November 24, 2010

The Place That Made Me Stay

WHEN I STARTED COLLEGE YEARS AGO (NOT GOING TO SAY HOW many), I, like many, wondered what my chosen school would do to me. Now, as I reflect on what I got, I can’t be more grateful.
Because in choosing to transfer from the public university I enrolled in as a freshman to the Adventist one I received my degree from, I had high hopes for where my road would go. After one term at the public university, I knew I needed more. I wanted a place that was going to offer me a spiritual stronghold in addition to a solid academic experience.
Well-meaning people tried to tell me I didn’t need anything more than attending my local church while enrolled at the public university—that exiting college debt-free would be the biggest reward. And for many people that is true.
But among so many other things, I wanted to take religion classes and know there were spiritual leaders on campus to look up to while I struggled. And I actually wanted to be “strongly encouraged” to go to chapel.
At my school I found what I was looking for. And when at times I wandered, there was an environment there that said “this church is still for you and you won’t be turned away.”
La Sierra University is the place where I understood this movement had a place for me. It was there I learned that no two of us practice our faith in exactly the same way, and that’s OK. And it was there I learned that God is big enough for all of us. I needed that so much back then, as those were profound lessons learned that have everything to do with where I am now.
It’s why I stayed.
Wilona Karimabadi works with KidsView, Adventist Review’s magazine for children. This article was published November 25, 2010.