Student Story: Irma

After my parents had been in the United States for thirteen years, my mother decided to return to her native country, Ecuador. She went back for her daughters (including me) who at the time were already teenagers. All of us traveled leaving everything we had known until then; our people, family, home, and friends.

It was a whole new challenge to arrive at a country where you do not know anyone; you do not understand the language; a different culture. I began to experience high emotional impacts due to the readjustments that my whole life was taking. I dedicated myself for an entire year to study English because I knew I needed it to communicate with people. I started attending a church in Pittsfield, MA,where my parents attended.


Irma braving the cold during NEBC’s Resurrection Road 2015

At first, I did not want to go back to church, even though I knew I needed God. One day I could no longer endure all the burdens of my heart, and I surrendered to him; I felt that I had no way out, and it was time to get right with God. Within me raised a desire to serve God with my whole life. My pastor told me about NEBC; I realized that this was an excellent opportunity to fulfill that desire.

I met President Mark Ballard, a person of extraordinary faith that also inspired me to start attending NEBC. The first year of college life was difficult because I did not understand more than 30% which frustrated me. The love of the people of NEBC and the teachers’ support played a great role for me to keep moving on. Now, I help in the youth of my church; we have many plans that we hope to achieve only with God’s help.


Irma (in Pink) at NEBC’s Christmas Party.

NEBC has helped me to grow in my faith, and besides that I am getting education and learning more about My God. It is very inspiring to see how the staff of NEBC encourages students day by day to live what we believe, to acquire a deeper understanding about our doctrine, and to share the gospel boldly.

Sometimes I look back over time and realize that God’s grace was with me all the time, and I understand that He wants to use me in many ways, that is why He gave me the opportunity to come here, to attend NEBC. What a great pleasure it is to be God’s child.

Student Story: Jenelle

Work stations set up on saw horses, smells of paint and sawdust, sounds of saws and hammers and lots of people were what greeted me the evening my family and I arrived at Jehovah Jireh Hall. I’ll never forget Michael, the Residence Director, walking up to us and apologetically explaining that the paint in my dorm room was still wet, so I would not be able to move in until tomorrow. That night as I sat on the bed in one of the dorm guest rooms, I considered the unexpected journey of how God had led me to attend NEBC.

The first time I heard about Northeastern Baptist College, I was a freshman in high school. At the time, I never considered the possibility of attending NEBC. I was positive that God was directing me towards a profession where I could share the Gospel while caring for the sick. Therefore, I believed that God was calling me to be a nurse. By the time my junior year of high school arrived, the details of furthering my education fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I was going to attend an area Bible Institute for a year and then attend a community college and major in Nursing. I was certain that everything would run smoothly and within a few years I would be using my medical knowledge on the mission field.


Jenelle’s work study position is Clerical Assistant for the Academic department

However, God had a different plan in mind and the May proceeding my high school graduation I stopped at a NEBC admissions booth while attending a homeschool conference. Although I was still not interested in attending the college, I decided to fill out the first step in the application. After I filled out the application I shared with Tim, the Admissions Director, that I would have to earnestly seek God’s direction concerning attending NEBC because at the moment I felt that God was leading me in another direction.

Tim replied “Our desire is that every student follows God’s direction for their life, even if that means not attending NEBC.” He shared a scripture verse with me and then asked me a question that changed my life, “How can I pray for you?” As Tim prayed that God would give me direction concerning my future academic pursuits and that God would richly bless me, my heart became open to attending the college for the first time. If they had a student and staff member this committed to living out what they said they believed, then I had to be willing to at least consider becoming a student.

A year later, I arrived at Jehovah Jireh Hall. I was preparing to begin my first year as a student at the college, where I felt God calling me to major in Christian Counseling. God had placed within me a desire to heal, and through His word and much prayer God revealed that I could do that through counseling. Because, after all, spiritual healing is even more vital than physical healing. After a few months of classes, God again began to direct me. This time He was asking me to add a Biblical Studies Concentration to my degree.


Jenelle (center) on a mission trip to Scotland with NEBC.

“God, are you sure?” I thought. “If I’m supposed to add a concentration, couldn’t I add Business?” “Doesn’t it seem like that would be helpful for a Counseling practice?” But, once again, I was seeking my own desires. I longed to do what I thought I would enjoy the most, rather than what God knew was best. God has since helped me see that by adding this concentration, I can aid in the work of church planting by using the skills of counseling to aid in the discipleship process of developing churches and offer support to the wives and children of the planters as they navigate the process of adjusting to a new environment as they serve God.

