Scott Olson [Seminary]
As Christians we desire spiritual growth as we walk with the Lord. Sometimes we may get frustrated by how long it may take. I was blessed to grow up with countless Christian role models: my parents, my grandparents, and many others who poured into my life and built me up. And yet even as I have followed God’s call in my life to prepare for ministry, the temptation to follow my own selfish ambitions remains a consistent area in which I battle.
I have found that the times of growth in my life have been moments that have seemed daunting and trying. During my two years at FLBC, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve on a summer team teaching vacation Bible school. But after the first night out, I got back to my room and felt overwhelmed by the task at hand. I thought I had made a terrible mistake as I didn’t have the skill, energy, or patience needed to survive the summer. But I was reassured that God had called me for this ministry and that He would sustain me. And through this experience, God helped me to grow in my ability to teach, and I found great joy in using this gift to share God’s Word.
At seminary I am in another time of personal growth. It can be overwhelming at times. Yet I can take comfort in knowing I am where God has called me to be. And I know that I will be able to look back at this time—like so many others that felt so daunting—with thankfulness because God always is, always has been, and always will be faithful to bring His work to completion.
Nate Eikom [Bible College]
Community is a word that we use a lot here at FLBC. However, it is easy to think community is just a matter of finding friends you enjoy being around. During fall semester, God showed me that true community is not only having people around you that you like, it also means having friends who challenge you in your faith. At the end of the semester, I did not respond the best way toward an individual. In the moment, I did not see anything wrong with how I reacted. However, when some of my close friends saw how I responded, they pulled me aside and challenged me that the way I reacted was wrong. After listening to them, I realized that I was wrong.
God uses fellow believers to build us into the people He wants us to be. Just like iron sharpens iron, Christians sharpen Christians. God has called us to lovingly challenge each other’s faith. When we see a friend going down a destructive path, we need to speak up. This also means when someone calls you out, you need to be receptive to them. It can be easy to see something wrong in someone else’s life, but hard to see something wrong in your life. That’s why we need to surround ourselves with friends who encourage and challenge us in our faith. As Luke 17:3 says, “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”
Caley Pederson [Bible College]
This year at Bible college has not been what I expected it to be at all. Last year went so well and smoothly for me, and I kind of expected the same for this year. But it wasn’t. About halfway through my first semester, I got sick. The recovery from being sick was really demanding on my body. Not only did I feel physically drained, but it was difficult on me mentally, as well. It was really hard for me to be happy. I felt like I had failed in some way and wondered if there was something wrong with me for feeling so down.
But, even in my lowest of lows, I could still see that God was working through this time in my life. I was able to see that He hadn’t given up on me. He wasn’t finished with me yet. I learned and experienced for myself that Christians never have to bear their burdens alone. We have a God who not only is willing but wants to walk alongside us in our times of troubles and in our worst days. John 16:33 says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” In this verse, we are not promised perfect lives or that we will never go through hard times as Christians. But we do have a God who has already overcome the world and walks alongside us and gives us joy in the hardest of times. Even though those days were difficult, now that I have walked through it, I can look back and see how faithful God was to me every step of the way.
Cayden Cianflone [Bible College]
In 2016, I lost my dear, faithful, inspiring, and loving grandpa: Melvin Fischer. I found myself in denial about the reality of what happened. I needed to accept the truth and move on to not remain stagnant amidst a state of grief, despair, and doubt. It was paramount for me to realize that God is ultimately in control and that He has a perfect time and place for everything. This comfort helped me submit graciously and accept His plans and purposes for my life. I would let His will be done, not my own.
I still think of my grandpa every day, and I imagine what life would be like if he were still here. However, when I accept God’s divine purposes in a broken world, remember the truth that this life here on earth is temporal, and recall Paul’s words to the Philippians that “to die is gain” (1:21b), I can’t help but praise God for the legacy grandpa has left in my life and for all the memories we were able to share. I can live with strength and courage as a soldier for Christ resting in His truth, knowing that my work here is not finished. Even when the world is failing us, God’s sovereign will is always going to triumph. For those He has called home, we can find peace in the will of God. For those who are still alive today, God is not finished with us, so we live for Christ in light of the Great Commission.