Today, August 22, 2016, the fall semester of classes begins at Faith Baptist Bible College & Theological Seminary. Since 2009, I have been enrolled as a full-time student every semester, always enjoying this first day of classes.
But today, August 22, 2016, I am in Crato, Ceara, Brasil, finishing up an incredible summer of ministry in the Southern Hemisphere. No, I am not missing any classes. No, I will not have any homework to make up. I officially finished my last Faith assignment two weeks ago, and I now refer to FBBC&TS as my alma mater.
For seven years I kept telling myself, “Here we go again!” The buzz of returning students and new students was always mixed with the sadness of not seeing old friends back in the classroom. For six years I returned to Faith, missing someone (or many someone’s) who had graduated the year before. This year, I am one of those “someone’s” and I am now proving to my friends that no, I haven’t been at Faith forever…because forever never ends 🙂
Yes, I miss the school, but not because I’m an avid homework hog. I miss Faith because of the people. This summer I had three weeks of classes at school after almost everyone had left, and it wasn’t the same. Yes, I am extremely thankful for both the education and the experience I received at FBBC&TS. But at the same time, it was the fellow students, faculty, staff, and administration that made the school what it was and what it is today.
Most of the people that attended Faith in 2009 have now moved on, and so have many of the professors and other staff. In fact, some of them have even moved on from this world and are waiting for rest of us to show up. A lot has changed at school since I first started classes there, but they were good things, and the school is still holding fast to the standards that has made it such a wonderful institution for 95 years. I am excited to see where the school goes in the future.
So today as people go back to school at my alma mater, I sit 4,813 miles (7,746km) away, thankful for those seven years God gave me there. I will miss the people, the chapels, the Bible discussions, the music, the soccer team, the Student Missionary Fellowship, the conferences, the random trips to Des Moines, the free pancakes, the ice cream in the student center, and the creeper pictures in the library. I could list more, but time would fail me to tell of all the things I will miss.
Yes, it’s easy to think back at those things I love and miss, but I also have to be careful not to look back and linger. God has more things planned for the future, more things that will also include people! So I’m thinking back but looking forward.
…and to all my friends still at Faith, and to all the new students who I will never have the privilege of meeting: Enjoy it, embrace it, and make the most of it. Because it is SO worth it, but it will go by fast, whether you are there for one year or seven years…and once it’s gone, you can’t go back. Unless, of course, you’re Noah Kephart, and all the blogs in the world could not contain his story 😉