It’s hard to believe that two years ago I graduated with my master’s degree and was preparing for my big move to Virginia Tech! I can remember being excited, anxious, nervous, yet ready for the new adventure. As some of you know, Victor and I were still just dating at the time, and he was stationed in New Orleans as a yeoman in the coast guard. All of my family and most of my closest friends lived back in Alabama, and I was leaving the state on my own for the first time.
Needless to say, I knew finding a church home would be crucial to my adjustment to the area and growth as a Christian. After spending a lot of time researching church websites in the area, I decided to try Northstar first. I was drawn to the fact that a ministry like GAP existed in an area that seemed to be overrun with more undergraduate students than graduate students.
As is my nature, I played the tentatively curious (AKA “flaky”) role most of my first semester in Blacksburg. I visited other churches, skipped a few Sundays here and there, and attended maybe one GAP event. There was always some excuse: I was too busy, too tired, I wasn’t comfortable yet, and I thought that I might not fit in.
Being so far away from friends, family, and my fiancé (by November we were engaged!) started to take a toll on me as the semester went on. Sure, I had the other 5 girls in my cohort to lean on for academic support, but I felt so spiritually isolated by the end of fall. After Christmas break, I committed to a GAP small group, volunteered for the worship team, and decided to invest my time in relationships at Northstar.
Through the GAP ministry, I was able to connect with other grad students and professionals in similar life stages and just do life with them. We wrestled with God’s word, prayed for each other’s struggles, rejoiced in triumphs, groaned about temperamental academic advisors…and watched some pretty awesome YouTube videos! I was able to work on my spiritual discipline and to apply the things we talked about on Sunday and during small group in my daily life. I know that without the anchoring of Northstar and the GAP ministry, I could have easily swayed away from pursuing my relationship with Christ. I am so thankful for all those who work so diligently to ensure that things go smoothly with GAP.
Although I have recently transitioned out of Blacksburg, I am so blessed to have been a part of such an amazing group of people. And we REALLY appreciate everyone’s help with our move. As a newlywed couple, moving out of state for the first time could have been a disaster, but by the grace of God and with the help of fellow GAPers, we made to Birmingham, Alabama alive!
So to all current GAPers, we miss and love you all dearly! And to anyone who’s thinking about checking GAP out, don’t be like me and waste a whole semester feeling alone and disconnected. Plug in. Invest yourself. Trust God. You won’t be disappointed.