Colorado, Alaska, and Sharing the Gospel

What were you up to over the summer?

This summer I worked as an intern at Engineering Ministries International (EMI) USA office in Colorado Springs, CO. My main focus was to use my civil engineering knowledge and software skills to assist EMI missionaries in different engineering projects as well as share the Gospel with the people we meet during my project trip. My project trip was in a remote 600-person village in the western part of Alaska. We did an engineering assessment at a failing water treatment plant and worked the best we could to assist the operators in maintenance and repairs. My trip leader and I built some great personal connections with the local operators. We were able to share the Gospel with them and encourage them with our testimonies and Bible verses. It has been a blessing hanging out with the mission-focused EMI community, and I learned much about Christian leadership and discipleship from both the staff and other interns. After finishing my internship, I took a solo road trip to Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah as a way to relax and enjoy our Lord God’s wonderous creations (Deu 4:19, Isa 43).

How have you seen God work recently?

The Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is so good that He not only provided a book study with the other EMI interns to further think through our calling in the great commission, but He also put ministry opportunities in front of me to teach me other ways that He could use me in my daily life. I used to think the only way to serve the Lord is to serve in the ministry field and hand out Gospel tracks (which is a great calling), but I realize now that devoting our life to our personal ministry of witnessing to other people is the way that we are all called to serve. I looked at the book of Daniel, where Daniel’s witness to the four kings he served was mostly through his faith in the adverse conditions instead of just verbally sharing the Gospel. I admire Daniel’s steadfast faith even in the lion’s den, and I see the need to be like Daniel and stand for our faith in the midst of the adversaries as a witness for Christ. Being a witness for Christ does not stop there, of course. Loving our neighbors as ourselves, working with good stewardship (1 Th 4:9-11), teaching all to observe the commandments, and baptizing believers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are all ways of witnessing as well… just to name a few.

Throughout the summer, our Lord God put many people in front of me to show me how my behaviors, conversations, and acts of kindness could all be used as ways to witness for Christ. Here is one example: I witnessed to a professor whom I met during a hike. He self-described as a skeptic and a non-believer. This professor told me that he is often close-minded towards religious conversations, but he opened up and listened to me because I listened and cared about what he had to say. We had a two-to-three-hour-long Bible discussion throughout the hike, and it was in the form of back-and-forth questions and answers. At the end, I prayed with this professor and encouraged him to pick up his Bible at home and read the book of Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, and Daniel. To my surprise, he thanked me for the prayer and said it was beautiful. Granted, I cannot read his heart and see if he really listened, but I believe it was a meaningful conversation and that he could be more open to having Bible conversations with others now.

Both the discussion on our personal applications of the great commission and my personal outreach throughout the summer told me the importance of devoting ourselves to a lifelong ministry of witnessing to others. To sum up what I heard from the Lord God this summer: Let us teach all (everyone around us, not just during international missions) the Gospel of Jesus Christ and observe what the Bible commands us to do daily.

The church David was a part of over the summer.

What is something you love about BCM?

I enjoyed my small group the most. As most of y’all know, I am a friendly introvert. Connecting with the whole BCM at the same time is virtually impossible for me. However, the small group Bible study with my Green Fam and my previous Orange Fam were the biggest blessings this year at BCM. Getting to know my small group personally, exhorting one another, praying for one another, and seeing everyone’s spiritual growth together is what I consider to be the cream of the crop.

Celebration Night Photo

What are you looking forward to in the fall?

I am looking forward to sharing my experience this summer at EMI with my fellow BCMers and encouraging others to do missions over the summer breaks. I also hope to share the Gospel with the people we meet as much as we can. In addition, I am looking forward to connecting with the freshmen and new grad students.

What advice would you like to share with incoming first-year students?

I would emphasize finding a Bible-believing church in town where people are bold enough to convict you of your wrongdoings and are willing to keep you accountable. A small group to plug into at BCM is also what y’all need to do. I genuinely wish I knew this during my freshman year.

David’s local church community that he dearly adores (Harvest Baptist Church of Blacksburg)

What are your favorite things to do in Blacksburg?

Going to church and learning the Lord God’s words, of course. Other than that, probably stargazing and literally everything outdoors. Rejoicing in the Lord God’s grace and mercy and enjoying His wonderous creations in the wilderness around Blacksburg are the best Sabbath activities for me.

Blessings to you all! Have a blessed semester on this beautiful campus and enjoy the welcoming community of BCM!

