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.

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