” –African proverb

I often like to do things alone, keep my thoughts and feelings to myself, and stay in the background. However, God, in his infinite wisdom and humor, made me 6’7” and placed me in Hospers Hall three years ago. That made staying in the background a bit tougher, but I think I’m starting to see why.

Henri Nouwen, in his book, In the Name of Jesus, encourages us as followers of Jesus to “do it together” just as Jesus did with his disciples. God has been revealing this to me during my time here at NWC through an unexpected bond with my roommate, Levi Schaeffer.

I came into freshman year pretty bummed that my roommate was going to be a band geek from some Podunk town in South Dakota who wears fedoras (based on my Facebook stalking). And I know Levi wasn’t looking forward to rooming with a stuck-up jock (my profile pic was of me playing basketball). So, I was just hoping that there would be other people in my dorm who would be “cool” that I could be friends with. However, being in Hospers means that didn’t happen. But with some time, God somehow started forming a strong friendship between my roommate, Levi, and I. I had never had a friend that I talked about faith or deeper topics with; but through going to church with Levi, bonding over our peculiar interests in soundtrack music and wolves, and just living life together as a freshman at NWC, we slowly started building a genuine friendship. It was truly God’s perfect timing for me, as I was figuring out my faith while struggling through all the ideas brought up in Christian Story 1 and 2 – not to mention living independently for the first time without the faith of my parents and family so readily accessible.

Through Levi, God showed me the value of relationship and opening up to other people about my personal faith. Since our first day on campus as freshmen, we’ve gone on a Spring Service Partnership (SSP) trip, been a part of Campus Ministry, and have gone on the Black Hills Retreat together to name just a few things. These shared experiences really pushed us out of our comfort zones, helped us grow a much more meaningful friendship, stretched us into abandoning so many of our pre-conceived judgments, and allowed us to uniquely experience God together.

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So what I’ve learned here at NWC is this; it’s always worthwhile to invest in another, because who knows, that person might just become a friend. Getting involved in the Raider community can start by investing in just one person, but it definitely does not have to stop there. If I could give my freshman self any advice, I’d tell him, “Get involved in activities on campus, drop your stereotypes of the people you meet, be genuinely curious, and be willing to open up to them. They might not be as lame as you think.”

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

-Ecclesiates 4: 9-10

Kyle Swart (and Levi Schaeffer)

noahBy Noah Haverdink

I was raised in a Christian household. My parents have now been happily married for 27 years, and I have come to appreciate their relationship more every year I get older. Growing up I never really figured out the transition between doing what my parents told me, and making my faith my own. In middle school I became a façade. I did everything a ‘good’ Christian boy was to do, I memorized verses, I routinely attended church and youth group, I kept my tongue in control, I was respectful to authority, and my faith was still my parents’. This turned into pride as I grew older. I started thinking I was morally superior, because I was doing all the right things. Through maturing and a healthy high school small group environment, I started to make my faith my own. During this transitory period, I started to tackle the doubts that lured in the back of my mind.
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imageBy Sarah Pemberton

Before school began this fall, I spent a weekend on a retreat with the Campus Ministry Team. This was a time to reflect on our summers and where God wants to take us this year. The first day of this retreat, Mark DeYounge led a devotional as we sat in a park just outside of Sioux Falls, SD. He spoke about being present. View Post

14102519_10210259287502342_2859078022536911350_n-1By Brian Follett

As I recently reflected about the power of God in my life, there wasn’t a particular time or instance that popped into my head. I have never really witnessed firsthand a ‘healing’ or a ‘huge miracle’ take place. But then I realized, just because I don’t have one ‘big’ story does not mean that God’s power does not play a role in my life. View Post