Stargazing in Kansas (Imagine it is in Blacksburg)

Mouse Research, A Horse, and Community

Hi everyone!

My name is Liz Roth. I am a rising sophomore majoring in animal science. I am currently serving as the outreach leader for orange fam. (We meet on Wednesdays at 8pm and we would love to have you join!)

This fall, I am looking forward to meeting new people and seeing how God is going to work!!

What have you been up to this summer?

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity of participating in undergraduate research in a lab that focuses on meat science and muscle biology. I specifically learned about and studied the impact of reduced mitochondrial DNA on skeletal muscle by using a mouse model. I presented the research at the Summer Symposium Conference.

When I wasn’t working on my research this summer, I spent my time with my horse, Gunny, and with friends. I have found that some of my favorite activities in Blacksburg are going on hikes, watching the sunset, and catching up with friends.

How have you seen God work recently?

God has been showing up in my life by teaching me what it looks like to have complete trust in Him and His timing. So many times, I find myself overthinking and second-guessing even the simplest of things. This summer God has shown me that we are to not second guess His plan, especially when we do not understand it. I think Psalm 37:7 sums it up best when David writes “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways.” We are to wait because just as Jerimiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  

What is something you love about BCM?

One thing about BCM that I love is the fellowship and community. I have found my lifelong friends that I know I can trust to help keep me accountable in my faith and in life. My friends have helped me dive deeper into the Word and have shown me what friendship in Christ looks like. I’m forever thankful for the friends God has surrounded me with through the BCM.

What advice would you like to share with incoming freshmen?

I want to encourage incoming freshmen (and anyone and everyone) to seek God first and above all else. When God is above all else, He will take care of everything else. When I chose to put God above all else, everything else seemed like it fell into place. When we seek Him first, at least when I do, I feel an unexplainable peace in everything. I challenge you to seek Him above all else and watch how He works in your life.

Big Time Rush and the Illusion of Control

Hey BCM!! My name is Sydney Kiem, and I’m a rising fifth-year/thesis student studying Architecture. I’m also the girl OL for Green fam!

What have you been up to this summer?

This summer I’m interning at an architecture firm in my hometown, Springfield, VA. It’s been great to see an architecture firm’s processes through each phase of a building project, and they even bring in their dogs to the office! I’ve also been spending time with family and doing game nights with friends. Earlier this summer I got to fulfill my middle school dreams of seeing Big Time Rush in concert for their first night of touring since they got back together. I’ve also been trying to start planning for my year-long thesis project and not freak out about already entering my final year of the Architecture program. To keep up the creative process, I recently 3D printed my studio project from last year, which turned out to be quite a challenge.

How have you seen God work recently?

God has been teaching me to give up the illusion of control I try to have in my life, especially when it comes to my future career. I started out the summer interning at a different firm that right away I knew wasn’t going to be a good fit for me. I was already disappointed that I hadn’t gotten a position from one of the firms I was really interested in. I started looking for other options and quickly got discouraged because everyone seemed to have already filled the position, the firm was too far away, they wanted someone who’d already graduated, etc. I even saw a firm I’d never heard of that was 10 minutes away from my house and looked like a great place, but their job posting said they were looking for someone with a bachelor’s. 

Feeling stuck, I tried to accept being at the place I was currently at, and look past the unprofessional aspects of it I was seeing each day. One morning I got really frustrated before heading to work, and when I checked my phone before getting in my car to leave, I had an email that the place in Springfield saw I’d looked at their job post and invited me to apply! I was so excited but scared that they just thought I was in a four-year program and had graduated. My mom encouraged me to call them and explain, and they said it might be an option for me to be a summer intern. It was a rollercoaster of not knowing whether they’d actually accept a student intern and if I’d make it through the whole interview/hiring process. It was hard to not have control over what they were going to say. But each time I got super discouraged in the first place, I would get a message that I had moved to the next step with 2POV (the Springfield place) just when I needed it. The timing was so clearly God giving me little signs that even my dad, who’s not much of a believer, made a comment about how perfect the timing was, and that he knew my mom and I had been praying for this to work out. 

I got the job at 2POV, and it’s been such a blessing this summer! I’ve learned so much, felt like my coworkers truly wanted to mentor me, and been able to spend more time with family since my commute is so short. I would’ve never even known about them if I hadn’t taken the first job that caused me to go searching for new options. I’d felt like I’d failed in not doing enough to get the right position for me at the beginning of the summer, but God showed me that He has a plan and that He uses the bad to lead me to the good whether I’m aware of it or not. 

