I remember sitting in my small group leader’s dorm room as she cried. The women on my hall gathered around and listened as she explained that a friend of hers — a recent graduate from our college — had just been killed in a car accident.
That semester four people affiliated with my university died. Their lives were claimed by car accidents, house fires, and other things I can’t remember; but I do remember the impact their deaths had on me. People around me shouldn’t be dying, I thought, I’m only 19. Why is life so short?
I started thinking about my life’s purpose. I was not guaranteed tomorrow, so what should I be doing today? Why had God granted me to live, when so many experienced “untimely” deaths? What did He want me to do with the little time I had?
These questions left me unsatisfied with the direction of my life. When I was younger I had dreams of teaching the Bible to unreached tribes through oral stories. As I entered college, those dreams were tempered by the difficulty of linguistics, and the lack of a “Missions” major. So I enrolled in “International Studies,” the closest thing my liberal arts Christian university offered.
But I was unsatisfied.
I’m sad to admit that apathy claimed my heart. I decided I would transfer out of the university I was then attending, but I didn’t care where I would go or what I would study. I felt the shortness of life and forgot the hope of God. I was stuck in an Ecclesiastes’ mindset.
I visited four secular universities and was about to be done with the whole “college-thing,” when my mother insisted I visit Columbia International University. I had no interest in … well, anything, much less visiting another Christian college – until we drove on campus.
It was like driving into a different atmosphere. I felt a change in spirit. The counselors were helpful, and the students were friendly. Many of my credits would transfer, and the campus was beautiful and small. CIU was a family.
After completing my B.A. in Intercultural Studies, I plan on sticking around CIU for my master’s degree in Bible Teaching, and this is all because God led me to CIU. It was here that He used friends and professors to soften my heart so that I would again turn toward Him. God yanked me from my apathy and placed me firmly in an atmosphere that breathes the school’s motto: “to know Him and make Him known.”
CIU’s majors had the ministry focus I longed for, and the experienced teachers I needed. Here I have grown, by God’s grace, and have been transformed into an active ambassador for Christ. I trust God will continue working in my life, and I thank Him often for changing my life through CIU.