I am so thankful for the year I have been able to spend in the Fellows Program. We were asked to share expectations of the year on our first retreat and I shared that I wanted God to shatter my view of community. I never expected for God to give me the community that I have encountered here in the Fellows program. Each of us comes from very different walks of life, but we each have a desire to learn more who God is and how we can represent Him to the world. I have had the privilege of seeing how God has taken 14 very different people and knit us together in such a beautiful way! I came to the Fellows program with somewhat of a broken view of community and through Greg’s teaching, my classes and simply living life with these wonderful people, I have learned that every person has dignity as a human, but as Christians we have the opportunity to celebrate that dignity. When person is loved for who God made them to be instead of loved for who someone wants them to be, they are able to flourish. I have experienced personally and witnessed firsthand this flourishing this year.
The Fellows program has pushed me to think about the world in a different way. I have grown in my love for the local church and its involvement in the world around us. Through learning a biblical perspective on our role as Christians in John Cunningham’s class to learning about how to engage culture as a Christian in Wade Bradshaw’s class, I feel like my faith can no longer be compartmentalized and I look forward to opportunities in the future to be involved in my community and the world around me.
I have seen my view of work change as I have been an intern in an office and I feel like I have come into a realization of what my gifts are. While they might not be with working in a business setting, almost every facet of the program has affirmed that I need to be working with people whose dignity is not celebrated and restore it to them in whatever way possible. God has given me a vision for counseling possibly in the future and I am so thankful to have had so many opportunities to figure out why this is a good fit for me.
Through living with a host family I have seen radical hospitality take on an entirely different meaning. Craig and Lisa Wood took me in as a Fellow this year, but I have also had the privilege of meeting many other people who have stayed at their house over the course of the year because they view their home as a place for God to make people feel welcome. They have exemplified and demonstrated hospitality in a way that I have never seen before and I plan to take many of the things I have learned from them to my future home!
Over all my experience in the Fellows Program has been very positive and I am very glad I decided to do the program. While it has not been easy in the least, I consider all the hard moments very beneficial because of all the things that I have learned and am taking away from this year.
--Sarah Powell, James Madison University '12