Yet even in the midst of seeing a glimpse of God’s future plans for me, God reminds me that He has blessed me with everything I possess. And one day even my dreams may mold with His, and I might be blessed to work in administration as well. God’s plans are always bigger and better than mine could ever be. Attending NEBC has been a part of the story that God has written for my life, because those at this school faithfully, and prayerfully believe in the power and majesty of God’s plan–His plan for individuals, for churches and communities, and for the world. They are willing to dream God-sized dreams.

Student Story: Michael

Though I prayed to receive Christ at a young age, Jesus never meant much to me until a missions trip I went on with my youth group. Somehow, a friend persuaded me to go on a 400-mile bicycle trip from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Six flags in Chicago, Illinois. The purpose of the trip was to share the Gospel with people along the way. On the third day, Sunday, we took the day off after biking 60-70 miles a day for two days.

That night after a group devotional time, we sang the song “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” As I sat that on the back porch of the mission house hearing the words of the song I began to cry. God overwhelmed me in that moment and said “you have to be all in for me or not in at all.” At 16 years old, on July 4th, 2010, I decided to give myself over entirely to Him and asked Him to send me to the darkest places to bring the light of the Gospel. He sent me to Vermont!.


Michael (wearing shades) on the cycling mission trip, 2011

A few years later, I met my wife Katie at Word of life Bible Institute. After getting married December 7, 2013 we began praying about where God wanted me to attend school for ministry. Grand Rapids has a lot of Christian colleges, so I was not expecting to leave Michigan. However, a friend contacted me about a new school in Bennington, Vermont (the least churched state in the nation) called Northeastern Baptist College. We began praying about this opportunity and God answered. I was not only accepted, but given a full scholarship.

Our only problem was that we didn’t know where we were going to live when we moved to Vermont, or how we were going to pay for it. Then, Word of Life Ranch called and asked us to be on staff for the summer. Since the Ranch is only 2 hours from NEBC, we accepted. We packed everything we owned and moved it to a storage unit in Bennington, trusting that God would provide a home for us there when the summer was over. Just three weeks before the semester began at NEBC, God provided a place for us. I was accepted as the Residence Director at the student dorms, which includes free housing! And so it began.

I started as a full-time student, studying Church planting. At first Katie and I helped with the launch of a local church plant, before God opened different opportunities. In addition to being a full-time student and part-time staff member and Residence Director at NEBC, I am now also the Associate Pastor at a local church and am transitioning to become the lead Pastor.


Michael’s church, and his wife and son.

It has definitely been a challenge balancing my responsibilities. I have to make sure I am having sufficient family time while not falling behind on my assignments, and God has taught me how to manage my time more effectively. I usually come home from school or work, spend time with my family and then after dinner work on homework and papers. All day Saturday and most of Sunday is spent preparing for or doing ministry and squeezing in homework assignments as well. Through it all, God has challenged me in every area of my life. Most of all, I learned early on that I must rely on Gods strength to be sufficient for me.

Katie and I have a 13-month old boy, Samuel, and are expecting our second child, a daughter, around August 9th. At this crazy time in life, God has called us to move by August 1st to the town where I pastor—but He hasn’t yet revealed to us where we will be living or how we will make it on our budget. People ask us why we are moving at this point in our lives. We simply answer: “Should we not obey God just because we can’t see the outcome?” Being here has taught us that Christ will provide our needs for TODAY, and not to worry about tomorrow. We have trusted him time and time again, and God has been so faithful. We won’t stop trusting Him now!

Student Story: Rachel

I didn’t plan to go to Northeastern. My trajectory from the time I was little until my senior year of high school was to attend college in North Carolina and earn a music degree. Last fall, however, my dad became a professor at Northeastern Baptist College, and I enrolled in NEBC’s dual credit Early Scholars program for my last year of high school. Even as a high school girl, I found that musical abilities were in such high demand here that I and my fellow music students couldn’t stretch ourselves thin enough to help all of the churches who need musicians and worship leaders. Realizing that musical talent is a huge vehicle for communicating God’s truth, I began to wonder if God had a specific purpose for me here in the Northeast, where my life could make a greater impact, rather than being “one in a million” in the South. For months I thought about it, prayed, and constantly vacillated between the two colleges.