What is something you love about BCM?

I love the sense of community at BCM! As someone who has struggled with social anxiety my whole life, being able to come to this community and be welcomed so whole-heartedly was such a blessing and has helped me grow in my faith so much. It truly feels like a family who accepts you as you are, and encourages you to have a better relationship with God.

What are you looking forward to in the fall?

I’m looking forward to seeing friends at BCM again, and all the fun events BCM does throughout the year. I’m also excited to dive into thesis work and get to have that chance to be creative and figure out more about what kind of architect I want to be. 

What advice would you like to share with incoming freshmen?

Try out new things, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ve been trying to remind myself that uncomfortable doesn’t necessarily mean unsafe. Sometimes it just means something is new, and new things can sometimes be the best thing for you! College is such a big transition, and just because it feels scary at first, or even for a while, doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong place or not cut out for it. Allow yourself to just try new things and meet a bunch of new people. Also, please start your homework early so you’re not pulling all-nighters :). 

What are your favorite things to do in Blacksburg?

I love walking around campus, meeting up with people in the library and at the BCM, and going to the farmers market downtown. I also enjoy going to see softball and baseball games, and events at Moss Arts Center.

Cheese, Learning, and Friends

Hi, my name is Zach, and I am a senior studying counseling at Liberty University Online. I live in Christiansburg, VA, and have been a part of BCM since my freshman year. I have been a small group leader twice now.

What have you been up to this summer?

This summer I have been working at Bonsack Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia as a youth intern. I have taught middle school Sunday school, led small groups, planned and helped to set up for multiple events such as VBS, and had an up-close look at the behind-the-scenes of ministry.

How have you seen God work recently?

I have seen God work in a lot of small ways. It’s easy to think that He is always working in big and profound ways, which He does, but most of the time it’s the small things, the behind the scenes that no one sees. Through interning at Bonsack and my time at BCM, God has worked through close friendships that cannot be found elsewhere. My closest friends bring me joy and help me to see God in ways that I wouldn’t otherwise. By serving and loving them, I have had the opportunity to become closer to them and to God for which I am so grateful.

What is something you love about BCM?

Something I love about BCM is the community. It isn’t perfect because the people there, myself included, are all sinners. But, over the course of my college years, I have made many friends, including several of which I am very close to. God has worked in my life and through my friends at BCM to teach me more about Himself and to make me more like Jesus. BCM has been my main source of community. I have many good memories and lots of fun times have been had as well.

What are you looking forward to in the fall?

This fall I am looking forward to starting my senior year and graduating. It is exciting to see what comes next while also a little scary, but I’m confident in the calling that God has given me and that He will guide my steps. I’m also excited for everyone to return to Blacksburg and the opportunity to see those who went home over the summer again.

What advice would you like to share with incoming first-year students?

A piece of advice I would give to freshmen is to not obsess over classes and grades. Going to class, doing your best, and taking college seriously is of course important but learning is the goal, not a 4.0 GPA. It is easy to shoot for perfection just as it is easy to not care at all or very little. School-life balance is an important aspect of college that shouldn’t be overlooked. Prioritizing your faith is perhaps the most important advice I can give. When life gets busy and or stressful it is tempting to put faith in the backseat, and while college is certainly important, our faith and what results from it is of eternal value.

What are your favorite things to do in Blacksburg?

Blacksburg is a great place to live. The New River Valley has a lot of fun things to do with lots of great hiking trails nearby, the New River, and a ton of stuff to do in Blacksburg itself. Some of my favorites are going to the movies, late-night runs to Cook Out, going to Kroger to look at the cheese section (yes I have done this multiple times with BCM’ers), and the many great restaurants downtown.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Rest

Hey everyone! My name is Abbie Welton, and I’m a rising fourth year in Architecture. I’m also one of the BCM connection leaders and I’m so excited for this upcoming year!

What have you been up to this summer?

I’ve spent this summer with my brother, Jack, and my grandparents in Fredericksburg. For the first few weeks, I kept busy cleaning and organizing around the house, taking walks with my grandpa, and continuing old studio projects. This past month, I’ve been interning at a small Architecture firm where I am creating renderings of additions to historic houses downtown.   

How have you seen God work recently?

