Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

It's day two here at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. I'm still settling into the routine of life out here. It's been eight years since I last was in an academic environment. Classes start on Friday morning. Yesterday, today and tomorrow is orientation for all of the new students. I drove out on Monday morning and drove through the day until about 1am. I stopped in Lee, Mass. for the night and took off again at 6am for the last leg of the trip. I got into Boston around 8:30am and drove right into rush hour traffic. It was stop and go for about half an hour. But once I hit 95 north it cleared out considerably. As I got closer to GCTS I kinda knew where I should exit and I kinda knew what the main roads were that led into South Hamilton. Well, needless to say I drove for almost 2 hours around the northern suburbs of Boston looking for GCTS. Eventually, I found a cop in Beverly, a neighboring town, and asked him for directions (he was the third person I had asked BTW!). Once he realized that I was hopelessly lost, he told me he would lead to the seminary himself. A few minutes later, after he got done having a vehicle towed, he pulled beside me and led me to the front gate of Gordon Conwell! What a blessing! I wish I had gotten his name, but in any case I am very grateful for the services of this gentleman from the Beverly Police Department. He made what was turning into a very stressful day into one that I now look back on with gratitude.

The days leading up to my trip out here were just as dramatic. I only applied three weeks ago. And I also only received confirmation that I was accepted last Wednesday! My last day at work was last Friday, so either way I had to move on to something new. I drove out here with only the acceptance confirmed, nothing else. No housing had been secured. No financial aid had been secured (that's still being worked on!). But I came out with my car packed to the rafters trusting that God was behind all of this. I was excited, anxious, sad, happy, nervous; just about every emotion ran through me in the past week. In fact, on Saturday I really struggled with anxiety right off the bat and had a hard time getting packed. Thankfully, good and faithful friends helped me that day get through and I was able to get most of my belongings packed away in storage.

Then Sunday came. I went to church. It was great as usual, but it was also emotional to see my friends there, knowing that I wouldn't be seeing them again for several months at least. Then after church Jeff and Melissa had a dinner for me with a bunch of other friends, many of them from my Hope College days. That was even more emotional. Finally, Sunday night came and I became so anxious that I thought I might not even go. Every potential drawback came roaring into my mind of why I shouldn't do this. Everything that could go wrong stared me in the face. I was terrified of what might happen. I was also very sad at the prospect of leaving Holland after 12 years. I had built up many very important friendships over the years, not the least of which was Jeff and Melissa and their little boy Tsepo. That was the hardest part by far. Even writing this causes tears to well up in my eyes.

But once again, Jeff spent time with me late Sunday night and we talked, I cried, he listened, and he asked the right questions. A little later a friend (Jon) who is staying at the house came in and we also talked for nearly an hour until I calmed down. I finished up packing what I could into my car that night, got what sleep I could, and got up Monday to leave.

I woke up later than expected simply because I was both physically and emotionally exhausted. So I didn't actually leave until 9:30am. But because of the rest and the conversations I had had the night before I awoke in a much better frame of mind. I packed what was left that could fit in my car and I said goodbye to Jeff, Melissa and Tsepo and drove off. I found out the next day when we spoke on the phone that that moment was the hardest one for them. We've shared our lives for over two and a half years and had become family. I will always be grateful for what they have been for me both as friends, but also as my sister and brother in Christ.

The trip ended up being much better overall than I had expected. The car ran perfect the whole way. The trip itself, by the end, was just over a thousand miles (part of that of course was due to my getting completely lost right at the end). Anyway, here it is, day two, and my housing is provided for; which was my biggest worry. And my financial aid is slowly coming together. I still need to find work. But I trust that that too will fall into place. So far I've had no reason to doubt that God will provide for me. After all, he's been doing just that throughout my whole life. This particular adventure is just one more example.

1 comment:

jdarlack said...

Hello John! I just came across your blog. Welcome to Gordon-Conwell. I hope your time here is less harried than the last few days. I'll be seeing you in the library! ~Jim Darlack (the reference librarian)