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    Where I Belong

    Seven students share why their school was the perfect place for them.

    Interviews by Christy Heitger-Casbon

    Have you ever been at a restaurant where the menu was so extensive you felt overwhelmed by all of the choices? That's how the college search can feel at times—overwhelming. With so many options, it can be difficult figuring out how to narrow your selections. To help you in this tricky task, we asked some students to share the reasons behind their choice.

    I'm Making My Faith My Own

    Natalie Cisternas, Junior
    Major: Musical theatre
    Eastern University
    St. Davids, Pennsylvania

    All through high school I had my heart set on going to a huge state school in a big city where I could enjoy the diversity and fun of city life. So I applied to a bunch of state schools—and one Christian school (Eastern), just to satisfy my parents.

    Since I was accepted to all of the state schools, I didn't want to waste my time touring Eastern's campus—which I was certain was surrounded by farmland and no stores within 50 miles. But my parents urged me to check it out before making my final decision. I'm thankful they did. All of my preconceived notions were completely wrong. Forget farmland—the second largest mall in America is five miles away. And after talking to some students, it was clear that I'd never be bored on this campus. There are clubs and activities for everything—from swing dancing and salsa to intramural sports in every sport imaginable, including soccer, basketball, even ping-pong. Plus, there are tons of prayer groups, worship teams and mission groups.

    After my campus visit, I decided Eastern was the school for me. My heart told me that I'd made the right choice when I arrived on campus and settled into my dorm. I found students worshiping freely in the lounge of my residence hall. Suddenly big-city life paled in comparison to the beauty of witnessing my peers on fire in their faith. Before long my own faith began to grow as well. I found my identity in Christ at Eastern. It's where I made my faith my own instead of just believing because my parents believed.

    I'm Preparing for Ministry

    Jonathan Nace, Fifth-year senior
    Major: Youth Ministry
    Bethany Bible College
    Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada

    In eleventh grade the Lord called me to be a youth pastor. Youth ministry is all about integrating fun with faith, so I thought it was important to go to a college where I could not only learn but also have fun. When I visited Bethany's campus, I could see that it was bursting with entertaining and uplifting activities. For instance, there's a coffee house here where students showcase their talents. People sing hilarious songs and perform crazy stand-up comic routines.

    In the evenings, groups of students sit on benches around campus, one or two with guitars, and everybody sings worship songs. It may sound corny, but it's really uplifting to be a part of that constant heart of worship we all need to have in our everyday lives. The spiritual energy that fills this campus is something I'll take with me as I begin my career in youth ministry.

    I'm Learning Who I Am

    Cholong Kim, Fifth-year senior
    Major: Art
    Grace College
    Winona Lake, Indiana

    When I thought about what I really wanted out of college, I realized I wanted to encourage people to grow closer to God. I also wanted to learn how to live out my faith in a way that pleased God. Basically, I wanted to do what Jesus commanded—to "go make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19).

    When I learned about all of the leadership opportunities at Grace, I was immediately hooked. Grace offers a variety of ministry teams and student-led organizations. For example, Growth Groups meet weekly in residence halls to pray together, study the Bible, work on service projects, and just enjoy fellowship. Another group is called Connection Group, which meets throughout the semester to help freshmen connect with other students. There are also opportunities to participate in service project teams where students do things like take weekend trips to Chicago to help the missionaries or clean up city parks. These teams also put on puppet shows and other fun activities for the community.

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