This summer has been a great learning experience for me. I spent most of this past semester preparing my portfolio and stressing about internships, but by May I didn’t have an internship or job. As a person who doesn’t do well without some sort of project,  I was quick to fill my days with random activities (hence all the organizing and studio work). But, I knew all this productivity was my way of escaping the fact that I hadn’t gotten an internship. I began waking up early to do a study before walking with Papa. Our walks gave me time to reflect on what I’d just read, which helped me listen to God more throughout the day. Taking time to rest in general, let alone with God in mind, is not something I’m very good at, but practicing it this summer has granted me the obedience I need for what I’m about to explain. 

Where I’ve seen God working the most this summer has been through my brother. Jack’s had a long few years and really needs help to develop a relationship with God. I’ve felt God calling me for a while now to spend this summer going through the book of John with Jack. He didn’t like this idea at first, so it took a lot of patience, but now he gets excited to summarize passages and answer questions. I can only hope that I’ve been a successful vessel for God’s pursuit of Jack, but I have noticed changes in him. This summer, he’s been happier, increasingly compassionate towards our grandparents, and more open about his struggles. It’s been amazing seeing how even just reading the gospel can change someone’s life so much. 

What is something you love about BCM?

BCM is a great community where there are always people wanting to bolster you in Christ. Meanwhile, God is affording you the same opportunity within the community and on campus. Personally, the ladies in my Bible studies have helped me grow from painful experiences and see them as tools to evangelize. Suffice to say, BCM is a great place to find Christ-centered friends who make the college experience 100% better.

What are you looking forward to in the fall?

Study and studio: First off, I can’t wait to get back into a small, in-depth Bible study. It’s such a blessing to have a tight-knit group of believers. Plus, I’m really excited for newcomers! Secondly, I know I sound like a broken record, but I’m a little stir crazy without a project, so I’m really looking forward to returning to studio. 

What advice would you like to share with incoming freshmen?

College is such a huge shift in your life, so one of the best things you can do is take time to reflect. Think about your thoughts and actions and who you’re surrounding yourself with. Most importantly, think about the intentions behind these things and how it relates to God. Everyone says it and I know it’s really cheesy, but it’s true that college is (typically) your first taste of freedom. So, really there’s nothing more important than to align yourself with God throughout this experience. 

What are your favorite things to do in Blacksburg?

I’m gonna cheat and tell you my favorite places on campus because we have too beautiful of a campus not too. 1) The cascading stairs outside Cowgill hall are a great place to watch those classic Blacksburg sunsets. On late nights in studio, I like to eat dinner out there and sketch the Perry Street construction. (Keep reading if noisy construction isn’t a plus for you.) 2) The tree-covered pathway between Pamplin and Williams hall is also a great place for study breaks because there’s nice shade and only a few tables so it’s pretty quiet during classes. 3) Finally, the patio outside Squires is good for people watching. Sounds a little creepy, I know, but it’s always interesting to see people crossing the threshold onto campus. Whether that’s students, visiting families, Blacksburg residents, etc. it’s amusing to see how those different groups interact.

Planes and Community

What have you been up to this summer?

This summer I’ve been in Reno, Nevada for my first internship. I worked for a company called Tactical Air Support, learned a lot about mechanical drafting, and got plenty of hands-on experience with F-5s (which is an older fighter jet for those non-aviation folk). My brother’s wedding was also this summer! I got to go down with him and my family to San Diego for a week to celebrate and partake in the various wedding festivities, and then I was able to tag along with my cousins for a few days at Disney, which was awesome. Other than that, the only notable things I did were see a lot of new birds and attend a few baseball games.

How have you seen God work recently?

Being in Reno this summer has allowed me to visit a lot of beautiful places; the arboretum here and Lake Tahoe immediately come to mind. Those places served as great reminders of God’s beauty and peace and helped ease my mind when I was stressed and feeling isolated. Isolation was a major theme this summer, but it was through this isolation that I saw God work the most. God has shown me how valuable community and family are in my life. Being apart from everyone has led me to be more intentional with my time and how I want to spend it. I’ve found myself living in the moment more and being more appreciative of the time I get to be with others. I’ve started to learn that worshiping God isn’t just done through music (which I struggle to do anyway), but also through giving thanks to him for the people he’s placed in my life. I’ve been able to connect with God a lot more when I simply enjoy all he’s blessed me with and give thanks for the places I get to see and the people I get to be with.

What are you looking forward to in the fall?

