Alana Pineada, Newaygo, MI – I attend Oakland University, and I am studying Communications. I’m the only Apostolic in my home, so leaving didn’t really make a difference in terms of my spirituality. Being different in my family, I’ve never had an “opportunity” to do such a thing (have my faith challenged). My faith has always needed to be personal, or else it was nonexistent. I miss my home church, but the church here (Faith Apostolic of Troy) has welcomed me greatly. I would say one of the greatest temptations has to do with not being completely unashamed. I come from a small town, and now I’m living on a campus with thousands of people. The first week here, I struggled with praying before a meal. It might seem silly to some, but it was really bothering me. But, “it’s the doing that makes the difference,” as Adam Shaw has stated in one of his podcasts. The more I do it, the more comfortable I become. The fact that my family is not saved really is the ultimate driving force. I felt like God led me away from home for the very reason that I will come back to make a greater impact. I know that I need to remain strong in faith not just for my own salvation, but also because I truly believe that my relationship with God is going to lead my family to their relationship with Him. I have to trust Him right now in my present if I want to see His promises come true in the future. He is the ultimate promise giver, and He is also the ultimate promise keeper.
Quintin Yazzie, Tucson, AZ – I attend the University of Arizona, and I am studying Physiology. Attending a public university doesn’t come without trials or temptations. You are surrounded by all things secular, and one of the biggest temptations for me is giving more time to school and its activities than engaging in God’s Word. Something that really keeps my faith strong is setting my priorities straight, with God and church being first. Having a church to attend while I’m going to school, having loving saints and a pastor who cares for me is a huge help. Another thing is having friends keeping you accountable for attendance to church. Praying is the biggest thing, because you never know what you’re about to face that day at school. Something that really encourages my Christian walk is engaging in outreach with the church and helping with the music/praise team.
Richard Spaulding, Boston, MA – I went to Carnegie Mellon University and studied Mechanical Engineering. I would say I felt my faith challenged after leaving home — not because I no longer had my home church but because my environment completely changed. Whereas home was a safe place where I could fearlessly live out my faith, there was no safe place in my new home to continue the same practice. Parties came easily, upperclassmen needed designated drivers, and everyone seemed to be very interested in the fact that someone could be invited to so many parties but never drank. It became easy to be “different,” while still enjoying the “college experience.” I stayed consistent to going to church every Sunday no matter the circumstance. Eventually, when the going got tough, I had to learn to depend on God for myself. It would’ve been great to have had a campus ministry at my college, maybe even a website where one could search for campus ministries based on zip code or college.
Brianna Jenkins, Pendleton, IN – I attend University of Indianapolis, and I am studying Nursing. I’m actually staying home for college and commuting, but even just being on campus challenges my faith daily. The greatest temptation I’ve had to battle is wanting to fit in. Having to start all over at a completely new school leaves me feeling like an outsider all over again. One thing that has helped keep my faith strong is listening to the Bible every day on the way to school. Prayer could always be used to encourage my Christian walk as well.
Alyssa Hanlon, Tuscarawas, OH – I attended Kent State University and studied Finance. I did not leave home or my home church. I commuted over one hour one way each day to school. It probably would have been easy to get in trouble; however, that wasn’t who I was. It would have been easy to skip church all the time. There were times when school would defeat me so much that I just wouldn’t talk to God about it. But falling out of church wasn’t an option for me. I wouldn’t allow it because I have seen what happens when you don’t have God. I prayed a ton while I was on my way to and from school. I definitely knew that I wouldn’t be able to do it without God. Not only that, but I had a friend, and he had a big hand in getting me through school and encouraging me not to give up. It definitely helped to have a Christian friend who wanted me to succeed as well.
Caleb Clack, Jackson, MI – I am currently attending Western Michigan University, and I am studying Accounting. I have definitely found my faith challenged, especially being on a secular college campus. One of the greatest temptations I have faced is following the lusts of the flesh, instead of following after the Spirit of God. Something that has helped build my faith is knowing that I’m not alone – that no matter what, God is with me. It also helps knowing that I am filled with the Holy Ghost and have the power to overcome (Acts 1:8). Something I could further do to help stay grounded is dedicating more time to prayer and study of God’s Word.