Reflections on faith formation from Hesston College faculty and students
Compiled by Emily Kauffman – Horizon Features Editor
Beginning on Feb. 8 students and faculty celebrated Faith Week, emphasizing Hesston’s Faith learning outcome. Faith-themed chapels and forum this week led to the big event of the week, the Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series, “Overcoming Evil: Ordinary People Making a Difference,” which took place at Hesston Mennonite Church Feb. 13-15. The week inspired discussion on how faith influences education.
What’s challenged your faith while at Hesston? What have you learned from those challenges?
Steven Yoder, Sophomore: “My first year here, I was very disconnected from my faith and the church. I think I went to church three times the first semester. However, the second semester I began going to Journey (Mennonite Church in McPherson) with a good group of friends. We held each other accountable and were able to worship and discuss together. I now consider Journey my home church and a place that I can be held accountable.
What about your faith compels you to study your subject matter?
Kevin Wilder, Bible and Ministry and Psychology faculty: “When I went to college back in the day, they encouraged us to study what we love. I love people and God, so I studied psychology and religion. I got my master’s in family ministry and I am working on a doctorate in ministry in marriage and family counseling. I still enjoy learning and being with people and God. Hesston College gives me a lot of opportunities to be with both Jesus and people. I also think my gifts are caring for people, teaching and doing new things and I feel like I get to use those gifts here.”
What about your faith has brought you to this place at this time?
Maria Day, Spanish faculty: “The Mennonite Church has been very instrumental as part of my faith story. It was through connections in the Doopsgezinde Kerk in Aardenburg, Holland and Oak Grove Mennonite Church in Smithville, Ohio that my family became an immigrant family, or aliens, upon our arrival to Ohio. The church welcomed us, and considered the Beun Family as members of the church family; this welcome continues to be an example of Christian hospitality. One way in which I strive to demonstrate my gratitude for this gift is through learning activities in the classroom, as well as interactions with opportunities to nurture students. This is God’s leading to my vocation at Hesston College.”
How does your faith impact your learning?
Rose Yoder, Freshman: “Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24.
“Whenever I start to feel so bogged down with homework and want to skimp on it or just not do it, or not do it the best that I can I think of this verse. I remind myself that my education is for the Lord. Whatever I do, whether it is a simple quiz, a worksheet worth two points or final exams, I am to work at it with all my heart because it is the Lord Christ I am serving.”
Taylor Zehr, Sophomore: “I am a Bible and Ministry major. I first started thinking about my major when I took a one-semester Bib Lit class in high school. This class had a theme that when you begin to learn cultural context of passages or the meaning of certain words in the original language or how a story fits in with the entire biblical narrative, the Bible opens up like a fire hydrant. This was so true for me, and I loved it. Becoming a Bible major also seemed to fit into what I believe to be a calling I’ve heard into career missions, so I started looking into the major on a whim. As you might imagine, then, my faith impacts my learning in a very direct way. Each of my Bible classes have challenged the way that I see the world, myself, those around me, and God. I struggled a lot during parts of my first year at Hesston, and my Psalms and Epistles class challenged me to cry to God, to be willing to question God, to get angry at God and own up to it so that He can work with me–in all of my mess and muck. I have grown so much in the past (almost) two years, in my faith and in so much more, and I would never give up my time or any of my challenges here. Yay Hesston!”
What about your faith your faith has led you to Hesston College?
Oliver Wisseman, Freshman: “It was all faith for me. God had given me a few choices, but ultimately he made it clear that Hesston was the place I should attend. One day I went for a run, and I went running in the hills where I had never been, just seeing if there was something God wanted to show me. He showed me a beautiful view looking out to the mountains and I came about 30 feet from some deer. As far as my decision went, seeing the beauty of his creation, I felt the need to go to a place where I would be surrounded by a community that would always point back to God. I felt that feeling most strongly at Hesston.”
Deb Roth, Coordinator of Advising & Student Success, Disabilities Services Coordinator, Academic and Career Advisor: “Hesston College was integral to my faith formation as a young adult as I was challenged to question my faith decisions on a personal level and able to connect with my peers on a spiritual level for the first time in my life. The Hesston Experience is so unique, and it is rewarding to observe this again and again in the lives of students.”