One day, after praying earnestly, President Ballard spoke in chapel. He had the mic passed around the room so that multiple students and faculty could share how God had specifically worked in their lives while being a part of NEBC. The stories were awesome, and inspiring to live a life of faith like theirs. However, as I listened, I still felt empty of any direction for school, since I knew I could live that life of faith no matter where I stood on the globe. I needed some kind of direction why one place might be better than the other. Professor King then recited a quote that hit me, “Whenever you see God at work, its an invitation to join him.”


Rachel and her Dad at her High School Graduation

Those words hit me and stuck with me. God is working all over the USA, but I know without a doubt that He’s working in amazing ways at Northeastern. Everyone is invited to join Him. It was not a coincidence that I had spent a year at NEBC as an Early Scholar and seen first hand how God is at work here. In addition, I had known for a long time that my musical abilities were especially valuable in this area where many churches need people to lead worship. Thankful to God for his faithfulness to guide me, I decided to study at Northeastern. Here, I can get the musical education I need, while at the same time delving straight into God’s eternal work along side my schoolmates.

I have already become invested in God’s work here by becoming the Pianist at First Baptist Church in Bennington. Like He guided me to enroll at Northeastern, God showed His hand in leading me to be a part of this church. At a moment when I was about to move from New York to Vermont, was preparing to graduate from high school, was applying to college, and had just finished my first year of college as an Early Scholar, getting a job was far from my thoughts. However, my sister pushed me to send my resume to First Baptist since we’d both noticed a flyer for the open Pianist position. Four days after moving to my new home in Vermont, I met with the Pastor of FBC, Bob Wiegers, for an interview.


Rachel playing piano and singing at First Baptist Church.

Within one week of that first meeting I had been offered the job, prayed, and accepted it. First Baptist Church is a beautiful old stone building in the center of Bennington, in which there is not only a church body, but also a variety of social programs, like a free clinic and services for those affected by domestic violence. Consequently, the church is well known by the people in Bennington, setting it up for prime opportunity to share the gospel in the community. I am excited to be a part of God’s work, and even this past week was delighted to hear from Pastor Weigers that I was an influence in a young man’s salvation through the Sunday morning worship. I hope to continue investing into First Baptist Church with God’s help, and I hope to be able to contribute in my own small way to God’s amazing work here at NEBC.

Student Story: Joe

Northeastern Baptist College is more than my alma-mater, it is the forge that God has used to shape the person I am today. I spent three of the most formative years of my life, my faith, and my call there. When someone asks what NEBC means to me, I have to ask the person how long they are willing to listen.

I find myself telling the story of the first few months in 2013 when the school launched, or later that year when God miraculously provided an HVAC system. I tell about the provision of a house for the first five guys who were NEBC students, or about the purchasing of Jehovah Jireh Hall, NEBC’s student dorms. I share what God has taught me through our selfless, wise, and humble professors that demonstrate a desire to care for and encourage their students. I share how God clarified my call through the many brilliant speakers that have preached the Word at our weekly chapels.

Joe received the Church Planting Award, Graduation Spring 2016

In my final semester as a student at NEBC, we had a lot of firsts. We had our first graduation, our first mission trip, and our first mission conference. At the final session of the mission conference, President Ballard closed by sharing the story of God’s miraculous provision of our heating system. As I sat in the front row of the now heated chapel that looked like a completely different room than when I first got to NEBC, I was overwhelmed with how great our God is. I looked around at the room and facility God provided, the new chairs God provided, the music equipment God provided, and the students and staff God provided.

Tears began to stream down my cheeks as President Ballard and I made eye-contact. He smiled at me, and my entire time at NEBC flashed through my head. I knew then like never before that God had called this school into existence. I knew that God had anointed these specific people to carry out His mission in this specific way. I knew that God was up to big things that are still yet to come in Bennington, Vermont; the Northeast; and this nation, through the work of this school.


Joe preaching in Chapel at NEBC.

Because of the preaching, teaching, and counseling I received at Northeastern Baptist College, God birthed in me a desire to further my education. God lead me to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to study missions and evangelism by doing a Master’s of Theological Studies in Cross-Cultural missions. I intend to use this degree to teach evangelism and church-planting at Northeastern in the future.