That’s why I’m most excited for the fall to see everyone again and to get to enjoy more Blacksburg scenery. One of my favorite things to do in Blacksburg is go on walks. I try to go on a walk at least once a day to help me destress and soak in the scenery. We live in a gorgeous area, so I try to take advantage of that as much as I can. Also, going on walks allows me to observe birds, which always helps brighten my day. Before you ask, yes I am sixty. I hope this fall is filled with not just fun events and activities but quality time spent with others. Something I love about BCM is the constant community there. It’s not just 6:33 on Tuesdays and bible study on Wednesdays or Thursdays. It’s getting lunch at Owens together, going on hikes, hosting movie nights, playing volleyball, attending sporting events, or “studying” in the downstairs classroom. Instead of being a place where I just come in and check the “I spent time doing Christian things today” box, it’s where community is always available and welcoming; a characteristic I hope we continue to strive for.

What advice would you like to share with incoming first-year students?

For those first-year students coming in, I would advise getting involved somewhere as soon as you can, but also remember to step back and take it all in every once in a while; it goes by a lot quicker than you think. Cliche? Yes, but still true. Get out of your comfort zone a bit and make some new friends, and remember to give thanks to the people God has blessed you with.

Flying squirrels and life in Kansas : Jesse Owens

Hey BCM family!

My name is Jesse Owen, and I am a junior transfer student majoring in Wildlife Conservation with a minor in Forestry. Here at BCM, I am currently serving as the guy OL for Green Fam.

What have you been up to this summer?

To begin my summer, I rode to Texas with my brother Wyatt who had a summer internship in Dallas. During that short trip, I also got to visit family friends and get a small view into Texas life.

Following the trip to Texas, most of my summer has been spent working as a habitat technician for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks at their Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area, which is about 50 miles south of Kansas City. The job has been amazing as I have gained a huge amount of valuable field experience working to improve wildlife habitat, something that I find extremely fulfilling. Highlights of the job have included learning how to conduct prescribed fire, planting over 100 acres of crops for migratory waterfowl, and the opportunity to tag along with researchers while they were conducting a survey on bats.

How have you seen God work recently?

Honestly, God’s providence has been most obvious in how I landed my summer position. Starting in March after my original wildlife related summer internship fell through, I had been applying to wildlife related internships all throughout the Lower 48 and praying that God would provide an opportunity but had no success. By the end of May, I had run out of time in applying for internships, assumed that it wasn’t in His plan for me to get a career-related summer position, and got a job in an unrelated field to earn extra money. I had been working at my last-resort summer job for less than a week when I got an email from a job I had applied for in April, stating that my application had been misplaced after I sent it in and that they would like to interview me for the job. 

Several days went by following my response to that email, I had gotten no confirmation that the hirer still wanted to interview, and I was beginning to panic internally. On that Saturday at about midnight, I was texting a friend about the situation and he gave me the best advice I had gotten so far, which was to calm down and pray about it. Realizing that I had not talked to God at all regarding the issue, I prayed about it then and there. Less than 30 seconds after the prayer, I received an email from the person who would become my future boss, stating that he was still interested to talk to me about the position.

To keep the story brief, I interviewed the next week, was offered the position, said goodbye to friends and family, and was on the road to Kansas within 10 days. In the moment of receiving the email, I totally saw God’s hand working and knew that He still had a plan for what I was to be doing this summer, even if the timing was completely unexpected. It was a great moment and one that I hope I never forget as how special it was to see God working so obviously in my life when I least expected it.

What is something you love about BCM?

The best part about my experience with BCM over the last year has been the community, accountability, and relationships that have come from being with other believers in family groups. The ability to deepen your walk with Christ through small groups is amazingly easy if you’re willing to dive in.

What are you looking forward to in the fall?

In person classes! Since I transferred into VT last August, I haven’t had the “normal” college experience yet. Getting to be around friends I made last year and meeting new people in classes are what I’m looking forward to the most about being back in school. 

What advice would you like to share with incoming freshmen?

My biggest piece of advice would be to stay strong in your faith through college and to find a community that will encourage that. When you get that first taste of freedom from parents and loved ones back home it’s easy to stray away from God but staying strong in your faith while in college is well worth it! I am definitely biased, but BCM is a great place to grow your faith at this stage of life. 

What are your favorite things to do in Blacksburg?

