College students find a home
Countryside is fortunate to have dozens of students from area colleges. We asked some of them to reflect on what it means to have a church home while away from home.
A beautiful picture
After six weeks of being a camp counselor in Maryland last summer, my coworkers and I sat outside a Ritas discussing our plans for the rest of the summer. “Monicah, are you going back home?” one asked. I replied with a quick “no”, reminding them that I was going back to Michigan. I was homesick and worried about what I was coming back to. The campus would be empty for a couple of weeks before school started.
Later that night, I received a phone call from a member at Countryside inviting me to a VBS event at Lake Michigan. I cried after that conversation. I felt as though God was reminding me that I belonged to something greater than any temporary or earthly connections. Something eternal. I had a church family to come back to. The structural and cultural differences between the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, I grew up in, and Countryside paint a beautiful picture of the body of Christ, composed of “every tribe, people, nation, and tongue.” –Monicah Wanjiru, from Nyahururu, Kenya, Senior at Hillsdale College
refreshing and relaxing
Having parents as missionaries, I have lived in several different countries before I came to Michigan for college, in 2012. Growing up, I had never been able to settle in one church for a long time. Therefore, one of my most important goals, when I arrived at Spring Arbor, was to find a church. Then one of my good friends introduced me to Countryside Bible Church at the end of my freshman year.
Here, I’ve been able to help out with the nursery and Sunday school. What I enjoyed the most about the CBC community was having a small group that meets every other week at the Kauffman’s. Attending worship service was one thing, but having a place to share and to be friends with people of different ages who are going through different stages of life was definitely refreshing and recharging. The book of Romans talks about how we are many members of one body. It is nice to see that CBC is the example of such a unified and loving “one” body of Christ. –Gloria Hayoung Bang, from South Korea, Senior at Spring Arbor University
profound insight and communion
I knew when I went 1,200 miles away from home for college, I would need to find a good church to plug into. Freshman year, I got to know families at Countryside, formed friendships with some of the youth and got involved with the College Bible Study. I loved the profound insight into God’s Word and the communion with believers of all ages—something that’s often lacking in the college experience. Sophomore year, I attended the membership class, Fall semester, and then became a member of the church. Even though I knew my time in Hillsdale was limited, becoming a member put my involvement in the church and community at the top of my priority list.
Being a member reminds me to put the books down, stop focusing on myself for a day and go serve those who do so much to support me in my home away from home. After all, there’s beauty and goodness in cleaning a pile of dishes so a mom who does that every day doesn’t have to for once. Thank you for taking me in, teaching me, loving me in spite of my faults and welcoming me into a church family that I would not survive college without. –Shelby Nies, from Colorado, Senior at Hillsdale