Northeastern Baptist College is quickly becoming a vital part of the spread of the Gospel in Vermont and the Northeast. I am so excited to have been hired here as the Director of Admissions. I look forward to helping the college grow through developing relationships with local churches that will loan us their students so that we can send them back. I look forward to getting well acquainted with the higher-education community as I work at NEBC. It truly is a wonderful time to be involved at this school and in God’s mission in the Northeast!

Student Story: Sara

It was a cold March morning. I was sitting at my desk, working. It was just like every other day, but things had been tough lately. I hadn’t spoken to my husband in 5 days. The last thing he said to me was “maybe we should see other people,” and I told him I no longer cared what he did. He had hurt me too many times, but I was trying to go about life as normal as possible. As I followed up with doctors about patient prescriptions, an older gentleman walked in dressed in a sheriff’s uniform. It didn’t affect me until he came closer and stated he was looking for Sara Renfrow. Me! Why was he looking for me?

With fear trembling through my body, so much so I am sure he could hear it, I informed him that I was Sara R_____. He handed me a large envelope, told me I had been served, and walked away. As I opened the envelope, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing: petition for divorce. I knew we hadn’t been doing good, but I didn’t think he was serious. Divorce. What was I going to do? As I began reading through the paper work, my heart was beating so hard that I could hardly hold it. What I read next would forever change my life. “Plaintiff requests full custody of parties’ minor child, Wyatt R_____.”

Over the next six months, my life spiraled out of control. I began drinking heavily, and found companionship in a new boyfriend who was abusive and introduced me to drugs. I became addicted. Soon, I became homeless, tried to commit suicide several times, and stopped seeing my son. I had lost my job, my license, my home, and my family. I had hit rock bottom.


Sara is now a Receptionist/Clerical Specialist at NEBC

Two years later, after remarrying, getting clean, finding a new job, and fighting a nasty custody battle, my brother Jacob told me about Northeastern Baptist College. I knew right away that God was calling me here. Although I was raised in a Christian home and although I thought I was saved at 8, I had never truly committed my life to Christ. In one moment, though I had not even seen the school yet, I gave my life to Christ and decided I was going to NEBC.

Once I started going to NEBC, one of my first assignments of the semester was to share a gospel tract with someone I knew wasn’t saved. That night I went home and read the tract to my husband. To my surprise, he said “yes. I want to accept Christ.” That night, one year after we had been married, and only 3 weeks since I had started at NEBC, I knew everything had been worth it for this moment. Today, I am still at NEBC. I have recently finished my second full year of college and have been hired on as staff at the school. My husband, son, and I have found a church we call home, and are becoming more active in that church.

Sara with her son and husband.

On that morning in March four and half years ago, I could have never imagined my life being where it is today. It isn’t perfect by any means, but God has a plan and His plan is working perfectly. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere other than NEBC because when those days don’t seem so perfect, I have more than a school, a job, or brothers and sisters in Christ–I have an actual family that will cry with me, laugh with me, pray with me, and see me through both good times and bad. NEBC is surely my place to be.

Celebrating the Spirit

I love being a Baptist. I love the value we place on the Word of God. I love that we are committed to believing it and teaching it to others. But there are several things within Baptist circles that I do not like. One of these things is a tendency to ignore the Holy Spirit. This past semester, I had the privilege of teaching a great group of students the book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles. As we came to passages that dealt with the Holy Spirit, one student came up to me after class and was confused. Continue reading >>

Student: Christian Harris


Christian knows that God led him to study at Northeastern Baptist College for two main reasons. Continue reading >>

One Fourth Inspiration

In the second century AD, the church father Marcion argued that the Old Testament scriptures were no longer authoritative, having been superseded by the New Testament. He therefore removed the entire Old Testament from his canon as well as any New Testament writings that supported an abiding relevance of the Old Testament for New Testament believers. He even went so far as to claim that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament were two different beings.

Needless to say, Marcion’s teachings and his canon were declared heretical. Fortunately, we as modern believers are in no danger of slipping into the error of Marcion… or are we? Continue reading >>

2016 Travel with a Purpose: Scotland

This month, a team of faculty and students spent a week on mission in Glasgow, Scotland, walking the streets and sharing the Good News in order to help IMB missionaries there begin the process of planting a church. The following updates were sent from Dr. Harmon, VP/Dean of Students each day.   Continue reading >>