The outdoor opportunities around Blacksburg are pretty amazing. Over the last year I’ve made it a point to explore as much as possible through hunting and hiking. In town, I love going on late night milkshake runs with friends and searching for things I don’t need in the many pawn shops and thrift stores that Blacksburg has.

Finding Acceptance and A Mother’s Heart: Deepti Aaron

Hi everybody!! I’m Deepti Aaron and I’m a rising junior studying Industrial and Systems Engineering. I’m also a student leader for BCM! I’m so excited for this upcoming year in Blacksburg and to actually see everyone’s faces! And for the freshmen, I’m so excited to meet you all. This year is going to be filled with an endless amount of stories, laughter, and joy. I can feel it!

Here’s Deepti in her natural habitat!

What are your favorite things to do in Blacksburg?

Blacksburg really is a beautiful place to live with many things to do here, check out the Hokie bucket list if you haven’t already. Everything on that list is great but nothing can beat the advice I’m about to give you. Waffle House. Waffle House offers impeccable cuisine which will make even Gordon Ramsey question his cooking skills. If you haven’t been, go now! I’m from New York so I’m not blessed like you Virginians to have a Waffle House down the street. And always remember all blessings are from God so thank him for all he’s provided 😉

Deepti and her friend Madison with the elusive “Waffle House”.

What advice would you like to share with incoming freshmen?

In all seriousness it is important to remember that. Especially for freshmen right now. You’re entering a new season where a lot of change is in store. Each season will have its own struggles and hardships. Change is hard so don’t worry if it takes some time to feel comfortable and confident in this new setting God has placed you in. Yet something to look forward to is that each season will also have its own joys. Take the time to see how God is blessing you during this time.

During my freshman year, it is quite obvious to say, but BCM was a huge blessing to me. When I first came to BCM I was honestly very confused. There were people with varying personalities all getting along with one another. In my high school, this sort of thing never existed. You hung out with the people you were similar to and never thought of interacting with those who were different. This oddity drew me into BCM and has now become one of my favorite things about it.

What is something you love about BCM?

BCM is not trying to diminish the differences but instead acknowledge and celebrate them. God lovingly created us with all of our quirks and weird hobbies. It is so encouraging to see everyone at BCM hold fast to who God has made them to be, unashamed. And even if we are all different, we have common ground in Christ and that is more than enough to form a strong community.

What have you been up to this summer?

During this time of being at home for the summer, I’ve really missed the BCM community. Yet I have been able to find the joy in this season. A few of my friends and I created a Bible study going through women of the Bible. Due to this I learned of the Hebrew word “hesed” during our study of Ruth. Hesed describes an enduring covenant love. It’s a love that never ceases and is self-sacrificing. It goes beyond what is required and is always faithful. It’s a beautiful word and it really captures the essence of God.

Along with capturing who God is, it really captures who my mom is as well.

Since March, my grandma has been living with my parents in New York. She suffered a stroke last summer and lost her ability to speak. Sending her to a nursing home never crossed my mom’s mind. She was determined to take care of my grandmother. My mom comes straight from her 9-5 job to then take care of my grandma. And even on the weekends, she does not have a break. She took up a second job on the weekends to support me and my brothers as we go through college. My mom could easily leave all of this behind. Yet she is not one to give up or stop caring. Hesed is a core value of who she is. She will always go beyond what is required and will always be self-sacrificing.

She learned this from her mother. My grandma lost her husband when she was in her 30s and was left to take care of 5 young kids all on her own. She struggled providing for her family but she never gave up. My mom saw this and learned the quality of hesed. And in turn I’ve seen my mother sacrifice so much and I hope someday I can have the quality of hesed like them. 

God really has been teaching me a lot this summer and I can’t wait to hear how he has been moving in your life during this time as well!

Growth in the Rockies: Moriah Moss

Hello! My name is Moriah Moss, and I am a rising sophomore at Virginia Tech. I’m a Fisheries Management major, Forestry minor, and outreach leader for Red Fam (one of the Bible studies at BCM).

What have you been up to this summer?

This summer, I worked on a trail crew for the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. Through this program, young adults camp, hike to work, and perform trail maintenance all over Colorado and in parts of Utah and Wyoming. Some crews climb giant mountains every day and others work in the desert.

I felt drawn to this job–though I wasn’t quite sure why. I have only camped once in my entire life and have never backpacked. Nevertheless, in early June, my family drove me out to Colorado, and I joined a team of 9, which included my crew leader and assistant crew leader. 

Our first week was spent at orientation with the other ~10 crews. We learned about tools used for trail work and how to complete various tasks. We also swam in a very cold lake, used pit toilets, and heard mountain lion screeches one night. It was definitely an adjustment to learn how to cook for 9 people on a 2-burner propane stove and to be constantly outside in the wind, heat, and cold. 

After orientation, my team headed to our first project assignment at Little Hills State Wildlife Area–AKA the desert. It was incredibly dry, we saw sandy hills for miles, and there was sagebrush everywhere. 

The first weekend was incredibly difficult. All of my crew members used very foul language, and their conversation topics weighed heavily on me. I couldn’t tell when was a good time to speak up or whether it was better to stay quiet. By the time we arrived in a little town called Meeker for “town time,” I was ready to quit. It was a Sunday morning, and I was searching for a church. All I wanted was to sing praises, hear truth, and have someone pray over me. No one on my crew was a Christian, and I desperately needed community. 

Unfortunately, all the services had started by the time I arrived. I was heartbroken and at a complete loss. So worn out. So desperate. I started crying really hard, just bawling as I walked down the street. I asked God why He would lead me out here and then leave me. 

For the first time in my life, I asked God where He was. 

I felt incredibly abandoned. I had no one to turn to, and I couldn’t call anyone because even the gas station phone could only reach the next town over. God had placed me in a position where my dependence on Him was taken to a whole new level. 

When I finally got quiet enough to listen for God, He told me to walk down the street to the nearest church. I stood outside for a minute and then sat down to wait for them to finish their service. I pulled out my Bible and read Psalm 34, one of my all-time favorites, and sang a few hymns softly to myself. I’m sure I looked absolutely ridiculous and likely a little crazy.

The service ended, and I moved towards the doors. I asked where the pastor was and a lady directed me inside. I stood around awkwardly not sure what to do. Finally, a little girl came over and asked if I needed something. I asked to see the pastor and she went to get him. When I finally met him, I started crying all over again. I told him I was a believer in a tough situation and that I just really needed some prayer. Without hesitation, he prayed peace and strength over me. I remember feeling like I could finally breathe. God answered his prayer and imbued me with the courage to thank the pastor and head back to my crew.

I realized why God led me to this job as we approached the second week of work. Once my crew mates discovered I was a Christian, they started asking me a great deal of questions. We had long, intense discussions about theology, God’s sovereignty, judgement, punishment, Hell, the Church, Jesus, and Christian beliefs. I was amazed at how bold their questions became and how eager they were to hear my thoughts. 

It was challenging to field so many questions; in answering one question, I would spark a new one and be interrupted. I was exhausted from trying to keep my answers clear, concise, and true to the Bible. I was, again, forced to rely on God on a whole new level. 

One night, a girl on my crew told me she really admired my faith and how I held to it. Then she asked if it bothered me that other members made fun of me for being a Christian. I told her I knew they were rejecting Christ instead of me–a statement I’d heard in church and read in Scripture but never really known to be true until that moment. I really did see, through the Spirit’s perspective, that when my crew members avoided me, they were avoiding confronting Christ and hard truths. From that perspective, God helped me extend grace to them. 

Eventually, my crew headed to the mountains of Colorado, where the rest of my team is still working (I unfortunately had to cut my time short due to dietary restrictions). In the mountains, we hauled massive wood beams down a perpetually wet and slippery trail, dug up and hauled rocks, and debarked several felled trees. It was exhausting labor, and I really struggled during the hauling process. I was also battling stomach problems exacerbated by the stress of dealing with them in the woods.

However, I learned more about being a living testimony in those few weeks than I ever thought possible. God gave me compassion for my team. I deeply care about each of them. The only reason I did not leave Colorado sooner than I did was because I wanted to speak truth to my crew and be an ambassador of the Gospel and show them God’s unconditional love by loving them without expecting anything in return.

I remember the exact moment I was completely certain I was just where God wanted me. I had to quit work after half a day and was sitting at camp alone. Another crew member had contracted altitude sickness and was being taken down the mountain to the hospital. I didn’t really think but just asked her point blank if I could pray for her (This was the same crew member who had asked me earlier if the teasing bothered me). She said sure,and I knelt to do just that. It felt so good to cry out to God out loud. Later, she told me that she really appreciated me doing that for her, and I was so grateful that the Spirit gave me the courage to do it. 

I experienced so, so much during my time with RMYC, and I’m excited to see how God will continue to work the rest of this summer. If you want to hear more about my trip and God’s work along the way, I’d love to talk with you! 

What are you looking forward to in the fall?

This fall, I am most excited for more in person events, especially larger BCM gatherings. One of the things I love most about BCM is the community and accountability (I know, everyone says that, but it’s true!). I have definitely missed diving into the Word there and can’t wait to do that soon! I have also missed Blacksburg–I really enjoy walking around campus and downtown. I highly recommend walking through Stadium Woods (behind the Washington Street tennis courts).

What advice would you like to share with incoming freshmen?

Two more notes for incoming freshmen. One, everyone’s college experience is different, so accept tips and pointers, but don’t become so attached to one thing or another that your expectations limit your enjoyment. Two, it is soooo important to get plugged into ministry, so please make it a priority. Investing in your faith is investing in your eternity and the eternity of those you witness to.

Thanks for reading about my experiences; I pray God can use them to encourage you!

A Summer in Blacksburg: Caleb Duniver

Hi, my name is Caleb Duniver, and I’m an incoming Junior in Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech. I’m also currently a Discipleship Leader in Red Family.

What have you been up to this summer?

This summer, I have been hanging around Blacksburg so that I can avoid being bored back home in Stafford County, VA and so that I can enjoy the scenery while taking my online summer class. I have been doing things I normally like doing during the school year, such as watching movies, hiking on nearby mountain trails, walking the Huckleberry trail, playing basketball, going bowling at the Superbowl, and cooking new recipes. I have also taken several trips, which I do not get to do as often during the school year. I traveled to NYC on a short trip to watch my younger brother’s basketball training, and I went to West Virginia in order to visit a waterfall, explore the capital city of Charleston, and fulfill a friend’s dream to visit a Tim Horton’s. In addition, I was able to go to the beautiful Natural Bridge area to visit Dinosaur Kingdom, which gave me the opportunity to have a water fight with bigfoot ( I wish I had gotten a picture of that moment) and see wacky dinosaur sculptures and works of art that were named using masterful puns.

How have you seen God work recently?

I have seen God work recently in the Church through the ways my churches have adapted and preserved during the pandemic. At my small church back home, the church leaders did their best to transition to the ambience of a regular church service over Zoom. Even though it wasn’t the same, it was a great way to connect with other church members, and the feeling of fellowship and community was still there. New locals attended our online church services, and church members had the opportunity to invite friends and family from other parts of the country to fellowship with us, which could not have happened before the pandemic as easily. At BCM, I have seen God work through the people that walk through its doors. His work was particularly apparent last year during the pandemic. I watched leaders and staff build a welcoming community and stay active during a time when neither was easy, and individual members participated actively in family groups and fellowship opportunities with other BCMers outside the ministry building. At Northstar Church, which I started attending in Blacksburg towards the end of the pandemic, I saw the diligent work the staff and its members put into outreach to the Blacksburg community in addition to the effort they put into each Sunday worship service. They also invested heavily in making everyone feel welcome, plugging people in, and bringing newcomers into their church family. 

What is something you love about BCM?

For the past two years, attending BCM has improved my personal relationship with Christ. Before college, I struggled with giving my time to God in private, and I didn’t always have a group of Christians my age during high school who were going through the same walk as I was and could hold me accountable. In contrast, BCM has given me a community of peers to keep me accountable and encourage me along my walk with Christ. Attending BCM has also helped me improve my ability to communicate with other people, which has helped me talk to people I would not have talked to or developed a relationship with beforehand.

What are you looking forward to in the fall?

This fall, I’m looking forward to going back to a sense of normalcy, particularly having a lot more face-to-face interactions on campus in classes, at study places, and within dining halls. I’m also excited to meet new people who enter BCM’s doors and to see the new members of our community.

What advice would you like to share with incoming freshmen?

My advice to incoming freshmen is to not expect your college experience to be the same as everyone else’s experience. While one person may be able to easily stick with one career path for all four years, you may have multiple career changes and spend an extra year in college, or you might realize along the way that you want to pursue a career path that doesn’t require a full college education. God has a reason for you to attend college. You might not see that purpose for a long time, but you need to trust the plan he has for you. Pray and persevere through the rough periods of your future college experience so you can find joy even within the most difficult of situations. Other than that, I wish all incoming freshmen good luck, and I hope you find dependable friends to enjoy your college years with.